About us

Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children realize their potential and build their futures through youth mentoring programs. We nurture children and strengthen communities. And we couldn't do any of it without you.

changing perspectives.
Changing lives.

For 66 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life.  As a member agency of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, we make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 14, in Hamilton, Marion, Bradley, Walker, Catoosa and Dade counties.  We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people in our community.

Mission

Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

VISION

All youth achieve their full potential.

Accountability

By partnering with parents / guardians, volunteers, and others in the community, we are accountable for each child in our program achieving:
✓ Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships
✓ Avoidance of risky behaviors
✓ Educational Success

Awards


2023 Best Place for Working Parents

2022 BBBS Agency Gold Standard Award

2022 Edge Best Places to Work - Chattanooga Times Free Press

2022 Candid Platinum Transparency Award - Guidestar

2020 BBBS Agency Quality Award Recipient

2018 Finalist for Nonprofit of the Year in the Chattanooga Chamber

2018 Finalist for Nonprofit of the Year in the Walker County Chamber

2016 BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics Recipient

OUR TEAM

LEADING US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

From our Staff to our Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a compassionate and dedicated group of individuals on our side that are willing to do whatever it takes to help change children's lives for the better.

Board of directors

KIMBERLY BOWEN
President
Erich Murray
Vice-President
Susan McGehee
Treasurer
Ricky Thomas
Secretary
Sonya Jaffar
Diversity Task Force Liaison
Tara Wiese
Past - President

Board Members

Barret Albritton
Cyndi Allen
Heather Collins
Brandon Deering
Malcolm Harris
Dionne Jenkins
Rob Robinson
Tracey Smith
Anna Turley
Kathi Willis
Kristin Copeland

honorary board members

Paul Brock Jr.
Talley Carroll
Tony D'Andrea
Robert Divine
Judy Eiselstein
Harry Fields
Richard Floyd
Mayor Tim Kelly
Jean McKamey
Treasa Newton-Akins
Doug Warner
Tom White

Diversity Task Force

Sonya Jaffar
Enrique Davey
Enrique Davey
Tammy Lawrence
Kyle Richard
Jermaine Wilson
Jefferson Herring
Tenasa McGhee
Warren Johnson
Thessela White
DeMarcus Boyce
Beaumont Hoffman
Stacey Keating
Richard Werhle
Lily Sanchez
Dr. Kia Ruffin
Oliver Richmond
James McKissic
Miles Huff
Gena Ellis
Ronald Elliot, Jr.
Austin Corcoran
Marcellus Barnes

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Board of directors

Sonya Jaffar

Diversity Task Force Liaison

Susan McGehee

Treasurer

Tara Wiese

Past - President

Ricky Thomas

Secretary

Erich Murray

Vice-President

KIMBERLY BOWEN

President

honorary board members

Paul Brock, Jr.

Tony D'Andrea

Judy Eiselstein

Richard Floyd

Harry Fields

Tim Kelly

Jean Mckamey

Treasa Newton-atkins

Doug Warner

Tom White

Chip Allen

Dr. David Banks

Jack Bowen

Kimberly Bowen

Talley Carrol

Mitch Collins

Brandon Deering

Robert Divine

Art Grisham

Dr. Gale Iles

Newton Law

Shelby Montague

Erich Murray

tawambi settles

claire stout

ricky thomas

rashaad williams

Leadership Team

Jessica Whatley Copy

CEO
jessica@bbbschatt.org
423-498-3185

Liane Cooper

Chief Operating Officer
liane@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8639

Amber Hoyle

Chief Program officer
amber@bbbschatt.org
423-698-8018

Enrique Davey

Program Manager
enrique@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8641

Edward Ellis III

Diversity Partnerships Manager
edward@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8645

Russell McBride

Enrollment & Recruitment Manager
russell@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8643

Deardra McGee

Big Futures Manager
deardra@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8649

Eli Smith

Development & Marketing Manager
eli@bbbschatt.org
423-264-5073

Staff

Jessica Whatley

CEO
jessica@bbbschatt.org
423-698-8016

Liane Cooper

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
liane@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8639

Amber Hoyle

Chief Program Officer
amber@bbbschatt.org
423-698-8018

Eli Smith

CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
eli@bbbschatt.org
423-264-5073

Enrique Davey

PROGRAM MANAGER
enrique@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8641

Edward Ellis, III

Diversity Partnerships Manager
edward@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8645

Russell McBride

Enrollment & Recruitment Manager
russell@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8643

Haile Nottage

Big Futures Manager
haile@bbbschatt.org
423-498-3311

PHYLLIS WILBANKS

Bradley County Program Manager
phyllis@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8649

Tina Franklin

Enrollment & Collegiate Partnerships Specialist
tina@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8642

Shari Driscoll

Match Support Specialist
shari@bbbschatt.org
423-206-4862

Leah Hutchison

Match Support Specialist
leah@bbbschatt.org
423-664-8646

Kim Weiss

Match Support Specialist
kim@bbbschatt.org
423-560-4063

SUMMER COLEMAN

Activities Coordinator
summer@bbbschatt.org

big brothers big sisters of america history

our history

118 years of history

For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. And we have more than a century of volunteers, donors, and advocates just like you to thank. It all started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement. At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters. Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. More than 100 years later, Big Brothers Big Sisters remains true to our founders’ vision of bringing caring role models into the lives of children. And, today, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states—and in 12 countries around the world.

HERE IS A LOOK AT OUR HISTORY, FROM THE START...

Ernest Kent Coulter,
Founder of Big brothers movement

1904

The Big Brothers organized movement began with 39 volunteers in New York City.

Chattanooga times free press 1956

1956

The Big Brother Movement began in Chattanooga when the Pastor's Association met to discuss boys in fatherless homes.

1957

The Big Brothers Association received its charter on January 3rd and matched 50 male volunteers with 50 boys.

Chattanooga Times Free Press 1958

1958

The Local Chapter became the 34th National Affiliate of Big Brothers of America.

Big Sisters

1961

Big Sisters was established under the guidance of Stella Murphy after seeing the need for girls within the community. Big Sisters obtained its charter on May 10, 1961 making it the third such organization in the Nation.

facility proposal

1969

Porter Warner, Jr. led the fundraising effort to build the current facility at 2015 Bailey Avenue.

Big Brother & big sisters unite

1970

The local Big Brothers and Big Sisters associations merged.

Margaret Montague breaking ground at the chattanooga office

1977

Big Brothers of America and Big Sisters International merged. Mildred Montague played a leading role in this merger.

1st Scholarship Donation

1983

The BBBS Scholarship Program was established because of the need to ensure Littles can meet their educational aspirations.

Site-Based Mentoring Program

2000

BBBSGC launched a Site-Based program to provide mentors to student in school and after school sites.

Bigs in Blue

2010

Bigs in Blue begins, matching youth with law enforcement professionals to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color.

beyond School walls

2016

Beyond School Walls launches workplace mentoring pilot with Unum to bring middle school students to local workplaces to meet with their mentors.

UTC bigs

2017

UTC Bigs Campus Organization began on the Campus of UT Chattanooga.

Defenders of potential

2018

BBBS of America and BBBSGC launch a new brand, DEFENDERS OF POTENTIAL.

e-mentoring

2019

E-Mentoring Program, Mentor U, pilots to begin matching High School students with mentors in a virtual setting.

65 year anniversary

2022

BBBSGC will celebrate 65 years of helping 65,000+ Littles in the Greater Chattanooga area.  

Big things
are happening

SEE HOW