Welcome home, Rich Buery!

We are thrilled to announce that Rich Buery, co-founder of iMentor, has returned to iMentor's board of directors! Rich will work with fellow co-founders John Griffin, Matt Klein, and the rest of our board of directors to support our growth over the next five years of iMentor's newly launched strategic plan. Our Chief External officer sat down for a quick Q&A with Rich as he settles into his new/old role.

Essie Haimes: How is iMentor unique in its approach to supporting educational equity and opportunity for young people?
Rich Buery: One of the most powerful elements of iMentor’s approach is the multi-year commitment our mentors make to seeing their mentees to college. This is critical to building the trusting relationship that mentors need in order to effectively support students and their families. And I think we see the power of that in Mentor’s results.

Essie: How has iMentor evolved since the organization you helped to found back in 1999?
Rich: In many ways, iMentor today looks very different than the iMentor of 1999. Back then, we were working with younger children, and we hadn’t developed our focus on college success. We had just a handful of people, and in our first year we supported about 50 middle schoolers in the Bronx. The growth in the number of young people we serve and in the number of places we serve them is extraordinary. But I am just as impressed by how the current team has driven the programmatic vision and model forward!

Essie: What does it mean to you to re-join the iMentor board as the organization approaches its 20th Anniversary?
Rich: I’m just so excited to be a part of this movement. There is no job more important than putting young people on the path to the American Dream, and that’s what iMentor is all about.

As Chief of Policy & Public Affairs, Rich leads the KIPP Foundation’s public policy, advocacy, marketing, and communications efforts to grow the KIPP network and advocate for policies that make it easier for students to afford college and overcome other barriers to success. Previously he served as Deputy Mayor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, where he led key initiatives including Pre-K for All, which increased enrollment from 19,000 to 70,000 children in 18 months, and ThriveNYC, a comprehensive effort to improve New Yorkers’ mental health.

As a lifelong advocate for social change, Rich has been leading strategic initiatives that support communities across the globe for over 20 years. While in college, he founded the Mission Hill Summer Program in a Roxbury, Massachusetts housing development, and went on to teach fifth grade at an orphanage in Bindura, Zimbabwe. After a brief stint as a civil rights lawyer, he co-founded both iMentor and Groundwork, which supports the educational aspirations of Brooklyn public housing residents.

We look forward to collaborating with Rich again as he rejoins the iMentor family on our board of directors. His passion and drive to enact change in the higher education space is inspiring and motivating. We’re lucky that he is one of our champions!