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9:08 PM Fri, Dec. 14th

Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters cited as top state charity by national business website

Jonathan Delker watches Dylan Chavez bowl as Bigs an Littles bowl during the kickoff for the Bowl for Kids Sake campaign at Antelope Lanes in Prescott Valley Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Jonathan Delker watches Dylan Chavez bowl as Bigs an Littles bowl during the kickoff for the Bowl for Kids Sake campaign at Antelope Lanes in Prescott Valley Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

When it comes to giving to a charity, a national business website is clear one cannot go wrong when making a donation to Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters — the nonprofit earned top billing in Arizona.

In scoring charitable giving, Business.org identified charities in all 50 states that maximized their philanthropic dollars to further their programs and clientele rather than pay big executive salaries. Business.org touts itself as a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow revenue, save time and retain customers by providing them with recommendations related to their services and technology.

To come up with the top charities across the nation, the organization compared financial documentation, percentage of donations that go directly into programming, policies related to financial transparency and public reviews. In addition, organization leaders reviewed administration-to-program cost ratios.

Arizona’s standout charity headquartered in Prescott, founded in 1971 to match adult mentors with children in need aged 6 to 18, earned a final score of 97.9 percent out of 100 percent in categories reflecting its business and charitable programming practices, according to a Business.org news release.

The other top four charities in the state are: Child Crisis Arizona, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix and Interfaith Community Services of Pima County with a 96 percent rate. Their scores went from 97.4 percent to 96 percent.

Only four charities across the nation earned 100 percent: San Gabriel Habitat for Humanity in California, Weld Food Bank in Colorado, Food Bank of Siouxland in Iowa and Spread the Word in Nevada. Six others from Chicago, Illinois to Florida — agencies benefitting the homeless, low-income families, needy children, ecology, and conservation efforts — earned rankings above 99 percent.

YBBBS President and Chief Executive Officer Juliana Goswick said this rating is a reflection of the agency’s continued focus on helping this community’s children build meaningful relationships that will reverberate throughout their lives.

“This honor is a testament to the commitment of our highly specialized and talented staff and their commitment of 10 percent annual growth, which focuses on child outreach, recruitment and fundraising. YBBBS is fortunate to be in such a generous community that gives with deep commitment to our children. We thank our board of trustees for their vision and support and our volunteers, who truly ignite the potential in children. They are the heroes who change our children’s lives. Together we are the defenders of potential,” Goswick said.

YBBBS has an annual budget of $1.4 million with 450 active matches.

The highest rated charities had an average fundraising efficiency of just seven cents on the $1; the lowest rated charities spent 29 cents on the dollar. The top organizations’ average rate of contributions going directly to programs is 86.43 percent; YBBBS gives 82 percent of all their donations to program costs with 10.6 percent funding administrative costs, “incredibly low,” the release said.

YBBBS is now the nation’s leading Big Brothers and Big Sisters agency with the number of children matched per capita. The agency provides Big Brothers, Big Sisters, couple and family matches as well as offering a school-based mentoring program.

The agency’s mission is to provide caring, professionally supported role models for children deemed to be able to benefit from extra guidance and support. Many of the children are from single-family households, living with grandparents, or whose two-parent household may be stretched such that the child could benefit from extra guidance and support from an adult mentor/friend.

YBBBS conducted a survey two years ago that showcased the impact the agency has on the children who are matched with adult mentors: 82 percent showed improvement in social interaction, 94 percent showed improvement in scholastic performance, and 91 percent showed advanced in educational expectations.

Studies have revealed that children enrolled in such mentoring programs are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that can lead to substance abuse, criminal activity and educational interruptions.

Since its inception, the county-wide agency has facilitated mentoring relationships for more than 11,000 children, some 1,000 matches a year across 20 communities and 65 schools in Yavapai County.

The nonprofit agency is always on the hunt for new mentors and dollars to maintain their programming and community engagement. YBBBS currently has 220- children on their waiting list, 140 of them boys and 96 of them in Prescott Valley. On Aug. 29, YBBBS will open a new office at 3681 N. Robert Road.

This research into national charities was intended to enlighten business professionals on the best return for their investments, as 77 percent of all businesses and 61 percent of individuals nationwide make charitable donations, website leaders said in the release.

“With so many people giving their time and money, it’s imperative they know where their donations make the most impact,” they concluded.

Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.