David Benning

Mentoring Excellence Award

Big Brothers Big Sisters
of the Greater Twin Cities
Ameriprise Financial

“I’m interested in giving kids equal opportunity,” said David Benning, an advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis, MN. “Kids don’t get a lot of choices in the hands they’re dealt, whether it’s parents, education, or resources,” he said. Mr. Benning was inspired to become a Big Brother six years ago, when he signed on with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.

“I had a moment of clarity — I realized I wasn’t living my values. I’ve had a lot of advantages in my life, so I feel it’s important to give back,” he said. Mr. Benning has a close relationship with his Little Brother. “A lot of what you give … is presence — that takes the pressure off, knowing you don’t need to come up with a big plan. I just incorporate him into my life.

We go grocery shopping, do yardwork, and the like. I try to be consistent and talk to him on a regular basis. It’s important he knows I’m there,” Mr. Benning said. “Mentoring is the easiest volunteer work in the world. It’s not as big a time commitment as people think. Giving a kid even an hour a week could change the course of his life.”