iMentor partners with high schools in low-income communities to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in college. The organization implements high-dosage, in-school programming across entire 11th and 12th grade classes, 1:1 mentoring that extends into college, and a remote post-secondary program that tailors supports based on students’ pathways.
Why We Invested
iMentor works to change the odds for every 11th and 12th grade student in its partner schools, providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to access and succeed in college. Despite progress in the last decade, most Chicago Public School (CPS) graduates do not earn a college degree. Based on recent data, 63 percent of CPS high school graduates enroll in college, but only 46 percent of enrollees ultimately graduate. By serving all students in a given grade and integrating within the school-day, iMentor Chicago (iMC) is changing the path to and through college. The organization’s most recent class of high school graduates enrolled in college at a rate of 72 percent , nearly a 10-percentage point increase compared to a similar set of students not in the program. In addition to promising results, iMentor Chicago welcomed Jason Friedman as the executive director in 2018 who brought a wealth of experience aligned to the organization’s needs.
iMentor Chicago (iMC) has scaled from serving about 600 students in 2017 to serving more than 1,600 in 2020. College persistence of iMC high school graduates continues to outpace the comparable benchmark, and the organization is committed to strengthening its post-secondary programming. With strong leadership, successful fundraising and operations, and a history of successful scale, iMentor Chicago is on track towards its goals of continued growth and success in Chicago.
- Board strategy: iMentor Chicago (iMC) participated in a board strategy project to clearly outline roles and responsibilities for its regional board and develop a plan for growth in the coming years. The organization worked with Appreciative Solutions Group to support this work and A Better Chicago covered 75 percent of costs.
- Fundraising strategy: iMC worked with Prosper Strategies to craft strategies for sharing the organization’s vision with key stakeholders. A Better Chicago covered 75 percent of fees for this project.