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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Big Sunday

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Community & Neighborhood Development, Community Coalitions, Economic Development, Human Services

Mission: Our mission is to build community through community service. We believe that everyone has some way that they can help somebody else. Our biggest event each year is Big Sunday Weekend—always in the spring, usually in late April or early May. That’s when thousands of people from California, of all ages and all backgrounds, work together at hundreds of nonprofits, schools and other agencies that need their help. Last year on Big Sunday Weekend, volunteers turned out—some as individuals, others with their families, still others as part of a class, church, synagogue, mosque, business or club—to lend a hand at more than 500 different projects from San Diego to San Francisco, making Big Sunday Weekend one of the largest regional community service events in America. On Big Sunday Weekend there are opportunities for every passion, talent, skill and age. Projects are scheduled throughout the weekend, and can last anywhere from one hour to two full days. Big Sunday Weekend also includes special events such as art shows, yard sales and blood drives. Plus, every year on Big Sunday Weekend, we give away truckloads of clothes, books, food, furniture, musical instruments, luggage, toys and other items. For many people, Big Sunday Weekend is just the beginning of an involvement that continues throughout the year. Many of our volunteers build lasting relationships with the nonprofits they first help on Big Sunday Weekend. All year long—and for years to come—they continue to volunteer, mentor, serve on boards and contribute goods, services and money to support these worthy causes. The bottom line is that everyone has some way they can help someone else. And when everyone helps, everyone wins.

Results: 15 years of community-building festivals of volunteerism, and still growing!

Geographic areas served: Southern California

Programs: Big sunday provides countless ways for people of all ages and all backgrounds to help somebody else. These include thousands of volunteering and giving opportunities throughout the year, including big sunday weekend ( hundreds of projects on one weekend in may); the big sunday community calendar, listing more than 1000 ways to help each year; the annual holiday giving list, with more than 250 ways to help at the holidays; the end of the month club, a monthly food collection; monthly on melrose, a series of all kinds of special helping events; thebiglist, an online giving and wish-list to help other nonprofits and those who want to serve them; organizing corporate days of service; youth in action, an online toolkit for youth wanting to help; tm@10, a weekly gathering at the big sunday office to do community service projects; meeting emergency needs of nonprofits and individuals, and more.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big Sunday is truly the most spectacular non-profit organization that our FAMILY has ever encountered! There are thousands of wonderful organizations, but none that are this inviting, inspiring, organized and heart-lovingly-fulfilling for every member, of any and every age, of our family. Big Sunday has completely re-wired the word Community Service in all of our hearts and minds to Community Passion - Love, Support and One-ness. Through Big Sunday and because of Big Sunday, for the last 6 years (almost 6!), my children and I have had some of our most favorite and special times together, with leaving our electronics back at home or in the car and being fully together while working, creating, building, organizing, etc., for those who are in need ...and when our time in each day or activity is through, we all feel happier, hug each other a little longer and tighter and know that we have made a difference and will hopefully add a little love and happiness into the heart of someone whose day could really use a little glimmer of hope, love and kindness. These are the moments that you can't buy. Even though our time at Big Sunday or working with Big Sunday is for others, it is truly our favorite gift to ourselves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To say that Big Sunday has changed my life -- and the lives of thousands of people -- is an understatement.

Over 10 years ago, I got my first glimpse of what Big Sunday was all about. I started volunteering on a small scale, making lunch and doing craft activities with Ability First, an apartment complex for adults with disabilities. After two years, I became Social Action Chair at my temple and had access to hundreds of volunteers. I got "promoted" within Big Sunday and was asked to create a carnival for foster children at Penny Lane in North Hills, while their foster parents participated in classes. With over 80 volunteers, we set up a homemade carnival, fed them hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream, found a DJ who offered her time, set up donated bouncies, and gave out tons of prizes, including a trip to Disneyland! This was all free to the families, of course, thanks to Big Sunday and the many donations we snagged. The kids never could get over that they didn't have to pay for any of it. I ran that highly rewarding event for four years and I believe it continues on today.

Meanwhile, as Social Action Chair, I modeled our many temple activities after Big Sunday. I completely (with permission and blessing!) plagiarized their brochures and ideas and implemented them into our temple social action activities. Our participation EXPLODED. For example, over 400 people joined in for our annual community giving day (aka "Mitzvah Day"). Not bad for a congregation of 600+ families. I attribute much of this success to the Big Sunday format which simply WORKS.

For the next three years on Big Sunday, I co-led a food and clothing collection with a local school board member. We tapped into our suburban school district and collected truckloads of important items for local shelters and food banks, while our school kids sorted and delivered. They loved the hands-on feeling of helping out alongside our superintendent, and organizations were thrilled with the bonanza of donations.

For the last two years, I have been working with L.A. Family Housing. They house homeless families temporarily, and we volunteers serve them lunch and do many fun games with the kids like Perler Beads. We take family pictures for them and give them frames and albums ... something simple that they often don't have. They love it!

The biggest thing to say about Big Sunday is what happens outside of Big Sunday. Thanks to their Holiday Giving List, I have a decade-long relationship with Covenant House in which my family donates gift cards to their youth every Christmas. I won a Volunteer of the Year award from Penny Lane, and my family joins another family later in the year to volunteer for L.A. Family Housing's "Birthday Club," giving gifts to the kids in the shelter whose birthdays fall that month.

Big Sunday has changed my life, the lives of hundreds of volunteers I work with, and thousands of people whom I have been honored to meet.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my third time to volunteer with Big Sunday. Like my first two experiences it was a well planned event that was to benefit underprivileged children and families in the greater Los Angeles area. The staff from Big Sunday were professional and friendly. I would volunteer for this organization again.

lilmayanichole

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, My name is Maya Nichole and I'm a 12 year old Philanthropist in training! "Big Sunday" gives me the opportunity to give back to lots of kids while feeling good inside. The events are so fun, I don't even realize I'm volunteering!

~Maya~
@LILMayaNichole on twitter

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big Sunday makes community involvement and volunteering rewarding and easy. I have been a volunteer project leader with Big Sunday for about 4 years. Through their support, we planted trees and shrubs and continue to beautify a local elementary school campus. They provide a terrific online system to attract and register volunteers for specific projects, support materials, and a bit of funding. Most of all, Big Sunday is focused on fun ways to connect people with meaningful opportunities. One sign of success for our project: Many people don't want to leave after a few hours of digging, planting and sharing lunch together.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big Sunday is an incredible nonprofit. I loved working with them, they make you feel like family and we have so much fun. I went for the first time and they were awesome. I'm definitely going back for more events in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so very impressed by Big Sunday, they truly reach out to the community in all areas and most
of all make the volunteers feel welcome, acknowledged. You leave feeling you really want to come back and help more. I volunteer a lot and feel Big Sunday is one of the better organizations to be involved with.,

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big Sunday is truly the greatest of the great non-profits-I have been a volunteer for many years and the more I get involved the more I know people here just want to do good, touch people's lives and make them better. They are unstoppable and don't have "can't be done" in their vocabulary. It brings people together in a common bond of helping our fellow man and nobody does it better.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a teacher and a mom of school age children, summertime usually means long days to fill. This past summer, I was looking for a way to spend part of our days, that was meaningful and fun for myself and, my children that range in age from 8 - 21. Big Sundays Mornings on Melrose was one of the best things that happened to us this summer! Big Sunday is a fantastic, kid/family friendly way to share with and serve others. We met great people, my kids loved the activities, and they got to learn the importance of giving back. The kids loved it so much, they started inviting friends to come with us, and everyone was able to participate and contribute. LOVE Big Sundays!

ElkanRealtor

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big Sunday is the most wonderful, warm, friendly, helpful, generous organization! They have helped the Sherman Oaks community year after year with beautification projects that benefit and bring together our whole community. They have helped us with organizing, funding and donating supplies, marketing and promoting our events and contacting our volunteers. We couldn't ask for a better non-profit with which to be involved!

Gratefully,

Leslie Elkan
Big Sunday Captain

MotherNature333

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BIG SUNDAY is our favorite family non-profit in Los Angeles. We enjoy their Thursdays on Melrose activities. The best thing about BIG SUNDAY is the spirit with which every activity or event takes place. People gather together like one big family and join in an effort to help many of the organizations in need in Los Angeles. We participated as a family in the clothing drive for the Nation Wide Day of Service during Martin Luther King Jr's weekend. It was a fabulous day of working with others! People serve with a sense of community, and as a way to do good. David Levenson, Berenice & Lindsay, as well as the entire BIG SUNDAY team are always welcoming. We may not be able to always give as much as we would like, be know that BIG SUNDAY is always appreciative of the time we can give. They really make us feel like we are part of the family. In a big city like Los Angeles, that is a really special thing! It makes you feel like you are 'home'.

Also, for 2 years in a row, I have applied for BIG SUNDAY projects for my elementary school in West Hills. BIG SUNDAY has enabled us to bring that sense of community to our school to do improvement projects on BIG SUNDAY WEEKEND. They have helped us to paint murals, add habitat gardens, and build a chicken coop in our school garden. Without their support, we wouldn't have the great campus we have. We would have parents joining together and asking when the next BIG SUNDAY event will be. They've given us something that is priceless, a sense of giving back at our own school. We had 120 parent volunteer last year, a remarkable increase from the prior year where we had about 60. Our parents love these events because it is them giving of their time and energy, not necessarily of their money. BIG SUNDAY is part of our school too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Big Sunday for about 10 years and loving it! I first heard about them via my church and have since organized many Big Sunday projects via my company for large groups of employees. Every volunteer I have brought on board or have worked with just loves the folks at Big Idea and we all truly enjoy the variety of volunteer opportunities they provide. The staff is helpful, organized and best of all, they have a real passion for helping those in need throughout CA. Big Sunday in May is still one of the largest, most fun and well organized community days of service in the country. Just as impressive is the tireless work they do throughout the year for hundreds of non-profits. Their annual Holiday Volunteering and Giving Opportunities List is one of the most extensive around and it's so nice to have this resource during the holidays. There are so many wonderful ways to give back and help out in my community thanks to Big Sunday! They definitely deserve to be recognized by Great Nonprofits.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found Big Sunday through Volunteermatch.com this past summer and I have been coming to their Thursday activities ever since. All the employees are extremely warm, welcoming and have some much to give that it is contagious and so admirable! I love volunteering for all the arts and crafts activities and I always look forward to going. Today we decorated Halloween frames and it was so much fun! Thank you Big Sunday for all you do for our community and know that when I leave your offices on Melrose Blvd, I am full of energy and extremely happy to have contributed to make someone's life a bit better. Thank you David, Bernice, Ashannti, Nick and Rob! my heart if full!

Gloria T.