BB&T: Making A Difference

It’s been 3 years since BB&T bank signed up to be a Diamond Sponsor for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Ice Ball gala. During that time, the company has not only seen BBBS grow and change, the company’s relationship with BBBS has grown and changed as well.

“Three years ago, we were looking to further support the community by partnering with an organization that aligned with our values, and whose mission fit well with BB&T’s mission – part of which is to make the world a better place to be,” said Blake Absher, BB&T’s Austin Market President and a former Big Brother. “BBBS was near and dear to us. We liked that funds raised for BBBS would go back to our community and to supporting youth.”

The relationship between BB&T and BBBS proved to be a perfect match and each year BB&T’s impact on, and support for, BBBS has grown. Over the past three years, the company has increased annual donations for the Ice Ball Gala through an employee-led fundraising campaign, spread the word about BBBS’ work and mission to the organization’s employees, clients, friends and associates, and recruited others to support BBBS as volunteers, mentors and donors. It’s a growth no one really saw coming.

“In the beginning, we knew we wanted to connect our associates with BBBS. We wanted to be more than a gala sponsor. We wanted our team to feel invested in the agency’s mission,” Blake said. “But seeing how things have grown, and how passionate and involved our employees have become, is really amazing,”

“We have employees who have taken leadership roles in fundraising and advocacy, joined committees, and who want to become Bigs themselves. We have associates who are out there championing BBBS’ work while also championing BB&T’s mission. I didn’t think it would grow like this,” Blake admitted. “The snowball effect has been incredible. Our partnership has affected our organization, our employees and our clients. In addition to our own team members, we now have clients coming in as Ice Ball sponsors, joining the Ice Ball host committee, and then leveraging their own networks to fundraise for BBBS. Seeing this evolution has really been rewarding.”

“I think our involvement with BBBS has brought our organization together city-wide,” said Cathy Haines, BB&T’s Retail and Small Business Leader, and a former Big Sister. “We have 15 branches in Austin. Fundraising for BBBS has fostered friendly competition among all our teams and teammates. We look forward to giving back to BBBS, and we gain as much as we give. BBBS is a wonderful organization that we have all got behind, and our partnership with BBBS makes us proud.”

BB&T’s support for BBBS extends far beyond the walls of the company. “I help manage the annual fundraising campaign from the branch level, and I would definitely say that we do take it home with us,” said Susan McNeight, BB&T’s Market Leader, Onion Creek Branch. “Many of our team members not only try to raise funds through their interactions at the bank, but they also go home and tell their friends and families what they’re doing. They go on social media and say ‘Hey, I’m fundraising for BBBS. Would you consider donating?’”

“One of our tellers was a former Little, and our relationship with BBBS really means something special to her. And again, she talks to everybody she knows and tries to raise funds,” Susan said.

BB&T’s employees are also committing to more personal involvement with BBBS as well. “Every year, I’ve gotten more involved,” said Susan, who is currently a member of the Ice Ball Host Committee. “Ultimately, I’d like to become a Big Sister.”

BB&T’s support for BBBS not only brings their employees together, it also brings the company closer to its clients. “I reached out to my personal network when I was fundraising last year and I got a response from a company that donated $3,000, which I was not expecting at all,” Susan continued.  “The owner said ‘I just wanted to donate. I hope this contribution helps you reach your goal. My daughter is a Big in San Antonio, and BBBS is an organization I’m really proud of and believe in.’ He and his wife have been mentors to young kids in the past, so our campaign really touched him, and I’d had no idea. I was just making a request and his response was a surprise. This year, when I reached out to them again, they bought a table at Ice Ball. They’re coming to the gala from San Antonio and bringing some of their clients with them.”

Through all of the fundraising and networking however, BB&T never loses sight of the fact that the real goal of their activity is to get kids off of BBBS’ waiting list and into positive mentoring relationships. “That’s really been a motivating, driving factor,” Blake said. “We know that there are still 600 kids out there who are waiting to be matched with mentors of their own, and that’s something that drives us to tell every client who comes through the door about our partnership with BBBS.”

“BBBS has just moved into a new building that will give them room to grow. The agency’s program metrics are at an all-time high, and the organization has won a number of awards for program quality and impact. Now BBBS needs to increase its financial resources in order to serve more kids. We want to help make that happen.”

“I handle weekly calls with the captains of each branch and we talk about how much we have raised and how many kids those funds will get off the waiting list,” Susan said. “That makes the impact of our efforts very real and very personal. We know our activities are affecting kids’ lives.”

“When you look at the impact that BBBS makes on an individual basis, the difference a one-to-one relationship can make in a child’s life, it is very powerful,” Cathy added. “As former Bigs, Blake and I have witnessed this first-hand. To me, communicating that message is really important. Helping children, helping community members, and making the world a better place is an important part of what we do at BB&T. Working with BBBS allows us to put our mission into action.”

“At BB&T we have a saying that ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’  Blake concluded, “But, as our relationship with BBBS shows, by working together, we can do even more.”

Hobie Day 2017

Sun, water, boats and fun! Big Brothers Big Sisters’ recent Hobie Day was a big hit with Bigs and Littles alike. Set at Bob Wentz Park on Lake Travis, BBBS matches enjoyed the unique experience of sailing on catamarans courtesy of the Austin Hobie Cats, a group of sailing enthusiasts who have hosted the event for almost 40 years. Over 300 matches, families, volunteers, and staff turned out for the special event.

“It was a great new experience with my Big,” said Little Brother Adonis. He and Big Brother Russell enjoyed being out on the lake together.

Big Sister Jessica and her Little Sister Nadia also enjoyed their first experience on a catamaran, though Nadia said she was a little scared at first. Both found the ride to be different than they were expecting but still a lot of fun.

“It was very interesting. They explained about the different parts of the boat and different sailing techniques,” said Big Sister Kemisha. “I asked a lot of questions because I’d never been sailing before and it’s something I’d always wanted to do.” Her Little Sister Lia added that the ride was really nice.

A few matches who sailed last year, like Angel and Patrick, got to have some new adventures. “I got to hang out on the trapeze over the side of the boat and drag my feet in the water,” said Little Brother Angel, who conquered his fears, put on the safety harness, and enjoyed the new experience.

“I’d like to thank all the guys who came with their boats and volunteered,” Patrick added. “That was wonderful.”

The AustinCats supplied the catamarans and have also donated countless hours preparing for and hosting the event.  The Young Men’s Service League Cavaliers Chapter provided volunteers who helped with tasks like equipping attendees with life jackets, assisting people as they got onto the boats and cleaning up after the event.

Hobie Day is one of the few BBBS-organized events where Bigs and Littles get to spend time with the Little’s family members as well. In addition to sailing, attendees enjoyed swimming, playing games and lounging along the shoreline.

Big Sister Liz and Little Sister Angel enjoyed their first year at Hobie Day. “Whenever they turned the boat we were getting splashed with water,” Liz said, “and a big wave came and splashed Angel.” Little Sister Angel wasn’t bothered in the least. She had a big smile on her face after finishing the ride.

Special thanks to the AustinCats, the Young Men’s Service League Cavaliers, Hapi Drinks, Yeti, and Zilker Boat Rentals for their support and involvement. We couldn’t do hold this annual event without such great partners, staff, volunteers, Bigs, Littles and their families. Events like these are where memories are made.

Ice Ball 2017 – Live Auction Package Preview!

Package #1 – Hook ‘Em Horns Tailgate

Heckling Optional

Tailgating – that long-held practice of grilling, drinking, and eating in a game day parking lot. When the University of Texas Longhorns suit up this season, where will you be? Forty (40) lucky Horns fans will be tailgating at the Oklahoma State game in Austin on October 21st!

Perfect for your big family, large group of friends, or clients from out of town, this tailgate includes the following:

  • Premium reserved location
  • 20’ x 20’ tent
  • 15 tailgate chairs
  • Three 6’ tables with linens
  • Two 120-quart coolers with 40 pounds of ice in each
  • Paper plates, paper towels, cups, utensils and koozies
  • Personalized sign

Gebby’s BBQ will cater your epic tailgate while you enjoy ice cold beer from Guns & Oil Brewing Co. and a case of vodka from Dripping Springs Vodka.

Hook ’em Horns!

Special thanks to Gebbys BBQ, Guns & Oil Brewing Co., and Dripping Springs Vodka.

 

Package #2 – Altitude Adjustment

Breckenridge,  Colorado

From shopping to nightlife and dining to culture, you can kick it up or kick back, whatever your mood, in Breckenridge, Colorado.  Take a stroll down historic Main Street and feel the vibrant spirit of eclectic boutiques and après-ski cheer, or relax fireside in a cozy café.

Enjoy a week-long trip for four (4) to Crystal Peak Lodge, a ski-in ski-out resort at the base of Breckenridge’s Peak 7. The 2 bedroom/2 bath condo includes a full kitchen, and access to various resort amenities. Just a 5-minute gondola ride to use your $100 gift card for a tour and tasting at Breckenridge Brewery. And don’t worry about the airfare, 2 Southwest Airlines domestic round-trip tickets are included!

Dates subject to availability. Expires August 31, 2018.

Special thanks to Connie and Bill Nelson, and Southwest Airlines.

 

Package #3 – Paris + Girls = Fun

Paris is Always a Good Idea

Especially when you and 3 of your besties are savoring the sights of the City of Lights for 5 nights!

Stay in a private flat located near the Eiffel Tower on the border of the 7th and 15th arrondissements. There is a well- equipped kitchen for your own culinary adventures or you can visit sidewalk cafes on your way to the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées & Arc de Triomphe. Pedal off your indulgences with 2 Fat Tire Bicycle Tours, and then connect and catch up over dinner at Le Suffren in Paris. On est bien, là.

Dates subject to availability. Expires August 31, 2018

Special thanks to Kelly and David Mebane, and Le Suffren

 

Package #4 – Qué Hermosa

Mexico Retreat for 8

Smell the salt in the air as the warm winds caress your skin at the luxurious Hacienda Beach Club and Residences in sunny Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Your 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath villa comfortably sleeps 8 during your 5-night stay. Relax in the elegant living area or by the infinity-edge pool while gazing over breathtaking views of this 22-acre, $230 million private beach club and residential community. In addition to all this, you and your guests will also enjoy a magical swim with the dolphins 20 minutes down the road in San Jose del Cabo.

Expires December 15, 2018. Excludes holidays and spring break weeks.

Special thanks to Amy and Chris Ellis, and John Gordon Olson.

 

Package #5 – Flag Football with Colt McCoy

Play with Longhorn Legends

Colt McCoy, Texas Longhorn and Quarterback for the Washington Redskins, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a game of flag football at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School with him and special guest, UT and NFL wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. You and 11 of your buddies will play with some of the Longhorn greats. This is a “family friendly pick up game” with both kids and adults mixed in on both teams to keep it fun.

Relax and enjoy a BBQ picnic from Rudy’s BBQ after your game. A photographer and videographer will be provided to commemorate this special event.

Winner has the option of choosing one of the following dates:

  • Sunday, February 25, 2018
  • Sunday, March 4, 2018

Dates could change based on availability.

Expires August 31, 2018.

Special thanks to Rachel and Colt McCoy, Rudy’s BBQ, and St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.

 

Package #6 – The Last Great Habitat

King Ranch Hunt

Board a private jet and cruise on down to one of the most exclusive hunting destinations in America and one of the Lone Star State’s most iconic treasures, King Ranch.

Package includes one experienced guide, truck, lunch, and refreshments for 2 hunters and up to one additional guest. Each hunter has a choice of harvesting 1 Nilgai bull, OR a combination of Nilgai cows, feral hogs, and/or javelinas for the same value. Processing included.

Expires October 31, 2018.  February — April are the best months for Nilgai hunts.

Special thanks to Ashley and Justin Yarborough, and El Campo Game Processing, Inc.

 

Package #7 – 2018 Dell Match Play

The Primo Package

Four (4) 360 Club Tent passes for the Dell Match Play World Golf Championship tournament, March 21 – 25, right here in Austin. Watch the top 64 players in the world compete in this climate-controlled venue that features a double decker structure, all-inclusive food and beverages, and golf views from the 16th tee.

Match Play is the unique event you are looking for when it comes to corporate networking, client services, and entertainment for your guests. Work on your swing with a round of golf for 4 at the exclusive Spanish Oaks Golf Club.

Spanish Oaks Expiration August 31, 2018.

Special thanks to Rachel and Colt McCoy, and Spanish Oaks Golf Club.

 

Package #8 – Party with the Pit Master

at Banger’s

Learn the secrets of Texas and Southern style BBQ from one of the best in the business. Banger’s own Ted Prater has been an accomplished Chef and Pit Master for decades and he’s been a hunter, fisherman, and avid outdoorsman for even longer. For this master class, Chef Ted is going to focus on the holy grail of Texas BBQ, the brisket.

This BBQ Master Class includes:

  • Up to 20 attendees
  • A private, roped off section of the beer garden to eat, drink, mingle and learn
  • Live country band
  • $500 bar tab
  • Step-by-step lesson on cleaning, smoking and seasoning a brisket
  • Every attendee will get to take home 1/2 of a fully cooked brisket
  • Step-by-step lesson on how to make BBQ Every attendee will receive some sauce to take home
  • Step-by-step lesson on how to make BBQ Every attendee will also be given samples to take home
  • Fresh BBQ lunch

Details and restrictions: Attendee must coordinate with Banger’s Event Coordinator to schedule a date. Banger’s must have at least one month’s notice. Event dates are entirely subject to Banger’s availability. Event time: 12-4 pm. No Sundays.

Expiration: August 26, 2018.

Special thanks to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden.

 

Package #9 – Choose Your Own Adventure!

London, Montreal, Cupecoy, New York

Enjoy a 4-night stay in any one of our 25 residences in highly sought-after beach, mountain, city and leisure destinations. The Passport Program provides you with the flexibility to choose your destination after purchasing the trip. You have 18 months to decide! In addition to flexibility, take advantage of pre-trip planning services and a local concierge – both included with the Passport Program.

Destinations include:

  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Beaver Creek, Colorado
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cupecoy, St. Maarten
  • Deer Valley, Utah
  • Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • London, England
  • Los Cabos, Mexico
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montreal, Canada
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • New York City, New York
  • Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
  • Placencia, Belize
  • Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Punta Mita, Mexico
  • San Francisco, California
  • Sonoma, California
  • Watersound/30A, Florida

The nights must be used during 1 trip. At least one person staying at the residence must be over the age of 25. You have 18 months from the date of purchase to use your Passport Program trip. Restricted dates vary based on location and time of year.