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According to an article I read in the October 17, 2010 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy (, our nation saw the biggest drop in charitable donations in 2010 that had been seen over the past 20 years.  A study based on the Philanthropy 400, which ranks the organizations that raise the most from private sources, indicated an 11% drop in charitable donations from 2009.  Understandably, charitable donations are suffering in accord with the economic slump. 

Yutz Merkle Insurance has always been a proud sponsor of local community programs.  After reading this article, I was really excited to launch a promotion to help, in a small way, turn these numbers around.  We arrived at the decision to begin a “Like Us” campaign on Facebook, pledging to donate up to $1000 to a local charity.  With so many worthy causes and organizations in our area, we were having a problem deciding which organization to sponsor.  So, we researched and discussed, discussed and researched – finally, we decided to sponsor Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monroe County.  Why?

Big Brothers Big Sisters maintains the same focus today as when the organization was founded over 100 years ago – the idea that pairing caring role models with young boys and girls to build one-on-one relationships will help the youngsters make positive decisions and thereby reach their full potential.  Okay, so the vision sounds good, but are there any proven results?  In fact, there are!  Researchers from the independent national research organization Public/Private Ventures conducted a cross-country study in 1994 and 1995 which clearly indicates the impact of the mentoring program.  Following 950 children over the course of 18 months, researchers found those matched with “Bigs” as Little Brothers or Little Sisters were less likely to engage in drugs, alcohol, or physical violence; less likely to skip school or classes; exhibited more confidence in their schoolwork; and developed better social skills than those who were wait-listed for the program.  (

Big Brothers Big Sisters is proactive.  Enabling children to establish a solid bond through everyday activities with a positive role model – someone they can trust, someone they know believes in them – teaches them to believe in themselves.  In turn, having learned first-hand how much it means to have someone believe in them, those “Littles” are more likely to have a positive impact on the other people in their lives, “paying it forward” so to speak. 

I have always believed the best gift you can give someone is the gift of your time.  The Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization continues to prove this to be true – one child at a time.  So, please, join our sponsorship campaign – “Like” Yutz-Merkle on Facebook by clicking the thumbs up at the end of this blog and we’ll be $1 closer to our $1000 donation goal in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monroe County! 

Doris Honochick

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