Youth mentoring programs are a way for adults to teach kids skills they might not learn at home, such as coping with anger, avoiding violence and abstaining from drugs, in a safe, healthy environment. Unfortunately, budget cuts affecting small, non-profit organizations and schools could leave thousands of children without the support they need to become fully functioning adults. Having the funds to support or start programs like these is just as important as finding volunteers to staff them.

U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Grant

Established as part of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, the U.S. Department of Education mentoring grants are available to three types of agencies: community-based organizations (CBO) that are not-for-profit, local education agencies (LEA), or a collaboration between the two. Awards are available in varying amounts based on the need outlined in the agency's or organization's grant proposal. To learn about current opportunities for grants and grant deadlines, contact the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education, OSDFS

550 12th Street, S.W., Rm. 10120, PCP

Washington, DC 20202-6450


Stepping Stones

Sponsored by The Mentor Network, the Stepping Stones fund is for programs that mentor children deemed at-risk, children transitioning in or out of foster care, or children in other circumstances without financial and emotional support. Organizations that may apply for this grant include tax-exempt organizations, research groups and occasionally young individuals. Applications are accepted throughout the fiscal year (beginning in October), and recipients are announced quarterly in January, April, July and October. Contact your local office by locating it on The Mentor Network's website,

Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program

As its title suggests, the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program grant can only be used by programs that are serve this specific subset or plan on doing so. An organizations may qualify for this grant if it agrees to find mentors who will donate at least one hour of their time per week, screen possible mentors for negative histories that might affect working with children, provide training for the mentors and monitor and evaluate the mentors throughout their volunteer commitment. Given by the Family and Youth Services Bureau, a part of the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this grant is given depending on whether there are available funds to support it. Interested parties must fill out an application through the only government-approved grant proposal website.

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth

P.O. Box 13505

Silver Spring, MD 20911-3505