LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana announced its largest-ever donation from a single individual in the organization’s history. The $500,000 gift was part of a $122.6 million donation across the nation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana will use the money to transform mentorship in local communities, ensuring that young people have access to powerful mentoring experiences that empower them with a plan for their futures.

The organization believes that mentoring is an integral part of the solution in preparing youth for life and career, building positive relationships and essential skills for life-changing outcomes including post-secondary readiness, social-emotional learning, and a stronger sense of belonging and inclusion.

In Acadiana alone, there are more than 60 young people, known as “Littles,” waiting to be matched with mentors, known as “Bigs.” In addition, the agency enrolls, on average, 15 – 20 kids per month. 

“This unprecedented investment is the largest donation from a single individual in the organization’s 37-year history in Acadiana and serves as a powerful message in recognizing the importance of investing in mentorship to build and strengthen communities and society as a whole,” said Kalli Christ, Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana. “This gift will enable us to boost our impact in transformative ways. We have always had a responsibility to kids and our community. Our focus now turns to maximizing this opportunity to best support the young people and families of Acadiana.”

Scott, billionaire philanthropist and former spouse of Jeff Bezos, donated $122.6 million to 38 independent affiliates of Big Brothers Big Sisters across the U.S. Noah Brandon, President of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana Board of Directors, said the gift will allow them to expand initiatives to help more kids and invest in long-term sustainability to ensure that impacts from the organization last well into kids’ futures.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana believes no one person, organization, or gift alone can drive the significant impact mentorship can have on a young person’s life. It takes a village of mentors, volunteers, and donors to positively impact young people’s lives. They said this investment in Big Brothers Bigs Sisters of Acadiana and its community is an invitation for more people and partners to join in transforming mentorship for young people today and for generations to come.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana and get involved as a mentor, volunteer, donor, or community partner, visit acadianabigs.com.