iMentor – Nonprofit Partner Spotlight – May. 2012


Who is iMentor?

Headquartered in New York City, iMentor is an innovative non-profit organization that leverages the power of mentoring to help youth in low-income communities graduate from high school college-ready and succeed in college.  We pair high school students with college-educated mentors who work one-on-one through iMentor’s college-readiness curriculum.  Through one weekly email and one monthly in-person session, mentors are uniquely positioned to help students from under-resourced communities navigate the college application process and build critical skills for high school and college success.

Since 1999, iMentor has connected 7,000 students in New York City with mentors, and is serving over 1,800 mentor-mentee pairs this year.  iMentor also provides its curriculum, technology, and best practices to 30 nonprofits in 20 states across America to help them run effective mentoring programs.   iMentor is proud to be recognized as a leader in the field through funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, New Profit, the federal Social Innovation Fund, and friend to CUP, the Robin Hood Foundation.

What is your mission?

iMentor’s mission is to improve the lives of high school students from underserved communities through evidence-based, technology-enabled mentoring.   Many of New York City’s high school youth are students of color who live below the poverty line. A majority of these students will also be the first person in their family to attend college – a process that is not easy to navigate without the guidance of a caring, committed adult who has walked that path.  iMentor’s college-ready programming inspires students’ growth personally and professionally, and our mentors can give students the skills and support they will need to accomplish academic and professional greatness.

What makes your organization so unique in the non-profit space?

iMentor provides a unique solution that speaks directly to the CUP’s push for positive change for diverse communities.  Firstly, iMentor’s innovative program model makes it possible for busy business and civic leaders to give back.  iMentor’s program offers enough flexibility for busy professionals to participate while ensuring students get the structure and guidance they need to reach their goals.  Mentors and mentees exchange one weekly email on a topic iMentor provides and meet once a month at group events organized by iMentor, all the while students build viable, successful futures through college prep and skill building Mentors are supported every step of the way with training sessions, networking events, and coaching from iMentor staff.

Secondly, in New York City, iMentor partners with entire high schools to make sure that every student in that school, across academic and social spectrums, has a mentor.   Through this “whole school” approach, iMentor hopes to inspire a school-wide culture of expectation for high school graduation, college attendance, and career success in our city’s resource-challenged schools.   iMentor recognizes the power of diversity and inclusion for our model to achieve even greater success.  It is our goal to make sure professionals of color from across culture and industry are engaged.

What is your organization up to at the moment & how can CUP Members be involved?

Here’s some exciting news for our CUP friends!  CUP communities are uniquely positioned to make college readiness a reality for the students we serve at iMentor.  Your readers would be great mentors to the students iMentor serves.  CUP colleagues can instill the qualities of leadership, dedication, and service in their mentees, while building a strong mentor-mentee relationship.  CUP offers the diversity of cultural experiences, industry, and academic paths that inspire our students to broaden their horizons and charge ahead towards their goals.  Recent CUP keynote speaker, Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, celebrates iMentor’s impact in our communities across New York: “I’m proud to support iMentor because it is innovative; because it’s connecting adults to kids.  It’s connecting all of us to a greater destiny.  The model that iMentor has created is working.  We need everyone standing up for our children.  That’s what will get us there.”

Yusef Kassim, CUP Leadership Board Member and long-time mentor, says, “iMentor’s success as an invaluable guide in preparing inner-city kids for college has been remarkable.  I feel very privileged to be part of such an exceptional program, and this is the type of work that builds towards a bright future for our kids and our city."  Fellow Leadership Board Member, Walker Sands, says, "This organization isn't just about opening doors to college success.  It opening doors to new perspectives and new thinking among our city’s next generations of leadership."  In 2011, over 80% of our mentees graduate from high school and about 70% were accepted into college.  Over 90% of our mentors recommend our program to their friends and colleagues.  We at iMentor are excited to welcome your individuality, dynamic experiences, and college story to join iMentor in making college access a possibility across New York City


We have officially kicked off our recruitment season!   Sign up here to become a mentor today. After completing iMentor’s training and screening process, you can be matched with a mentee in the Fall 2012.

If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to join us for a quick and inspiring iMentor webinar on Tuesday, 6/5/12, at 1PM EST.  For our Tuesday webinar, 6/5/12, at 1PM webinar, you can sign up here.

Remember:  Let us know that you heard about us through the Council of Urban Professionals!

If you have any questions about getting involved, reach out to Walker Sands, Volunteer Manager, at