CBRE & Big Brothers Big Sisters Partnership Begins

The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBSMC) of Metropolitan Chicago officially kicked-off their CBRE corporate partnership with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the CBRE downtown Chicago office.

CBRE’s Rachel Gradner and Dan Persa are members of the BBBSMC Leadership Board and Bigs to two Littles in the program.

“I was involved in the program with my former employer and when I started here I thought it would be awesome to bring this type of program to our workplace,” said Gradner, associate with CBRE and member of the CBRE Chicago Region Philanthropy Committee.

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Pictured: Jeremy Foster (BBBSMC), Rachel Gradner (CBRE), Dan Persa (CBRE) and Brad Whitlock (BBBSMC) 

The check for $10,000 was presented by CBRE as part of the company’s commitment to a workplace mentoring program with BBBSMC and Finkl Academy for the 2016-2017 school year.

“These partnerships in particular, especially with CBRE, are critical to us being able to execute our mission because one of the toughest things for us is recruiting volunteers, having space, and [overall] logistical pieces,” said Jeremy Foster, Senior Vice President of Development with BBBSMC. He emphasized the benefits of working with corporate companies like CBRE and how bringing the program in-house makes it convenient for volunteers and the added bonus of a “fabulous location.”

“Our mission finding volunteers in our community program is they have to have a will and it’s the same thing with corporate partners. They have to have the will to want to be a part of this program, not just the employees but the company as a whole,” said Brad Whitlock, Manager of Corporate Partnerships, BBBSMC. “When you get to come to an event like this and see the kids and see the relationships flourish, that’s the special moment so that’s why it’s worth it.”

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The “Bigs” and Littles” participate in an improv class during their session.

CBRE works with students from Finkl Academy for the mentorship program which provides a unique in-office volunteer experience for CBRE professionals. “Littles” visit the CBRE office every other week for a fun session with their “Bigs” to expose youth to the world of work providing them with the skills necessary to reach their full potential.  The sessions include relationship, educational, and skill building activities like the fun improv class led by Chicago Improv dramatist and educator, Freddie Ramos hosted after the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony last week.

“Our mission finding volunteers in our community program is they have to have a will and it’s the same thing with corporate partners. They have to have the will to want to be a part of this program, not just the employees but the company as a whole,” said Brad Whitlock, Manager of Corporate Partnerships, BBBSMC. “When you get to come to an event like this and see the kids and see the relationships flourish, that’s the special moment so that’s why it’s worth it.”

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