Big Brothers Big Sisters Of SW Fla. To Close After Financial Woes

FORT MYERS (CBS4) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Florida is closing after the national organization said the are having financial problems.

The national organization told the local chapter it will lose its affiliate status and must close by Tuesday, leaving 500 volunteer mentors and children without assistance. The agency serves Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

Local board chairman David Lebron says Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast will expand to southwest Florida. That chapter is located in Venice.

There are 367 Big Brother Big Sister affiliates in the United States. Officials say they pay a fee to the national group.

Agency spokeswoman Kelly Williams says two affiliates closed in 2010. The southwest Florida chapter is the only one to close this year. She lists financial problems as the number one reason chapters close.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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