Big Brothers Big Sisters of Missoula is incredibly heartbroken to announce that they are closing their doors on May 31, 2019. Over the last two years, their annual state, federal, and private grants were cut by $120,000. Back in March, Big Brothers Big Sisters published multiple articles, launched a social media campaign, and aired public service announcements in an effort to raise funds. Scott Johnson has been on the Board of Directors for nearly 30 years and he thinks they might have been able to do more.

“We weren’t very successful in that attempt,” Johnson said. “Maybe we weren’t as dire in our message as we should have been. We felt like we created a message that was pretty obvious. We just didn’t say we would need to close our doors I guess, but maybe we should have.”

According to Johnson, the program has always been about serving the at-risk kids in our community and providing mentors for them.

“It was an incredibly heart wrenching decision and we are incredibly sorry that it has come to this,” Johnson said. “Hopefully those matches that have been created will be able to continue on in some form. Obviously, there is a waiting list that will not be fulfilled. Our hope is that maybe another nonprofit might be able to step in and fill the void.”

Johnson is still hopeful that Big Brothers Big Sisters won’t be closing their doors forever.

“We have had a few supporters who have stepped forward and said they didn’t realize this was happening and they are willing to generously donate,” Johnson said. “I guess if we had enough people step forward, we could reverse this process and continue to serve these at-risk kids. If there is somebody out there that can step forward and help us save the program, we would obviously look at that possibility. I am always hopeful.”

Johnson wanted to thank the Missoula community for all they have done the past 49 years to make this such a great program. He wants folks to know how difficult this decision was and that they did everything they could to try to keep their doors open.