Seedling Foundation

Mentor Nurture Grow

aka Seedling, Seedling Mentor Program   |   Austin, TX   |


Seedling's mission is to mitigate the impact of parental incarceration on children in Central Texas through school based mentoring.

Notes from the nonprofit

In 2017-18, Seedling volunteer mentors contributed an additional $352,106 of value in program services to children. Seedling relies on volunteers for a large portion of its services. The time given by volunteers is not reflected on non-profit financial statements therefore not justly reflecting the percentage of our program services devoted by the organization compared to fundraising and administration.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Dan Leal

Main address

8001 Centre Park Drive Suite 140

Austin, TX 78754 USA

Show more contact info



NTEE code info

Urban, Community (S31)

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

A report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that the trauma of being separated from a parent due to incarceration can increase the likelihood of a child experiencing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and can hamper academic achievement (A Shared Sentence, 2016). We know that mentoring can be an effective and impactful intervention for at-risk children and was therefore the chosen method in 2005 when Austin ISD school principals requested help from Seedling for attendance and disciplinary challenges faced by this underserved population of youth. Incarceration is categorized as a Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) which are stressful or traumatic events that are linked to a wide range of health and behavior problems over a person’s lifespan. These children not only grieve the loss of their parent, but experience a combination of trauma and shame that if ignored can create a trajectory for poor life outcomes. Need: 8000 cihldren in Central Texas. .

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?

Seedling Mentor Program

School-based Mentoring Program for Children with Incarcerated Parents in Central Texas.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Scholarships for 8th grade students held in promise for their post high school education. Scholarships of $5,000 given as available each year. Last year, 5 scholarships were given but more applications were submitted than we could fund.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Best Charities Seal of Excellence 2009

Independent Charities of America

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children who have an incarcerated parent who have been matched with a Seedling mentor during the 2022-2023 school year.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Seedling Mentor Program

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


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.

The goal of our program is for 100% of students served by Seedling to build resiliency and achieve the protective factor of a close, sustained mentoring relationship with a caring, adult role model. Our Mentor Program increases social-emotional learning and promotes positive attitudes toward school through innovative, research-driven, school-based mentoring. Through a cost-effective model of partnering with school personnel, the program implements nationally recommended standards around mentor training, mentor/mentee monitoring, and support to achieve the two hallmarks of quality mentoring: relationship closeness and match longevity.
In 2016-2017, Seedling served 591 children across 116 schools in central Texas. According to our 2016-2017 independent program evaluation, 93% of Seedling mentees rated their relationships as “close” and 83% of mentees experienced postiive dscipline outcomes in school. Mentees also rated even with a similar population group academically.

New mentors are recruited through businesses or self referral, screened, and undergo a comprehensive background check. New mentors receive a 2.75 hour mandatory orientation designed and facilitated by Seedling using the most current research around mentoring best practices. The volunteer meets with the child one day a week at school, during lunchtime, during the academic school year. During these one-to-one visits, the mentor serves as a good listener, a sounding board, and a nonjudgmental friend. The time may be spent allowing the child freedom to read, play games, complete craft activities, or engage in conversation, according to the child’s choice. The talk may be about commonplace matters, about current events, or about school, social or family problems the child is facing including those that may result from the shame and stigma they feel. Through these visits, mentors are helping the student identify and nurture strengths and to develop their own goals and aspirational thinking.

Seedling Foundation was founded in 1998 to provide support for Austin ISD. The Seedling Mentor Program was launched in 2006 in Austin ISD in response to requests by school principals concerned with the unique needs of the growing population of children in their schools with a parent in prison and the lack of support services available to help. Seedling now focuses on providing children impacted by parental incarceration with research-based practices proven to positively affect their life outcomes. Seedling's professoinal staff averges 21 years of experience in youth service delivery. The Executive Director has over 24 years of not for profit management experience. Seedling is widely recognized by state and national mentoring organizations for its model, research based approach. Seedling features partnership with CIty of Austin, Travis County, Hays County and several state organizations which view Seedling as a solid, reputable organization.

Annually, Seedling contracts an evaluation of the Seedling Mentor Program. The purpose of the evaluation is to identify program areas of strength and challenge and to use the results for ongoing program development.
The program evaluation is designed to determine whether the Seedling Mentor Program met expected outcomes related to three major program objectives:
1. The Seedling Mentor Program will implement structures and employ strategies to provide mentees with positive, close relationships with nurturing and competent adult.
2. Seedling mentees will experience positive changes in resilience, self-regulation skills, self-efficacy, and school connectedness.
3. Seedling mentees will experience academic outcomes (e.g., attendance, discipline and STAAR results) similar to or better than those of similar non-participants.

Next is a plan to grow the mentoring program to serve 1000 children by the 2022-23 school year, add schools, and provide increased opportunities for older children.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


Seedling Foundation

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Seedling Foundation

Board of directors
as of 01/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

President Gerry Tucker

Retired Austin Community College

Term: 2021 - 2023

Reggie Mahadeo

Farmers Insurance

Gerry Tucker

Austin Community College

Monica deLeon

Cisco Systems

Jessie Metcalf


Darlene Owens


Siri Chakka

Rig Up

Mike Personett

Halff Associates

Cathy Beans

Dell Technologies

Mark Beavers

Cybersecurity Consultant

Michael Dominguez

CDW Technology Solutions

Duane Ewing


Danica Ferrell

Whole Foods Market

Molly MacNeil

Safeguard Global

Jennifer Findley Murphy

Center for Child Protection

Dan Pickett


Matt Shook

Owner, JuiceLand

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/28/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/19/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.