iMentor Hosts 20th Anniversary Gala Recognizing John Griffin and Jeff Bezos


Event Raises $4.5M Supporting 10,000+ First-Generation College Students

NEW YORK, October 23, 2019 – Last night, iMentor, the national college-success organization, hosted its 20th anniversary benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street, co-chaired by Amy Griffin, Julian Robertson and Lisa and Mark Bezos. In a room of nearly 800 people, iMentor celebrated two decades supporting first-generation college students with the theme “The Power of Us”. Since 1999, iMentor has forged mentoring relationships that empower students to navigate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

The event, the Champions Dinner, honored two visionary leaders, John Griffin, founder of Blue Ridge Capital and iMentor, and Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon. The Champions Dinner highlights the power of mentoring and the impact of providing every young person equitable access to post-secondary education. The evening raised $4.5 million in support of iMentor’s whole-school model, now in 51 public high schools nationally.

“We set out 20 years ago to harness the power of mentoring to provide all students equal access to educational opportunities. I am so proud of the students we serve, the national movement that iMentor has become and the community that supports this work,” said John Griffin, founder of Blue Ridge Capital and iMentor. “I know in the decades ahead we will continue to innovate and to create opportunity for even more young people across the country.”

“Tonight the iMentor community came together for an amazing celebration of the 66,000 students and adult mentors we have connected since 1999,” said iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien. “This evening is unique in bringing together a mix of civic-minded volunteers who devote over three years, and often longer, toward helping a young person realize their goals. I’m grateful for the many supporters who made this night possible, and extend my thanks and congratulations to the students who inspire us with their drive and ambition.”

As part of the evening’s program, Jeff Bezos participated in an intimate fireside chat with three iMentor students and moderated by his brother and iMentor board member, Mark Bezos. Students queried Jeff on a range of topics, from the role of mentorship and opportunity in his own life to his advice on the future of work. The discussion was part of robust programmatic stage program, including students and mentors who were matched through iMentor’s history and maintain close ties to this day. The program also highlighted three videos featuring iMentor “pairs” and stakeholders, which can be viewed on the iMentor 20th anniversary website.

Follow social media from the evening by searching for the hashtags #PowerOfUs and #iMentor20, and see photos from the event.

About iMentor

iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. iMentor was created in 1999 by John Griffin, Richard Buery and Matt Klein. Launched with just 49 students in a single school in the South Bronx, today, iMentor serves more than 10,000 students through our direct-service programs in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Chicago, and New York City, and through our partnerships with local non-profit organizations that implement our model in 51 public schools.


Shari Mason
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