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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County Awarded Mentoring Matching Grant

GREENFIELD — Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding quality youth mentoring in Massachusetts, is awarding $869,000 in mentoring matching grants to mentoring and youth-serving organizations across the state. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County is one of only 44 organizations chosen to receive a grant.

These funds were approved by the state Legislature in the FY 2020 budget and are the only state funding dedicated to the mentoring field. MMP worked closely with legislative and community partners in advocating for the money, which represents a 110% increase over the last two years.

The Mass Mentoring Partnership matching grant is used to make and support one-to-one mentoring matches that help ignite the power and promise of Franklin County youth.

“Our partnership with Mass Mentoring provides us with much-needed funding, for which we are grateful, but they also provide us with trainings, technical assistance, and knowledge sharing to help develop the highest-quality mentoring programs for Franklin County,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County Executive Director Jennifer Webster.

The mentoring matching grants are managed by MMP, with oversight from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and are intended to improve students’ attitudes towards school. Research has shown that young people who are in mentoring relationships show improved academic performance, better school attendance, and a greater chance of going on to higher education. Despite this compelling evidence, there remains a shortage of mentors, with research suggesting that one in three young people will grow up without one. This year’s grants are expected to create and support more than 3,200 high-quality mentor and mentee matches in schools and youth-serving programs statewide.

MMP President and CEO Lily Mendez is proud of the work Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County is doing in Franklin County. “For children to grow up to become active, engaged, and thriving members of the community, they need adults in their lives who can serve as positive role models and help them explore, learn, reach, and evolve,” she said. “Through their work, Big Brothers Big Sisters is improving educational opportunities and life outcomes of our young people.”

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