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Federal Partners

Drawing on the vast expertise, resources and influence of federal agencies, the Federal Mentoring Council works in partnership with high-ranking government representatives to develop, implement and strengthen youth mentoring programs, including:

Corporation for National and Community Service

Focused on improving lives, strengthening communities and fostering civic engagement through service and volunteerism, the Corporation provides opportunities for all Americans to serve their country and communities primarily through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs — totaling about 200 million service hours each year. Mentoring is a central focus area for the Corporation and a key element of the Strategic Plan to the Ensuring a Brighter Future for America’s Youth initiative that sparked the founding of the Federal Mentoring Council.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The mission of the USDA is to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science and efficient management.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Congress created NIFA through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. NIFA replaced the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. NIFA's unique mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. NIFA doesn't perform actual research, education, and extension but rather helps fund it at the state and local level and provides program leadership in these areas.

The 4-H National Headquarters, the largest youth organization in the country, is housed in NIFA, USDA. 4-H National Headquarters seeks to promote positive youth development, facilitate learning and engage youth in the work of the land-grant universities and USDA to enhance their quality of life. Nearly 6 million youth, ages 5-19, participate in 4-H youth development experiences in all 50 states, territories and military installations worldwide. More information is available at

Structured, formal mentoring and informal mentoring is a key component of the 4-H youth development program. One of the essential elements of 4-H is the development of long-term, consistent relationships with caring non-parental adults. These relationships may be one-on-one relationships or group mentoring in which caring adult volunteers mentor a 4-H community club. For more information about outstanding 4-H mentoring programs, please visit and type in the key word “mentoring.

Through an annual Congressional appropriation for the National Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program, NIFA allocates funding to land-grant university extension services for community-based programs for at-risk children and their families. Since 1991, CYFAR has supported programs in more than 600 communities in all states and territories. State and local public and private organizations have contributed cash and in-kind resources that match or exceed the federal appropriation.

The CYFAR Program is based on research on effective programs for at-risk youth and families and on the human ecological principle of working across the lifespan in the context of the family and community. To assure that critical needs of children and families are met, CYFAR supports comprehensive, intensive, community-based programs developed with active citizen participation in all phases. CYFAR promotes building resiliency and protective factors in youth, families, and communities.

CYFAR supports collaboration--forming lasting partnerships to achieve greater outcomes and to provide a support base for sustaining programs for those at risk. CYFAR also promotes the use of technology to improve programs, provide efficient access to educational resources, and provide essential technological skills for youth and adults in at-risk environments.

U.S. Department of Defense

National Guard Youth Challenge Program

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program was authorized by Congress in
1993 as a pilot program, designed to intervene in and reclaim the lives of at-risk youth who are unemployed, drug-free and law-free high-school dropouts, 16 to 18 years of age. The program goal is to produce graduates with the values, skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as adults. It begins a 22-week Residential Phase, which includes the Pre-ChalleNGe Phase, and is followed by a yearlong mentoring relationship with a specially trained member from each youth's community.

Department of Defense STARBASE Program

DoD STARBASE Program, authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2193b, as a science and mathematics education improvement program, is a program that provides students with real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and math through experiential learning, simulations, and experiments. The program utilizes instruction modules that integrate the national standards for science, technology, engineering, and math.  Teamwork and goal setting are also integrated into the curriculum.

Students and teachers attend the STARBASE school year program for 4 or 5 complete days. During the school year, these days are spread over 4 or 5 weeks and teachers use STARBASE-generated material to reinforce learning during regular school days. In addition to written materials, facilities, simulators, and trainers are made available to the students.

DoD STARBASE 2.0 has a unique program design, incorporating elements of team mentoring, school-based mentoring, and afterschool programming.  With the goal to extend the positive impact of STARBASE through a team mentoring approach which solidifies students' attachment to and engagement with STEM-based education and experienced professionals.

STARBASE 2.0 provides one of the markers on the path - an opportunity for middle school students to continue their journey out of an "at-risk" situation toward further awareness, opportunity, and achievement. The vision of DoD STARBASE is to raise the interest and improve the knowledge and skills of at-risk youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, providing for a highly educated and skilled American workforce that can meet the advanced technological requirements of the Department of Defense. STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment to provide the missing link for at-risk youth making the transition from elementary to middle school. It extends the positive impact of STARBASE through a team mentoring approach which solidifies students' attachment to and engagement with school.

Office of Military Community & Family Policy

The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for programs and policies which establish and support community quality of life programs for service members and their families worldwide. This office also serves as the focal point for coordination of the broad range of Quality of Life issues within the Department of Defense. Specifically, the Deputate performs the following functions:

  • Provides for family support policies and programs in such areas as family center operations, child care , youth programs , family advocacy, relocation , transition support services, and support during mobilization and deployment (including casualty affairs).
  • Provides policy and management direction for dependents' education programs stateside and overseas to ensure that educational services are of uniformly high quality.
  • Establishes program policy for mission sustaining and basic community programs for Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Voluntary and Post-Secondary Education and coordinates the services of non-profit agencies such as the Red Cross, Armed Services YMCA and the USO.
  • Provides policy and program oversight to ensure that military community quality of life programs are designed and executed to support the needs of the post-drawdown force and the Defense mission.
  • Coordinates DoD oversight of the Armed Forces Retirement Home Board.

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education's (ED) mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Mentoring is an allowable activity in several ED programs including: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), Smaller Learning Communities, Safe Schools/Healthy Students, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) advises the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on policy development in health, disability, human services, data, and science, and provides advice and analysis on economic policy. ASPE leads special initiatives, coordinates the Department's evaluation, research and demonstration activities, and manages cross-Department planning activities such as strategic planning, legislative planning, and review of regulations. Integral to this role, ASPE conducts research and evaluation studies, develops policy analyses, and estimates the cost and benefits of policy alternatives under consideration by the Department or Congress. ASPE also chairs the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, a collaboration of twelve federal departments and agencies that serve youth. The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs produces the website on youth,, which provides high quality resources and technical assistance related to youth programming.

Administration for Children and Families

The Administration for Children and Families (AFC) fulfills its mission to promote the economic and social welfare of families, children, individuals and communities. The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) supports the ACF mission by providing national leadership on family and youth issues. In September 2003, FYSB began administering the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program by providing grants to community and faith-based organizations, local and state agencies, and Tribal entities; grants awarded on a competitive process to provide mentoring services directly and in collaboration with other local agencies to support children of incarcerated parents and their families. Currently, more than 190 grantees are operating under this program, including one administering a voucher demonstration project.

Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)

FYSB's mission is to provide national leadership on youth and family issues. The Bureau promotes positive outcomes for children, youth, and families by supporting a wide range of comprehensive services and collaborations at the local, Tribal, State, and national levels. The goals of FYSB programs are to provide positive alternatives for youth, ensure their safety, and maximize their potential to take advantage of available opportunities.

Through the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program, FYSB awards grants to community organizations that provide children and youth of incarcerated parents with mentors. Each mentoring program is designed to ensure that mentors provide young people with safe and trusting relationships; healthy messages about life and social behavior; appropriate guidance from a positive adult role model; and opportunities for increased participation in education, civic service, and community activities.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Building resilience and facilitating recovery, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established a clear vision for its work — a life in the community for everyone. To realize this vision, the Agency has sharply focused its mission on building resilience and facilitating recovery for people with or at risk for mental or substance use disorders. SAMHSA is gearing all of its resources — programs, policies and grants — toward that outcome.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships--particularly with faith-based and community organizations--that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level. Youth mentoring programs at HUD are incorporated as community support strategies within Block Grant programs to States and local housing authorities.

Community Development Block Grant

The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities and to create jobs through creating opportunities for businesses. CDBG is important in helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities, and has made a difference in the lives of millions of people across the nation.

Initiative for Renewal Communities and Urban Empowerment Zones

HUD re-energized this initiative in December 2001 by designating 40 urban and rural Renewal Communities and 8 new urban Empowerment Zones.

The administrative leaders of each Renewal Community and Empowerment Zone work closely also with government, business, and local community representatives to implement strategic plans and courses of action to improve social and economic conditions throughout the designated areas.

Hope VI programs

The HOPE VI Program was developed as a result of recommendations by National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which was charged with proposing a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed public housing.

The Commission recommended revitalization in three general areas: physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services to address resident needs.

U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims.

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

BJA provides leadership and assistance for local criminal justice programs to improve and reinforce the nation‘s criminal justice system. Its goals are to reduce and prevent crime, violence and drug abuse, while improving the way in which the criminal justice system functions. Accordingly, BJA programs illustrate the coordination and cooperation of local, state, and federal governments. BJA works closely with programs that bolster law enforcement operations, expand drug courts, and provide benefits to public safety officers. BJA has responsibility for managing grant programs funded under the Second Chance Act. Section 211 of the Act provides funding to non-profit organizations to develop mentoring programs. These programs have mentoring as a core component of a reentry effort where the mentoring relationship is established pre-release and continues as support for the provision of appropriate wraparound transitional services in a post-release setting.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. To fulfill its mission, OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement prevention and intervention programs, improve the juvenile justice system so it protects public safety, hold offenders accountable, and provide treatment and rehabilitative services that meet the needs of juveniles and their families. OJJDP has long supported mentoring programs as an effective strategy in working with at-risk youth, as well as those who experience multiple risk factors for delinquency, academic failure and other negative outcomes.

U.S. Department of Labor

Employment & Training Administration (ETA)

To prepare youth for the 21st century work place, ETA coordinates workforce development investments. As part of this focus, ETA advances opportunities for employment, training and education through a variety of programs including the Workforce Investment Act Youth Formula, YouthBuild, and Reintegration of Youthful Offenders programs. A number of these programs and grants offer a strong mentoring component.

Typically, mentoring projects address one or more of three strategies: personal development mentoring; educational or academic mentoring; and career mentoring, which helps the individual develop the necessary skills to enter or continue in their chosen career path.

Supportive mentoring services for in-school and at-risk youth is a high priority and is a requirement of several school-based projects. Faith-based and community organizations play a key role in this and other initiatives by:

  • Providing soft-skills and other appropriate basic training
  • Serving as mentors
  • Making appropriate referrals to the One-Stop system
  • Connecting with community colleges and other providers of occupational skills training
  • Providing or referring ex-offenders to needed supportive services

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

ODEP works towards a world where people with disabilities have unlimited employment opportunities. This is being achieved by providing national leadership on disability employment policy, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of people with disabilities.

The Youth Policy Team influences and works with workforce development and education systems partners to ensure that youth with disabilities have access to comprehensive transition services needed to prepare them for entering post-secondary education and the workplace. Evidence-based research connects activities, youth development, leadership opportunities and family involvement to the success of young people — including those with disabilities — in the adult world.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

The principal purpose of ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the nation's Drug Free Communities Program (DFC)

DFC Mentoring grants are designed to support the overall goals of the Drug Free Communities Program, a collaborative initiative led by ONDCP in partnership with SAMHSA. The DFC Program has two primary goals:

  • Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, private nonprofit agencies, and Federal, State, local and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.
  • Reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. (Substances include, but are not limited to, narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, marijuana, inhalants, alcohol and tobacco, where their use is prohibited by Federal, State, or local law.) Note: DFC-funded coalitions MUST focus on multiple drugs of abuse. When the term “drug” or “substance” is used in this funding announcement, it is intended to include all of the above drugs.

DFC Coalitions often employ youth mentoring as a prevention strategy in their efforts to reduce substance abuse.

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