AFFINITY MENTORING

Learning and Growing Together

Grand Rapids, MI   |  http://affinitymentoring.org

Mission

Our Mission is to facilitate equitable growth in academics, social emotional skills, and self-esteem through mutually beneficial mentoring relationships. We believe in cultivating a brave space that amplifies the voices of young agents of change in a diverse and inclusive community. Our vision is to be a leading nonprofit for fostering belonging alongside young people, families, and community.

Ruling year info

2016

Executive Director

Cassandra Kiger

Main address

818 Butterworth Ave SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49504 USA

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EIN

81-2395117

NTEE code info

Adult, Child Matching Programs (O30)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We focus on addressing educational inequities in order to interrupt the cycle of poverty. We understand the need for a collaborative approach, because these challenges are often systemic and no one person or organization can change it. Research shows that 71% of 4th graders in Michigan are not proficient in reading, 53% of kids in Kent County don’t have anyone with whom they can talk to about important things, more than 75% of students in our service area are economically disadvantaged and nearly 14% are chronically absent. Children are our future – and they are struggling. Which is why we are working to solve these problems – one mentoring match at a time. Our goal is to build capacity to meet the growing demand for vital holistic (socio-emotional, recreational, and educational) support to more youth and schools. We envision a community where every student has the 5-7 caring supportive adults to help improve academics, social emotional skills, and self-esteem.

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?

Burton School [Burton Elementary and Middle Schools]

Students are matched with a caring adult mentor who meets with them for an hour week at school. The mentor match is supported by highly qualified program staff who pour time and energy into building strong relationships with the school administration and teachers. As a critical community/school partner, Affinity staff and mentors are routinely invited to work closely and proactively in at-risk students’ support teams. This expertise leads to greater retention rates among mentor matches and greater outcomes for youth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Students are matched with a caring adult mentor who meets with them for an hour week at school. The mentor match is supported by highly qualified program staff who pour time and energy into building strong relationships with the school administration and teachers. As a critical community/school partner, Affinity staff and mentors are routinely invited to work closely and proactively in at-risk students’ support teams. This expertise leads to greater retention rates among mentor matches and greater outcomes for youth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Students are matched with a caring adult mentor who meets with them for an hour week at school. The mentor match is supported by highly qualified program staff who pour time and energy into building strong relationships with the school administration and teachers. As a critical community/school partner, Affinity staff and mentors are routinely invited to work closely and proactively in at-risk students’ support teams. This expertise leads to greater retention rates among mentor matches and greater outcomes for youth.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

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.

We match youth in vulnerable circumstances with a caring adult mentor (more than 84% of our students are economically disadvantaged). The goal is for mentors to be a role model, tutor, career coach, and friend. Mentors and program staff work together with teachers and administrative staff to improve students' literacy skills, social emotional learning, career exploration, leadership skills, attendance, and academic achievement.

We address the opportunity gap by serving schools that have high populations of underrepresented, underserved, and economically disadvantaged populations (+84% of our students are economically disadvantaged). The goal is for mentors to be a role model, tutor, and friend. Mentors and staff work together with teachers and administrative staff to improve social emotional learning, leadership skills, attendance, and academic achievement with the ultimate goal of interrupting the cycle of poverty.

We believe in providing quality, accessible education for all students. Affinity believes that high quality, long-term mentoring relationships are an avenue through which youth can have the additional necessary support achieve their full potential and break the cycle of poverty. Mentors are trained and supported by onsite and bilingual staff to serve as an extension of the classroom. Our vision is that every student has a caring adult mentor to help improve academics, social-emotional skills, career exposure, and self-esteem.

Currently we partner with three Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and are opening a 4th site (Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center) in Fall 2019. Through these partnerships, we provide one-on-one academic and social-emotional support for over 250 students. We meet students where they are at, whether that’s focusing on literacy, math, career pathways, social skills, or leadership it’s up to the students and their mentor. For one hour each week, these mentor matches meet in a dedicated classroom [Mentor Center] to read, play games, do homework, and develop their socio-emotional skills. Through this meaningful relationship, youth are given the supportOur model is unique, we partner with organizations, schools, corporations, and individuals to provide high quality, culturally responsive mentoring to school-age children. A few of our partners include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Erhardt Construction, Gordon Food Service, Herman Miller Cares, Steelcase Foundation, Wege Foundation, and Mindscape. We dedicate our time and resources to improving the educational system and outcomes in Kent County through weekly, school-based mentoring.

We have 17 years of mentoring experience. Over the years, we have found that overall people value and are passionate about mentoring. Feedback showed an appreciation for high-quality mentoring that connects the school, community, mentors, and program. We recognized that the relationship between the mentor and student is an important component but cannot be a catalyst for change without other strategic support for mentorship. We have focused on building mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations, businesses, and schools to strengthen our program.

Our progress:
1) Record number of 244 matches with 95% match retention (one school year)
2) Increase in mentor diversity 3% to 11% (Fall 2016 - Fall 2018)
3) Data sharing agreement with Grand Rapids Public Schools allowing for more thorough outcome evaluation
4) Increase in community partnerships from 4 to 20 (since 2016)
5) Diversified funding (from 100% grant funding to 5 difference types of revenue streams)

Financials

AFFINITY MENTORING
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • 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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AFFINITY MENTORING

Board of directors
as of 3/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. John Robinson

Head Start

Term: 2019 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mr. Adam Russo

COM 616

Term: 2019 - 2022

John Robinson

Educator

Veronica Bradofrom

Spectrum Health

Jason Loepp

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Abigail Bruins

Grand Rapids Parks

Adam Russo

Com 616

Marcia Boyce

Finance Lawyer

Christine Mwangi

Kent District Library

Ben Borisch

DWH & Growth Distilled

Jatnna Abreu

Amway

Mia Jankowiak

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/02/2021

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data