Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala

A festive gathering of supporters joined the 61st Annual Gourmet Dinner as Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego honored their 2023 Big Champion, Dana Alligood, for her incredible support and championing of youth potential. The evening began with a cocktail party before guests enjoyed an unforgettable night and fabulous meal at the exciting San Diego Air & Space Museum. Following the dinner and program, guests were invited to enjoy an after-party, complete with live music and after-dinner drinks.

Starting something since 1961

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, we’ve been impacting the lives of children for over 55 years. And we’re just getting started.

Over 100 years of history nationally…

For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. It all started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement. At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters.

Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. And, today, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states—and in 12 countries around the world.

Local History

In 1961, in the elevator of the U.S. Grant Hotel, San Diego Union writer Frank Rhodes asked Mr. Jack Levin about the meaning behind his lapel pin. Hours later, the men were still discussing the Big Brothers of Los Angeles agencies and their mission to mentor young men facing adversity. 

Realizing no such agency existed locally, they became inspired to bring the Big Brothers concept to San Diego. Levin quickly asked his business partner, Ben Townes, to get involved, paving the way for the one-to-one mentoring model still serving the county.

Since that auspicious meeting, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served tens of thousands of children, providing them with caring mentors and, in many cases, changing their lives.

Photography by Robert O'Neill