Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is celebrating, and with good reason. In what was the largest donation the group has ever received, Big Brothers Big Sisters was presented with over $100,000 by the Pulte Home Corporation.
Pulte's West Central Florida division built the "House for Kids' Sake" in the golf course community of Lexington Oaks. When the house was sold in April, Pulte announced to Big Brothers Big Sisters that its donation would exceed the promised gift. "We were incredibly surprised at the amount because when we first got involved we thought it would be $50,000," says Lori Buck, director of community relations for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Tampa Bay.
Pulte was able to increase the donation to $101,500 because of the 34 subcontractors' generous donations of materials and labor, says Buck. "Doug Tripp, president of Pulte's West Central Florida Division (and a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board) dreamed the whole project up and then asked subcontractors to give discounts, upgrades or even do some of the work for free. The subcontractors really came through for us."
Jim Goode, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, says the grant from Pulte is large enough to allow the group to hire a family specialist and at least two case workers, who will be responsible for pairing children from single-family homes with adult mentors in the community. "Each case worker carries about 50 matches, so [the donation] would fund around 100 to 125 matches, which is a significant amount."
Buck adds that some of the donated money will be used to improve the family counseling program. The Tampa Bay chapter is the only one in the nation to extend its free counseling services to any family members of children participating in the program.