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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

Big Brothers Big Sisters

What we do

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) enables life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people facing adversity. We carefully and intentionally place an additional, consistent, and supportive mentor in these young people’s lives. 

Volunteer mentors are thoughtfully recruited based on the needs of local youth, and are professionally screened. The mentor, the mentee, and family receive training and are monitored and supported by a designated professional caseworker. 

An incredible transformation takes place when a mentee is matched with a mentor who expresses care, challenges their growth, provides support, and expands their possibilities. These mentees build the life skills they need to be successful. We also see positive changes to their mental health, well-being, educational engagement, and employment readiness. 

BBBSO has been creating youth mentorship matches in Ottawa for 53 years, and Renfrew County for eight years. We offer our traditional 1:1 Bigs mentorship program (youth ages 6-14), MPower (youth ages 15- 24), PRISM for mentors and mentees who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ and programs in local schools. 

How you can help


Young people need your help now. When you donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, you invest in a young person’s potential and shape the future of the Ottawa community. Your donation is an investment in our collective future. An official research study has confirmed that every $1 donated has a social return on investment of $23 as our young people grow up to be happy, successful adults who give back by volunteering or donating themselves. 

To learn more about our options to give and engage with BBBSO, please visit


We depend on volunteers for all of our mentoring programs. You can make a meaningful difference in a child’s life for as little as one hour per week. There are corporate volunteer opportunities through events, speed mentoring workshops, and with our social enterprise, Thrive Select Thrift. There is also the opportunity to join our Board of Directors or one of our committees.


OPENED in 2022! Thrive is a social enterprise by Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa. Thrive is a boutique-style thrift store of high-quality, well-priced products for resale. 100% of the proceeds are donated back to BBBSO to support the transformative work of our full spectrum of mentorship programs. Located at 1547 Merivale Rd. in the Emerald Plaza. Interested in doing a clothing drive? Want to learn how your team can have a volunteer experience? We are always looking for new partners. Email Hope at Thrive TODAY!

Events + fundraising

Big Tee Off Golf Tournament

Join us each September for a fun-filled golf tournament in support of local youth. Lunch, dinner, entertainment and silent auction are included. Sponsor the event, register a team or donate a silent auction item or prize.

2nd Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Pickleball Open

Please join us for a day of fun while supporting vulnerable young people in our community. Want to learn more about how you can get involved?  Please visit

Move for Mentoring

A variety of activity based signature & third party events to choose from all supporting the Mentorship Movement at BBBSO. In 2023, supporters ran in Race Weekend, became Vikings at an Axe Throwing Tournament, threw strikes at Bowl For Mentoring, and tried something new at the first ever BBBSO Pickleball Open. 2024 will be even better. Join us and participate.

IGNITE Program

You can now IGNITE something BIG for youth in our community with your corporate giving. No matter how big or small your company is – we have fully customizable initiatives for you to choose from. Engagement opportunities include: Event Sponsorship, Team Volunteering, Cause-Related Marketing, Third Party Events and Inspired Giving.  All funds raised through IGNITE support the full spectrum of mentorship programs at BBBSO. 

Monthly Giving

Big Match Makers monthly giving is the most cost-efficient and best way to help the children and youth we serve. The dollars saved on administration costs mean more young people will benefit from your gift. Your gift can be whatever amount monthly you can manage. $5, $25, or even $100. You can cancel or change at anytime. 

Get in touch:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa
12-1645 Woodroffe Ave.
Ottawa, Ont.
K2G 1W2

Year founded: 1970
Total revenue for last fiscal year: $1,401,492
Facebook: /BBBSO
Instagram: @bbbsottawa

Susan Ingram, Executive director

Keith Egli, Board Chair


  • Mark Zekulin, Past Chair – Invert Inc.
  • Lindsay Ostrom, Treasurer – Ottawa Hospital
  • Leslie Rae Ferat, Secretary – Global Alliance for Tobacco Control
  • Colin Anderson, OCDSB
  • Ian Cascagnette, Pythian
  • Toni Francis, Senate of Canada
  • Matt Haddad, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club
  • Michael Qaqish, Algonquin College
  • Phillip Shaer, Invert Inc.
  • Michelle Alfieri, Gartner Consulting
  • Michael Purcell, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Carrie Irvine, Carrie Irvine Communications
  • Cody Sorensen, Welch LLP


Government Funding: 22.9%
Foundations and Other Charities: 47.1%
Annual Fundraising: 26.9%
Social Enterprise: 3.1%


Ottawa and Renfrew County

Check out OBJ‘s full Giving Guide here!