100 River Rock Drive,
Suite 104, Buffalo, NY 14207
(716) 873-5833  
  807 W. State St. (C/O The United Way)
Olean, New York 14760
(716) 480.9614  |  fax: (716) 873.6350   |   info@beafriend.org

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September 10, 2020

Statement of Guiding Principles to Advance Racial Equity and Justice 

As leaders who are committed to equity and justice, as mission-focused organizations who are stewards of the public trust, and as a nonprofit sector with far-reaching impact on the national economy, the undersigned are committed to advancing racial justice and equity in all areas of civic and community life. We are deeply moved by the stark racial injustice that the intersecting crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and police violence toward people of color have once again revealed — racial injustice that is intertwined with America’s past and its present. The racial and ethnic disparities that persist across economic, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and other sectors of society make clear that systemic racism continues to undermine the foundations of well-being for communities of color by denying access to opportunity and making it more difficult to secure jobs, housing, healthcare, education, nutrition and equal treatment under law.
Faced with this moment of national urgency and entrusted by communities to lead in crisis, we affirm and commit to utilizing the following principles and values as a guide in our individual collective efforts to advance equity and justice:
We commit to dismantling systemic racism, redressing past discrimination, and advancing equity within our organizations, in our communities, and in our nation–through our organizational polices and practices in our programmatic work and by advocating for changes in public policy and law. Racial and ethnic disparities are a direct result of systemic racism today as well as past, unremedied discrimination that was often imposed or sanctioned by the government. Addressing these disparities requires our active engagement to change law, policy and practice.
We are committed to achieving a more comprehensive approach to justice and safety that invests needed resources in schools, child care, mental and behavioral health, affordable housing, job training and other supportive programs and services that contribute to healthy, strong, safe and vibrant communities. Societal goals of racial justice and public safety are best achieved when communities have the resources to match crisis situations with an appropriate response, whether that be mental and behavioral health, social service, police and other interventions
As we work to strengthen communities, we must listen to and lift up the voices and experiences of impacted people and communities, particularly the voices of young people in those communities who will lead future generations. Intentionally engaging impacted communities strengthens policies, strategies, and decision-making. When we center and address the needs of the most marginalized, we recognize their humanity and advance equity and opportunity for all.
As we evaluate our programmatic work as well as policy proposals and legislation, we will specifically examine the extent to which they decrease racial disparities and oppression, particularly in systems and settings known to disproportionately and negatively impact people of color and other marginalized groups; advance solutions that have been developed in collaboration with and have the support of impacted communities, incorporate an intersectional and multi-sector approach to community challenges; and include the investments needed to fully implement and achieve racial equity outcomes.
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
American Alliance of Museums
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
Americans for the Arts
Association of Art Museum Directors
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Catholic Charities USA
Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Covenant House International
Feeding America
Girls Inc. 
Goodwill Industries International, Inc. 
Habitat for Humanity International 
Independent Sector 
Leadership 18
League of American Orchestras
Lutheran Services in America
Mental Health America
National Council on Aging 
National Council of Nonprofits 
National Human Services Assembly 
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
OPERA America 
United Philanthropy Forum 
United Way Worldwide 
The Salvation Army
The Arc of the United States 
Volunteers of America 
Welcoming America

Help End the Wait!

August 18, 2020


With this loss of funding and a shortage of potential volunteers, there are close to 160 local children who are waiting to be matched with a mentor, a Big Brother or Big Sister. You can help end the wait by giving now!


To make a donation click here


Help End The Wait campaign message from BBBSENST CEO, Tom Guagliardo.

To learn more visit biggertogether.org


A Message from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier

June 2, 2020

Stand With Us Today!

April 24, 2020

We need Mentors More Than Ever! 

Join us for volunteer information sessions every Tuesday at noon to learn more about our agency and the volunteer opportunities we offer.  To register contact Ashley at agriffin@beafriend.org

Important Update – Response to COVID-19

March 16, 2020

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier, the safety of the children we serve and their families, as well as our volunteers (Bigs) and staff is always our main priority.

We are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are taking steps to minimize the impact of an outbreak. We have decided to make the following precautionary changes to our program’s operations for at least the next three weeks (from now through Monday, April 20):

• Our staff will work remotely from their homes and will be available by email and phone.
• We are restricting all in person contact between our Bigs and Littles during this time, however our staff will be working with our Bigs to help them continue to communicate with their Littles via phone to ensure their mentoring relationship remains strong.
• We have cancelled any travel and scheduled agency events.

We remain as committed as ever to the safety and quality of our mentoring services. During this time of uncertainty and fear, we know that our Bigs will play a very crucial role in the lives of the children we serve, and our staff will be here for our Bigs, children and families whenever needed.

We also encourage everyone to review the recommendations from the Erie County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control for reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection for yourselves and others.

We will provide you with additional updates about our program’s operations as needed.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your agency contact by phone or email, or email info@beafriend.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Stay Up to Date!

Follow us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as @BBBSENST.

Help Recruit the Next Generation of Bigs to our Team. 

February 17, 2020

The Big Draft is here.  You’re on the clock!

We’re thrilled to announce the Big Draft Recruitment Campaign! While the NFL is drafting its next players, we want to engage our community to help us draft the next generation of Bigs. This recruitment campaign stems from the BBBS partnership with the NFL Inspire Change Initiative. The goal of that program is to advance the national conversation and progress on social justice and to create positive change in communities across the country. The NFL supports our efforts to break down barriers and build stronger communities through our mentoring program.  From Feb. 9 – April 25, 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier is following the NFL draft, aiming to recruit potential Bigs. 

Our CEO, Thomas Guagliardo was featured on WNY Living over the weekend and discussed how it only takes a few hours a month to make a positive impact on a child in our community.  We need eager people who want to invest in a child’s future.  You can visit biggertogether.org to learn more about the mentoring programs we offer and sign up to become a Big Brother or Big Sister.