A bit of shocking news this week when Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula announced they would cease operation at the end of the month.

Since the announcement, more details have come out about the financial problems BBBS has encountered after funding cuts hit the program.

Here's some thoughts straight from the organization.  The following is from an e-newsletter that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula sent earlier today.

The Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula is incredibly heartbroken to announce that after serving thousands of Missoula children for the past 49 years, we are closing our doors on May 31, 2019. The 2019 BIG Event, previously set to occur on June 7, 2019, is cancelled. We are currently working with another nonprofit organization in hope of continuing a portion of our current matches in another program, and will continue to update the community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula has faced a critical budget shortfall for some time. Over the last two years, our annual state, federal, and private grants were cut by $120,000. We have done everything in our power to deal with the loss of a third of our annual budget, including reducing staff and identifying new fundraising sources and models, but ultimately were unsuccessful in making up for the significant loss.

You may recall that our organization came to the community in March of 2019 and made a public pleas for donations to keep our doors open. On March 22, 2019 and March 24, 2019, respectively, we published an op ed in the Missoula Current and Missoulian, and simultaneously launched a social media campaign to raise funds. We aired public service announcements from Mayor John Engen and Attorney General Tim Fox on all Townsquare Media and Missoula Broadcasting stations, and appeared on numerous local television and radio news programs outlining our request for public support. Mayor Engen proclaimed April "Support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula Month." Unfortunately we fell significantly short of our fundraising goal. At this point, we simply do not have the funds to continue to operate.

We want to thank the thousands if individuals who have supported our organization over the past 49 years. Countless donors, volunteers, businesses, and employees mad it possible to foster mentorships for some 15,000 children in our community. Your generosity made an immeasurable difference in the lives of children and undoubtedly change the lives of their Bigs as well.

Finally, to the 103 Littles who are currently matched with mentors in our program, we are so sorry that we fell short. We hope you know how difficult this decision was and that we did everything we could to try to keep our doors open. Your potential is limitless, and we wish you all the best.