iMentor Partners with the NBA Foundation to Advance Equity Work in Support of Black Youth


The NBA Foundation announced that iMentor, a national mentoring organization with a 20-year proven track record of increasing the number of first-generation college graduates, will be among 22 grant recipients receiving a combined $6 million to advance their work supporting Black youth.

“We are profoundly grateful to have the NBA Foundation as a partner in ensuring students from historically underserved backgrounds have a dedicated mentor and an equal chance at achieving their wildest ambitions,” said Dr. Heather D. Wathington, iMentor’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to using this award to expand our program and empower thousands of young people across the country to achieve their college and career dreams.”

iMentor is currently preparing to support more than 10,000 teenagers and young adults across the country this fall. The ongoing pandemic has compounded a set of systemic inequities that limit economic and social mobility for many of the young people iMentor serves. Despite this, iMentor’s students continue to work towards their aspirations, and iMentor mentors and staff continue to support students to achieve their highest post-secondary ambition. With the NBA Foundation’s support, iMentor will launch new program innovations in response to our students’ needs, double down on our commitment to our diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and collaborate with our partner high schools, higher-ed institutions, and other community-based organizations to maximize college and career outcomes for our students.

All of the grant recipients – which were named on the NBA Foundation’s one-year anniversary of its incorporation – will continue the Foundation’s efforts to reduce the persistent racial wealth gap. In its first year, the NBA Foundation has awarded 40 grants, inclusive of those announced today, totaling $11 million to nonprofit organizations. The grants help enhance the impactful programs of these national and local organizations in alignment with the NBA Foundation’s mission to provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development for high school, college-aged, job-ready and mid-career individuals in communities across the United States and Canada.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our one-year anniversary by awarding 22 deserving organizations with new grants that will further their efforts and our shared mission to create short- and long-term opportunity for Black young people,” said Greg Taylor, NBA Foundation Executive Director. “The commitment shown by NBA players, teams and governors in our inaugural year has been inspiring, and we look forward to deepening our efforts and operating with intention to reach more youth in additional cities in the years to come, ultimately helping to close the racial wealth gap.”

The Foundation will continue to collaborate with all 30 teams, their affiliated charitable organizations and the NBPA to support national and local organizations, utilizing the collective $30 million annual commitment from the NBA Board of Governors as well as additional funding sources.

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About the NBA Foundation

Created in August 2020 to reduce the persistent racial wealth gap, the NBA Foundation is the league’s first-ever charitable foundation dedicated to driving economic opportunity for Black youth. The Foundation invests in local and national organizations that promote school-to-career and workforce development opportunities.

About iMentor

iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower students from historically underserved communities to graduate high school, succeed in their post-secondary pathway of choice, and achieve their career ambitions. iMentor students outperform the best comparable peer groups in college enrollment, persistence, and completion.

iMentor partners with public high schools and matches every student in the school with a mentor. Each year iMentor recruits thousands of volunteers to serve as mentors who commit to a minimum of four years to mentoring a single student in the program, bridging support from high school to post-secondary pathways. With dedicated support from iMentor, mentors gain a holistic understanding of their mentee’s individual talents, aspirations, and challenges, which allows them to provide a level of support that could not be achieved through traditional school counseling alone.

Since 1999, iMentor has matched nearly 38,000 students across the country with mentors. During the 2020-21 program year, iMentor served more than 9,000 students across four regions in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Chicago, and New York City and in 12 additional states through partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters. To learn more, visit



Shari Mason
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