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Tracy Anderson joins Big Brothers Big Sisters as new community outreach & volunteer recruitment coordinator

Tracy Anderson

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County serves around 500 children each year across the greater Madison area and throughout Dane County. Tracy Anderson recently joined Big Brothers Big Sisters as its new community outreach and volunteer recruitment coordinator where she will use her many community connections to help recruit Bigs and provide even more mentorships.

“I love the community outreach in this position. And it feels great to align with a good purpose and a good mission,” Anderson tells Madison365. “I’ve been out in the community for a long time, so this just feels like a great fit for me.

“I think what I’m liking most are the meetings I’m going on. It’s making me really excited,” she adds. “I love getting out in the community and talking to people and saying, ‘I know this person, I know that person’ and making connections ….  So it’s exciting and I’m excited to see all the inquiries and all the stuff that’s going to come in.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County empowers children to reach their full potential by creating and supporting strong and enduring one-on-one mentoring relationships throughout Madison and Dane County.

“Even before I started the position, I’ve always loved Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Anderson says. “Once you find yourself talking to people more and more about the organization, you become even more passionate about it. You hear some pretty awesome stories, and then you just start to feel really good … like this was the right direction to go in.”

Anderson says that BBBS of Dane County currently has about 150 kids on the waitlist waiting to be matched up with a Big. The COVID-19 pandemic really hurt the number of Bigs who were volunteering regularly. 

“Once the pandemic hit BBBS saw a huge decline in volunteers,” she says. “So I’ve kind of come back with the goal of coming in there and trying to get them back up to what they were seeing around 2019 prior to the pandemic and to eventually get even more than that.”

Sandy Morales, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County, tells Madison365 that she’s excited to have Anderson on board.

“We have 150 kids waiting to be matched with a mentor and are excited to welcome Tracy to our team,” Morales says. “Her experience, creativity, and connections will help us build a greater pool of volunteer mentors to be matched with our waiting kids.”

A really important goal for BBBS is to get more Bigs of color.  According to BBBS 2021 annual report, 87 percent of the Bigs were white, while 87 percent of the Littles were non-white.

“I think one of the important things about Bigs and Littles is the connections that they help them make in our community,” Anderson says. “But also, for our Littles of color, just seeing someone who looks like you do amazing things in the community. And they then feel, ‘Oh, I can do that, too!’”

The BBBS program is open to all youth ages 6-18 who want a mentor, and there is no cost to participate. As the Littles in the program are overwhelmingly kids of color, BBBS is trying to get more diversity in its Bigs. Only 3 percent of the Bigs in BBBS of Dane County are African-American, for example, and the majority of those are women.

“So that’s another exciting thing about my role is coming up with these ideas to help with those numbers. So brand more or let people know more of our needs and how we’re going to do it,” Anderson says. “I’m only a few weeks in, but we’ve met with the MPD [Madison Police Department] and we are working on a partnership with them and hopefully a partnership with the Black Coalition. I have a meeting set up with some firefighters just to get some contacts and learn more about Black firefighters, too.

“I think it would be awesome for kids to see police officers and firefighters, especially of color, interacting positively in the community,” she adds. “That’s something positive that can turn into so many things in the future.”

An important part of Anderson’s job in developing and executing the volunteer recruitment efforts for BBBS will be building and maintaining relationships in Dane County. As a longtime employee of Midwest Family Broadcasting and, more recently, the manager of business operations & advertising for Umoja Magazine, Anderson has made many connections in Dane County.

“I’ve been here a long time — going on 10 years.  I worked in radio for a while… I was at Midwest Family [Broadcasting] for about seven and a half years and I sold radio for four and a half years,” Anderson says. “So I’ve been out there selling radio to the community and meeting all these different businesses.”

For two and a half years, Anderson was an on-air host at 93.1 Jamz where she met a ton of people, too. 

“I’ve spent a lot of time out in the community, talking to the community, working with clients,” she says. “So it’s just been one of those things where I’ve maintained relationships throughout all of that, and that’s why I think it helped with my position with Umoja [Magazine]. And that’s why I think it’s going to help now with the community outreach and volunteer manager position [at BBBS].”

The loads that everybody has carried throughout the pandemic have taken its toll on Bigs, Littles, families and BBBS staff alike. Anderson hopes that through community-based programming, and with the help of more supporters and volunteers, things will soon return to normal. 

“My goals are to be able to bring in the number of inquiries that they had before the pandemic and then some,” Anderson says. “So that is my number one goal because that’s the biggest thing is getting people interested and wanting to inquire about more information and then taking it from there. So I think with anything, especially something like this, it’s a numbers game. And you just got to get out there and get a lot of people interested and wanting to participate.

“I think down the line what I really want to do, too, is really focus on some of the topics that people have and address those in different ways that maybe they can meet through social media and maybe that could be through a podcast,” she adds. “One thing is when you ask someone about being a Big, time seems to be the number one concern. ‘I don’t have the time.’ So how do we address some of those things and make them interactive and really explain to people the time commitment and why someone has chosen to do this. I think another goal would just be finding different ways to educate people on being a Big.”


If you are interested in becoming a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, e-mail Tracy Anderson at [email protected].