Winners of National Mentoring Grants Divulge Spending Plans (UPDATED Sept. 10)


As we mentioned yesterday, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention made the much-anticipated announcement of national mentoring grant winners. The $129 million in grants comes from two funding streams, the Recovery Act and OJJDP's basic 2009 appropriation for juvenile mentoring. The only real difference is that Recovery Act grantees need to create jobs in the course of the project.

The big surprise was who did not win a grant: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which confirmed to JJ Today that it sought funds from both from the Recovery Act and 2009 appropriations. Spokeswoman Kelly Williams said that BBBSA's government relations team was still "waiting for word on the applications," but we aren't sure what that means because OJJDP confirmed that this announcement includes all of the winners. BBBSA affiliates did land five of the 13 local mentoring grants that have been announced so far (we are told there are more coming).

"The thing about Big Brother Big Sisters is they are not as targeted on specific young people and this [solicitation] was," said Chip Rich, vice president of YMCA of San Francisco, which got $7.1 million of the 2009 appropriations.

Valid point. But that didn't stop BBBSA from receiving $8.6 million in national mentoring funds from OJJDP in fiscal 2008.

As for the winners, we tried to run down the plans for each organization's award today. Of course, with Labor Day drawing nigh, a few execs were not around to dish, so we'll post what we know and update next week.

Recovery Act Grants

*The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Atlanta ($44,400,000)

The highest of high times for BGCA funding involved a line-item authorization that, at its peak, garnered the Atlanta headquarters $80 million in DOJ funds. The organization got $40 million last year, also through the juvenile mentoring pot, so its piece of the juvenile justice pie is perhaps on the rise again.

BGCA vice president Kevin McCartney on plans for the money: "The funding will enable clubs to save and create jobs, and enhance mentoring opportunities for youth. Pass-through funds provided to local clubs will align with our continuing partnership and common mission with OJP to serve those communities most in need in all 50 states."

*Goodwill Industries International, Rockville, Md. ($19,160,337)

Goodwill made a very public appeal to its sites this year to do more work with offenders (juvenile and adult) coming back from prison, and those sites appear to be serving more youth in recent years.

Goodwill asked for about $25 million to do projects at 57 of its sites in 48 states, focusing on youth between ages 12 and 17 who are adjudicated or who were deemed at-risk of system involvement. The international office worked with seven Goodwills that have a long history in mentoring to design its model, which Vice President of Mission Support Services Wendi Copeland said will focus on developing positive relationships and career plans.

Goodwill plans to negotiate with OJJDP on how many sites it will work with since the award came in below the request, Copeland said.

*Public/Private Ventures, Philadelphia ($17,829,110)

P/PV received a total of $5 million for earmark projects between 2004 and 2005. This grant will go toward building the capacity and size of 43 of its Amachi Mentoring sites, which provide mentors to children with incarcerated parents. Former Philadelphia mayor Wilson Goode, who oversees Amachi, said it still plans to work with 43 sites despite the fact that the $17.8 million P/PV got was $6 million less than requested.

*National Association of Police Athletic Activities Leagues, Jupiter, Fla. ($3,700,000)

National PAL, which is headed by Mike Dillhyon, is definitely not a stranger to DOJ funding. It received about $20 million between 2002 and 2006 for general support, along with a bunch of smaller earmarks that went directly to local police athletic leagues.

Dillhyon said PAL is in the process of developing a youth leadership program, but has no set mentoring approach except that "the standard guideline is to bring cops and kids together."

The plan is pretty basic, according to Dillhyon: Divide up the grant among 150 PAL programs around the country so each can pay a mentoring coordinator. It is definitely an unscientific proposal when compared with programs that have an established standard for mentoring, but obviously scores high on the "creating jobs" count. 

2009 Appropriations Grants

*Home Builders Institute, Washington, D.C. ($9,949,890)

HBI, the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders, plans to provide 2,000 mentors for about 5,000 youth, according to Dennis Torbett, who is HBI's vice president of workforce training and employment. Torbett will run point on the mentoring project,  but will hire a project manager to assist him.

HBI will use its membership as a pool of potential mentors, and that is an exciting prospect. The membership is comprised largely of contractors, builders and real estate professionals, the kind of people that could be a friend to a youth and connect them to the job world.

As for youth that HBI will target, Torbett named three populations it hopes to pull from: youth graduating from Job Corps, youth referred from juvenile justice agencies with which HBI has partnerships, and youth participating in HBI's Project CRAFT (Community, Restitution and Apprenticeship-focused Training). CRAFT, which provides entry-level job training and placement in the construction trades, received some financial support from DOJ in 2004 was seeded by a grant from the Department of Labor in 1994. 

HBI also has student chapters at some two- and four-year colleges that offer construction management degrees, and Torbett said he will use some of the grant to set up peer mentoring for those chapters.

*The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, D.C. ($9,093,440)

Eisenhower has received money from DOJ for years, much of it for general support or its Youth Safe Haven program. It is pretty interesting that the organization pulled this award. Eisenhower, which is almost entirely funded by government money, is in a bad way financially and has shed staff this year. This grant amounts to three times the organization's revenue for fiscal 2008.

The plan at Eisenhower is to replicate its two mentoring-based models - Safe Haven and Quantum Opportunities Program (QOP) - at nonprofit partners around the country. Safe Haven operates out of police mini-stations and trains young police officers to mentor youth, and Quantum is a pricy but highly effective high-school dropout prevention program that uses one-on-one mentors and computer-based online learning, which Youth Today profiled in 2003.

What sets Eisenhower programs apart from fellow mentoring grant winners, Curtis tells JJ Today, is the strength and rigor of its evaluation process. Eisenhower conducts evaluations of its sites personally, and regularly updates sites with analysis.

"It's not just for some professor or academic exercise," Curtis said. "It's a management tool."

Curtis said he is not ready to finalize Eisenhower's list of replication partners yet, but expects to do so soon.

*YouthBuild USA, Somerville, Mass. ($8,840,914)

Everything is coming up YouthBuild this year, after some tortuous fiscal times as the federal program moved from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Department of Labor. This is the first grant YouthBuild USA, the national organization which helps train and build YouthBuild sites, has ever received from OJJDP (though local YouthBuild sites have successfully sought their own Justice grants in the past).

YouthBuild plans to develop mentoring programs at 40 sites and give each $150,000 over three years to carry them out. Adults that are already involved with the YouthBuild process - GED teachers, AmeriCorps members, construction workers - will be tapped as potential mentors. In addition, 50 other YouthBuild sites will receive basic training on how to develop a mentoring program, which one would think will make them competitive for OJJDP local mentoring grants down the line.

YouthBuild USA will likely contract with Northwest Regional Educational Lab in Portland, Ore., to train its sites on mentoring.

*Young Men's Christian Association, San Francisco, Calif. ($7,129,327)

YMCA San Francisco Vice President Chip Rich tells us the plan is to replicate its 16-year-old mentoring model at 30 YMCA sites located in six regions: San Francisco, Oakland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Phoenix and Nashville.

"Mentoring was not the hot topic it is now when we started this in San Francisco," Rich said. "We'll actually be starting mentoring programs in a lot of these sites," as opposed to building on existing ones.

The model is pretty racy, actually. Mentors are recruited to work one-on-one with youth who present with any number of risk factors including substance abuse, locked up parents or involvement with the juvenile system.

Rich (who is a licensed psychologist) and a group of mental health professionals train the volunteer mentors to serve as "lay therapists" for the youths.

Does YMCA San Francisco raise some eyebrows by having volunteers playing therapist to some extent?

"Yeah," Rich said. "We started with the notion that the most important thing with young people is [building] the relationships. It doesn't take six years of grad school to learn how to form that." Also, the mentoring program is not used for youths with serious drug addictions or with stress disorders.

*The Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, D.C. ($3,496,766)

The institute, which is led by President Marty Blank, will establish the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) in 12 sites around the country; three state-level projects, nine in local communities.

Curtis Richards, who directs the institute's Center for Workforce Development, said the program will use its existing mentoring models - which include peer-to-peer, one-on-one and e-mentoring formats - to work with young people with disabilities (learning or behavioral). That is appropriate for this grant, Richards explains, "60 to 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a disability."

The RAMP programs will carry a particular focus on connecting youth to employment, especially "high-tech related jobs," Richards said.

The institute will work with the following sites on RAMP:

Florida High School/High Tech, Tallahassee, Fla.

Start on Success, Baltimore


Start on Success, Los Angeles

High School/High Tech UCP of Greater Houston

Peckham, Inc., Lansing, Mich.

Employment Works, Denver

Vermont Department of Labor, Montpelier, Vt.

*Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Inc., Lenexa, Kan. ($3,251,170)

No information yet, and we will be very interested to hear what this organization intends to do. It lists dozens of projects around the world on its website, but according to tax returns takes in between $6 million and $7 million each year. Its only listed North American venture is the U.S. Floods Project, for which there is no information except instructions on how to donate.

UPDATE: An e-mail and phone conversation with Miles Zinn, who oversees grants and projects for Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, provided some clarity regarding the organization and its plans for the mentoring money. NCM is an intermediary, Zinn explained, and its involvement in domestic projects amounts to assisting a network of what it calls 178 compassion ministry centers (CMCs) around the country. Some of those centers are ministries, directly tied to churches, others are stand-alone faith-based groups, and some are secular social service agencies.

"When this opportunity came up, we convened our interested sites and chose ones that could do the work," Zinn said. "We don't have one [mentoring] model per se, each type of site is unique."

The plan, according to Zinn: "implementing CMCs will receive extensive capacity building, training, and technical assistance to refine and expand existing mentoring services across a range of mentoring models and funds to implement best practices for both the mentoring model and documentation of outcomes. Seven additional CMCs will receive planning and capacity building services and limited funding to support technical assistance needs to select and implement best practices."

The implementing CMCs:

Bronx Bethany Community Corporation  -  Bronx, N.Y.

Community of Hope - Washington, D.C.

Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center - Matapan, Mass.

Inspire Ministries - Pueblo, Colo.

Kansas City Urban Youth Center - Kansas City, Mo.

Lower Lights - Columbus, Ohio

P.F. Bresee Foundation Community Center - Los Angeles

Shepherd Community - Indianapolis

Sunset Youth Services - San Francisco

Youth Excitement Team - Meridian, Miss.

Start-up CMCs:

The Caleb Center - Phoenix, Ariz.

Our Family Center - Hammond, Ind.

Miami Bethany Community Services - Miami, Fla.

Lifespring Community Development Foundation - Chesterfield, Va.

Royersford Outreach - Royersford, Penn.

Anacostia Gracious Arts - Washington, D.C.

Memphis New Life Holiness - Memphis, Tenn.

*The Experience Corps, Washington, D.C. ($2,762,022)

CEO Lester Strong reports that he will use its grant for projects in five of its 22 locations: Boston, New York, Cleveland, Tucson, Ariz., and the Bay Area.

The corps is decidedly on the delinquency prevention side of things: it focuses on youth who are in kindergarten through third grade, and uses mentors above the age of 55

How does this fit into a JJ perspective? Experience Corps mentors also tutor children in reading, Strong explained, and failure to develop reading skills by fourth grade is a precursor to juvenile justice involvement.


  • Dr. Edward Pabon

    What is most upsetting about the recent funding outcomes is that there appears to be no differences in Who receives grants between the Ohama adminstration and Bush Administration. Rather than quality, you are seeing Politics and the same old organizations. It is quite disheartening to see the issues as to funding plans of recent grantees.

  • John Ervin

    I garee with Dr. Pabon.  The larger, more politically connected organizations continue garner the mentoring funding regardless of level of successful outcomes or lack thereof.  While the smaller organizations, that are just as successfull and in some respects more successfull continue to struggle to get the funding they need.  It is hard to compete with large organizations that have top-dollar grant writers and trhe political and wealthy elite on their board of directors or as advocates.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a former Boys & Girls Club and YMCA volunteer and that many of their programs are successful, but they should be partnering with smaller successful organizations that do not have the type of resources they have.  The Obama administration should establish a mentor/protege program like they have with large corporations and small businesses. This strategy has the ability to have an even playing for all who positively impact the lives of our youth, just as it has for small businesses.

  • Eddie Kerney, Ph.D

    I agree with Dr. Pabon.Small organizations can not compete with National organizations that have access to people who have more clout and  financial backing, but small organizations tend to do just as well and in some cases better with implementing programs. I am very disappointed in the way that the funding was distributed.