Our vision is that all children achieve their full potential.

Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) is not part of our work, it is our work. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) is committed to remaining a welcoming and inclusive organization. We foster a culture that values the diversity of every member of BBBS-ETN’s community. 

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sister’s JEDI initiatives, click here.


  • Active Matches in 2021: 424
  • New Matches Made in 2021: 133
  • Number of Counties Served: 23
  • Number of Counties with Active Matches: 9
  • Youth Impact:
    • 95% of Littles feel like they belong
    • 97% of Littles are confident they can say no to drugs, violence, and skipping school
    • 87% of Littles have better grades, academic goals, and confidence

To learn more about our impact, visit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s impact reports here.


We care about your gift the way you care for others, and we take that responsibility very seriously. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, we strive to be the best stewards of your gift in order to better serve its purpose: to serve more children with mentors, more effectively.

2021 Annual Report (PDF)

2019 Annual Report (PDF)


Board of Directors

Our talented and dedicated Board of Directors leads the BBBS-ET agency in making important decisions and guiding the organization to success.

Current members:

  • Nick Wilson, President; Executive Committee
  • Dipakkumar Patel, President-Elect/Treasurer; Executive Committee
  • Heidi Carriero, Program Chair; Executive Committee
  • Brooke A. Lawson, Fund Development Chair; Executive Committee
  • Richard Riley, DEI Chair; Anderson County Representative; Executive Committee
  • Charley Bible
  • Deedee Brownlee
  • Dino Cartwright
  • Carol Davis
  • Jean Fremont
  • Brandon Hardin
  • Carly Harrington
  • Crystal Ivey
  • Maria Nia; Board Mentor
  • Chris Parrott
  • Aaron Riley
  • Brandon Stroud
  • Charles Swanson
  • Paige Walton
  • Amanda Kenner, Tri-Cities Advisor
  • Derrick Reasor, Tri-Cities Advisor


Click here to meet the BBBS-ETN staff.

Hall of Fame

In 2017, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN inducted the inaugural group of Hall of Fame members. The Hall of Fame is a platform to recognize those individuals who have been instrumental in providing direction, energy, and support to the shaping of BBBS-ETN since its inception in 1970. Each of the inductees has had a measurable impact on the organization as Bigs, Board and Committee members, fundraisers, and donors to the agency.

  • 2017 Inductees
    • Bill Jolly
    • Al Williams
    • Bo Schafer
  • 2018 Inductees
    • Heidi Brenner
    • Bill Tapp
    • Gordon Thomas
  • 2019 Inductees
    • Julie Hardin
    • Cari Parker
    • Don Shawl
  • 2022 Inductees
    • William “Ed” Harmon
    • Chip DeBlois
    • Beal Bourne





    In addition to our dedicated volunteers, our work at BBBS-ETN wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous partners. By committing to a partnership with us, your contributions help support one-to-one mentoring relationships in East Tennessee. Join us in defending the potential of the youth in our community, one life-changing friendship at a time.

    Is your business or organization interested in supporting our work? Contact us today and we will send you information, including our sponsorship levels and benefits.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee




    “Big Brothers of Knoxville” and “Knoxville Big Sisters Program” are established.


    First Black Mentor

    Beal Bourne, Big Brothers of Knoxville’s first Black mentor, is matched with Little Brother Leonard Winton III. Watch video.


    Big Brothers & Big Sisters Merge

    “Big Brothers of Knoxville” and “Knoxville Big Sisters Program” merge to become Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knoxville.


    BBBS TN Valley Formed

    “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knoxville” merges with “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oak Ridge” to create “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tennessee Valley.”

    BBBS East TN Created

    “Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee” is created as a consolidation of “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tennessee Valley” and “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Tri-Cities.”

    Gold Standard Agency

    BBBS-ETN is honored as a 2016 Gold Standard Agency by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.


    Hall of Fame

    BBBS-ETN names its inaugural Hall of Fame inductees – Agency co-founder and first Big Brother, Bo Shafer; former Board President and Big Brother, Bill Jolly; and Al Williams, another former Board President, Big Brother, and author of the book ‘A Friend Indeed,’ which was sold to raise funds for BBBS-ETN.


    Pinnacle Award

    BBBS-ETN is recognized by BBBSA as a 2017 Pinnacle Award Winner.

    Agency of the Year

    BBBS-ETN wins “National Mid-Large Agency of the Year” through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    50 Years of Service

    BBBS-ETN celebrates 50 years of service to the East Tennessee community.

    Bo Shafer Mentoring Center

    BBBS-ETN opens the Bo Shafer Mentoring Center, named after the agency’s founding Board President and Big Brother.