Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing children with resources and opportunities to succeed in life via one-on-one peer mentoring. The nationwide nonprofit partners children between the ages of 7 and 18, known as “Littles,” with adult volunteers, or “Bigs.” The San Diego County chapter of BBBS has been active for more than 55 years and has helped youth through core programming such as Healthy Futures, Operation Bigs, and Beyond School Walls. Below are recent news updates from BBBS of San Diego County.
Lorie Zapf Named New CEO
In June 2019, BBBS of San Diego County announced Lorie Zapf as its new president and CEO. Zapf was chosen for the position by the nonprofit’s board of directors. She replaces former president and CEO Wayne Kay, who retired from the position in January 2019. Tina Rose served as interim president and CEO from January to June.
Zapf has more than three decades of leadership experience in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. She recently completed consecutive four-year terms as a council member for the City of San Diego and has held executive roles with Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and Boulder Bar Endurance, the latter of which is a natural food energy bar company she founded in 1995 and sold in 2004 after successfully expanding across the US and into Canada. Zapf has also raised millions of dollars for nonprofits in the San Diego area through individual donations and corporate campaigns.
In addition to her professional and civic engagement experience, Zapf has a story of perseverance that allows her to understand the unique challenges faced by many of the youth who benefit from BBBS. She and her siblings were raised by a single father before they were separated and put in foster care. Because of this, she has been a longtime supporter and advocate for increased prevention services.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nonprofit in San Diego that does just that,” she said in a press release. “Its youth development programs help keep kids in school, away from drugs and alcohol and on the right path toward a successful future. I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead this wonderful team of caring, committed individuals and to help bring additional resources to serve even more ‘Littles.'”
Annual Gourmet Dinner
One of the BBBS of San Diego County’s premier fundraising events is its Annual Gourmet Dinner. Beyond that, it is one of the most beloved fundraising events in all of San Diego as it is attended and supported by more than 700 local business and community leaders. The annual event, which includes a cocktail party, dinner, after-party, and live music, celebrated its 57th anniversary in October 2019.
More than 600 guests attended the event, which was themed “Rooted to Rise: Growing the Unlimited Potential of Every Little.” The fundraising goal of the Annual Gourmet Dinner is to generate enough funds to provide programming for at least 500 children per year. In previous years, the event has raised more than $700,000 for BBBS of San Diego County. This year, however, was one of the organization’s most successful Annual Gourmet Dinners to date, as it raised $878,000 for its one-on-one mentoring programs. This is enough to fund more than 550 children for one full year of programming.
Phil’s BIG BBQ at the Ballpark
Although not quite as large in scale as the Annual Gourmet Dinner, Phil’s BIG BBQ at the Ballpark is another premier event that helps BBBS of San Diego County support youth in the region. The annual event has been ongoing for more than a decade and is organized by Phil Pace, who provides samples of his restaurant’s famous chicken and ribs for supporters at Petco Park. Guests also receive a ticket to the San Diego Padres game.
The event was attended by 2,700 people in 2018 and raised a record-breaking $110,000 for the military mentoring program Operation Bigs. The 2019 event was even more successful. More than 3,000 people attended Phil’s BIG BBQ at the Ballpark this past July, and the event generated another record-breaking fundraising total of $112,212. Pace also received an award from BBBS of San Diego County for his extensive support of the nonprofit, while 11 volunteers earned “Bigs of the Year” distinction.
Other Fundraising Events
The Annual Gourmet Dinner and Phil’s BIG BBQ at the Ballpark aren’t the only prominent fundraising events that drum up support for BBBS of San Diego County. This past September, the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) hosted a wine and food tasting event at Revel Revel in downtown San Diego, with all ticket sales going to the nonprofit. Similarly, the YPC’s annual Rockin’ Talent Show also benefits BBBS of San Diego County. Other fundraising events include the Big Summer Sizzle, Golfers’ Jet A-Way, and Golf Marathon, the latter of which has been ongoing for 26 years and has raised more than $2.5 million.