Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,500,000)
Founded in 1981, the I Have A Dream Foundation (IHDF) works to ensure that all children have equal access to the educational, mentorship, and career opportunities to assure they graduate from high school, pursue and complete higher education and fulfill their innate potential. IHDF serves as the umbrella organization for its 14 affiliates. IHDF is unique in that it makes a 16-year commitment to youth born into poverty, which allows IHDF staff to develop deep trust with the youth and his/her family and truly understand their needs. IHDF’s proposed project, Inspire the Dream seeks to enhance its program by making mentoring a standard part of the services that youth can receive. IHDF larger affiliates have offered robust mentoring programs for 20 years; however, many of its smaller and new affiliates have not yet begun to provide mentoring. To expand and offer all youth this opportunity, Inspire the Dream will systemize four mentoring strategies (community-based, school-based, peer and group mentoring) according to the most recent research and best practices, so it becomes a program that all IHDF affiliates implement with the youth they serve. By incorporating mentoring, IHDF will provide an additional resource to help young people receive individualized guidance and build social-emotional, academic and self-advocacy skills that are necessary for each to achieve his/her dreams. To build and refine IHDF mentoring model over the course of this 36-month grant, Inspire the Dream will serve 942 low-income youth, primarily youth of color, in elementary, middle and high school who receive services from nine IHDF affiliates in nine states (California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, and Wisconsin) five affiliates in Year 1 (Los Angeles, CA; Boulder, CO; Hailey, ID; Newark, NJ; and New York City, NY), three additional affiliates beginning in Year 2 (Dallas, TX; Miami; FL; and Milwaukee, WI) and one additional affiliate in Year 3 (Cherokee Nation, OK).These affiliates were selected to participate because they serve different ages (elementary, middle and high school students) and geographic areas (rural, urban, tribal lands) and vary in the number of youth served. The variety in locations will allow IHDF time to refine its mentoring model during the grant period so it is prepared to deliver mentoring across all of its active and growing affiliates after the conclusion of the grant.