ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston

Wakefield, MA   |


To engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in ARCHITECTURE, CONSTRUCTION, & ENGINEERING through mentoring, and to support their continued advancement in the industry

Ruling year info



Ms Casey Williams

Main address

1 Pleasure Island Rd Ste 2a

Wakefield, MA 01880 USA

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Formerly known as

ACE Mentor Program of Massachusetts



NTEE code info

Business, Youth Development (O53)

Employment Training (J22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The building industry has been important to the growth and stability of Boston’s economy, and a primary source of income for families. Nationally, post-secondary graduates with architecture, construction and engineering degrees are well compensated, with an average salary of $85K. With that said, these industries are among the least diverse, by both gender and race. For example, of nation-wide construction management graduates, 77% of them identify as white, and 88% are men. By contrast, 77% of ACE students are people of color, and 35% are girls. ACE Greater Boston seeks to introduce those students to these exciting careers, prepare them for college study in those fields via project-based learning and mentorship, and support students in their advancement in the industries.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston

ACE is a free program for high school students to learn about careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston is an affiliate of ACE Mentor Program of America.

ACE Mentor students design project with their mentors and have the opportunity to earn scholarships for college studies in the A/C/E fields (or trade school). For the 2020-2021 school year, ACE will operate remotely, with online meetings, for public health.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ACE Greater Boston works to increase racial and gender diversity in the professions of architecture, construction, and engineering and to open doors for low-income students. ACE engages, excites, and enlightens high school students about opportunities in these fields; provides them with a free after-school program that includes hands-on design experience; fosters strong relationships with trusted mentors; and provides internship and scholarship opportunities.

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston (ACE), an affiliate of ACE Mentor Program of America, was founded in 2007. Last year, 97 students completed our free after school programs at five sites, and we awarded college scholarships to 31 graduating seniors totaling $152,000. The students come from local schools, with the majority coming from Boston Public Schools. 83% of the students are people of color (35% Black/African-American, 18% Hispanic, 24% Asian, 2% biracial/multiracial, 6% other, 16% white). 38% are female. In 2018, ACE National started asking whether a student is eligible for free lunch, which is a marker for families living in poverty or just above the poverty line. Among ACE of Greater Boston students who answered the question since then, 68% were income-eligible for free lunch (101/149). Other diversity measures include: 94% of ACE students attend public high schools or charter schools, with 55% attending Boston Public Schools.

Nationally, ACE alumni students report that the program prepared them for their studies and to enter the field. Despite being more likely to be low-income, ACE students persist in engineering and architecture college majors at a higher rate than their peers (86% versus 59% who begin declaring in those majors graduating with degrees).
Local data also reflects the national survey data. In a recent national survey of ACE alumni, 94% of the alumni of the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston felt that participating in the program left them better prepared than their peers for college studies. 41% of alumni have been in regular or occasional contact with their mentors after they graduated high school.

Nationally, the percentages of African-American and Hispanic ACE alumni entering college as architecture and engineering majors and of female engineer majors is double the national rates. While nationally only 18% of students starting college in mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering are women, 32% of ACE students entering college in those fields are women. Similarly, only 12% overall of first-year college students studying in those fields are Hispanic, compared with 25% of ACE students entering college to study in those fields. The figures for African-American and Black students are 6% overall versus 17% of ACE seniors.

ACE Greater Boston hopes to bring this award-winning mentorship program to more students and to add key components to support their success.

ACE Greater Boston is currently undergoing a strategic planning process. Our board has adopted our four major goals for the next three years:
1 - Diversify and increase fundraising
ACE has a successful annual event, which was virtual this year, which raises approximately $200,000 for scholarships annually. We also have received our first grant funding from the Cummings Foundation in 2019 and 2020 We intend to expand and diversify our fundraising efforts through an individual donor annual appeal, a major donor program, and grants writing, while redoubling efforts for event fundraising.
2 - Sustainable growth
ACE intends to increase the numbers of students, mentors, funding, and program sites in a sustainable manner.
3 - Create an alumni network and engagement program
ACE will work to ensure that our alumni, who are currently ages 18-30, can continue to benefit from mentorship and receive support in their career development.
4 - Board and mentor diversification (racial & gender)
ACE Greater Boston will work to create a board and mentor pool that reflects the students we serve.

We have drafted measures of success and action steps for each of these goals, and the committee is currently working with the chairs of the various board subcommittees to further break these goals into actionable subaction steps for implementation. The full plan will be adopted in March 2021 and will guide our work for the following 3 years.

ACE Greater Boston has a strong, working Board of Directors that is committed to our students and to the program viability. The Board draws from architecture, construction, and engineering firms around the Greater Boston area, including Boylston Properties, Turner Construction Company, Shawmut; SMMA, SGH, Consigli, Limbach, Gilbane, Activitas, Gensler, Perkins + Will, Finegold Alexander, EM Duggan, Cranshaw, DPR Contraction, and more. The Board’s active committees include strategic planning; program, curriculum, and operations (now adding virtual learning); student outreach; finance and audit; fundraising; marketing; mentor; alumni; and scholarships. ACE also has our first staff person, Executive Director Jennifer Fries, hired in December 2019. Fries brings extensive experience in non-profit management, fundraising, and youth programming. She earned her Master in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, and she has more than 25 years of experience in the field.

ACE Greater Boston's resiliency and capacity is shown by our response to COVID:
1 - Program - The organization convened its programming and school outreach committees to re-design the program and student recruitment during the summer of 2020, shifting to a remote learning model. More students registered than ever before, including cohorts from Chelsea and Worcester who had previously been shut out due to the lack of a program site in their cities. Currently, ACE has more than 170 students attending, split into five remote teams. We are mailing packages of tools and supplies home to students, a major effort that ensures that students are not hampered by their inability to buy these items, and that all students can do hands-on learning.
2- ACE Greater Boston also pivoted to an online fundraising campaign when our May 2020 event was canceled. The campaign raised $198,000 through a dedicated team of volunteer fundraisers and secure online giving platform.

Our fundraising and student recruitment success this year were the result of strategic, dedicated effort by a team of volunteers, and the support of our one staff person, the Executive Director. ACE's volunteers believe strongly in our mission, and most of them have served as mentors themselves. We are well-positioned to succeed in our strategic plan and thus to help more students to fulfill their capacity and their dreams for careers in these fields.

* Since ACE Greater Boston (ACE) was founded in 2007, we have awarded more than $747,000 in college scholarships to more than 100 graduates of our program.
* Several ACE Greater Boston mentors have won accolades from the national organization, ACE Mentor Program of America, as top mentors nationwide.
* In total, 231 students have completed the full year program, including 115 last year.
* The program has grown from one site to five sites.
* We have hired our first Executive Director.
* ACE has re-designed the program for remote learning due to COVID and has 170 students participating in the 2020-2021 school year.
* ACE raised $198,000 through a virtual fundraising campaign for scholarships for the class of 2021, after our May 2020 fundraising event was canceled.
* ACE achieved most of its goals from its 2018 strategic plan and is currently drafting a new strategic plan for 2021-2023.


ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston

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ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston

Board of directors
as of 12/7/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Casey Williams

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH)

Term: 2019 - 2021

Casey Williams

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Alejandro Miranda

Boylston Properties

Alison Stanton

Turner Construction

Bill Pisani


Brian Postlewaite

City of Somerville

Brian Lawlor


Brooke Quinn


Chris Previte

EJ Callahan and Associates

Dave Cullinane


Dennis Sacco


Elena Farjado


Erik Miller

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Ezgi Kosereisoglu


Holly Ganser

Borrego Solar

Ian Doherty


Jennifer Williams

Perkins + Will

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/07/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

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Sexual orientation

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