In January 2016, the Citi Foundation became iMentor’s first national corporate partner with the announcement of a $500,000 grant to support iMentor’s growth in New York City and Chicago and expansion into the Bay Area. With the Citi Foundation’s support, iMentor will increase its capacity to serve nearly 10,000 students around the country by 2018, including with the support of Citi mentors.
The investment is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million effort in the United States to connect 100,000 young adults from low-income communities with opportunities that help develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. The Citi Foundation recognizes the value of strong mentorship relationships and how they can help young people establish goals for their future and build valuable connections to the world of work.
Through this collaboration, the Citi Foundation and iMentor are demonstrating what can be achieved when organizations that are committed to the success of young people work closely together towards shared goals. To date, the Citi Foundation’s funding has enabled more than 7,000 mentoring pairs, with Citi employees contributing more than 3,500 volunteer hours in support of their mentees.
“Strong mentoring relationships are a critical component of connecting young people to the onramps that will lead them to college and career success,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “iMentor has a proven track record in New York City and we are excited to support their journey to becoming a national organization and using their program model to reach thousands more students.”
Presently, 170 Citi employees volunteer their time as mentors. Sol Bernstein, a mentor and Director and Associate General Counsel at Citibank, notes, “What I’ve found is that through these continued engagements, you are truly helping to mold a young person’s life and better enabling them to achieve success. I’m more energized than ever to fulfilling my commitment to my mentee.”
Ultimately, notes iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien, “Our goal is to work together to provide our students, mentors, and schools across the country with access to the highest quality resources and programming, ensuring that more first-generation college students from low-income communities succeed in college and beyond.”