Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

This profile originally appeared in the 2018-19 Giving Guide. Read the full magazine here.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) has been serving the Ottawa community for 48 years. We began creating Big Brother friendships in 1970 and Big Sister friendships in 1973. Our programs have grown from the traditional 1:1 matches to include a variety of different programs that serve youth ages 6-24 in both the community and schools; including programs specific to newcomer youth to Canada, youth in care, Indigenous youth, youth on the Autism Spectrum and the Police Recreational Youth Mentoring Experience (PRYME) in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service.

Changing the course of young lives changes the future of communities. By every measure, Big Brothers Big Sisters returns positive results in the mental health, employment and civic engagement of the mentees. A 2013 study by Boston Consulting Group found that for every $1 invested in mentoring by BBBS, there is an $18 to $23 social return on investment to the community. The study also determined that of those mentored through BBBS programs: 63% completed post-secondary education, 47% hold senior leadership positions and 50% are more likely to volunteer themselves.

Big Brothers
Proud recipient of United Way Ottawa's 'All That Kids Can Be' Community Builder of the Year Award in 2018.

At a glance

Year founded: 1970

Geographic region of focus: Ottawa and Renfrew Country

Total revenue for last fiscal year: $1,072,499

Top funding sources: 

  • Government funding: 39%
  • Corporate & special events: 27%
  • Individual: 9%
  • Social Enterprise: 5%
  • Endowments: 2%
  • Other charities: 18%

How you can help


Thanks to the generous support from our community, BBBSO has been able to give tens of thousands of youth the gift of a mentor - providing them with friendship, trust and support in their lives. There are currently 500 children in need of mentors across Ottawa. Your gift of $1,500 or $83.34/month will match a child with a caring mentor and provide them with support from a trained staff member with a background in social work, plus give them access to community and group events for one full year. 


BBBSO relies on the support of community volunteers to ensure that our programs are successful. We have many opportunities for individuals or groups to become involved in our organization. We offer a variety of mentoring programs ranging in commitment from one to four hours a week. We also offer opportunities to support our fundraising events and to participate on our Board of Directors and on various committees.


Bowl For Kids’ Sake

February 2019: Our signature bowl-a-thon has a fun new theme each year. Participants collect pledges for BBBSO and enjoy a fun evening of bowling at West Park Lanes. Corporate teams can enjoy team-building while supporting the community. There are three dates to choose from, food and drinks available, prizes and a 50/50 draw.

Henry Burris All-Star Weekend

May 2019: Henry Burris and his All-Star friends kick off the weekend by coaching an All-Star kids camp at TD Place for over 200 youth. The following day, a Celebrity Golf Tournament takes place. Golfers have an All-Star or local celebrity join them for a fun round of golf and then for a hearty dinner at the Clubhouse, complete with silent and live auctions.

Group Events for our Mentors & Mentees

Our community-based Big Brothers and Sisters spend 2-4 hours each week with their Little. Group events allow our matches to participate in a fun, free activity together while feeling supported by the community. 


Big Brothers Big Sisters Breakfast Fundraiser

September 18, 2019: Join local community leaders and supporters, along with our Bigs and Littles for breakfast on Big Brothers Big Sisters Day in support of life-changing mentoring programs for children and youth in Ottawa. Together, you will positively alter the future of young lives in the community by giving them the gift of a mentor. We invite you to join us in hosting a table. To learn more, please contact Monique Flocco at

Social Enterprise

Clothes For Kids’ Sake successfully launched in 2016 with the placement of clothing donation bins across the city. This initiative turns unwanted clothing and items into dollars that fund our mentoring programs and help us become more sustainable. There are currently 21 BBBSO clothing donation bins across the city and we also offer free pick-ups of your unwanted clothing and small household items. Corporate offices are encouraged to host clothing drives on our behalf. For more information, please visit:

Board members and executives

Big Brothers
Executive Director Susan Ingram (left) and Emily Villeneuve, Chair of the Board of Directors

Tina Hill
Greenspon Granger Hill Lawyers

Jamie Puddicombe
St. Lawrence College

Cindy Melville
Private Sector

Timon Ledain
Macadamian Technologies

Cindy McGann
Co-Secretary, ProntoForms

Jason Neubauer
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General 

James Sliter
RBC Royal Bank 

Michael R. Foster
Canadian Blood Services 

Carl Cartwright
Ottawa Police Service 

Mitchell Kutney

Paul Willets
Vey Willetts LLP

Mitchell Carkner
IBM Canada

Dr. Rana Pishva
Ottawa Centre for Resilience

Accredited by:

Imagine Canada

Get in touch

1645 Woodroffe Ave., Suite 12 
Ottawa, Ontario
K2G 1W2

Twitter: @BBBSO
Facebook: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa
Instagram: @bbbsottawa