MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
January 7th, 2019
Posted In: Corporate Engagement, National Mentoring Month Blog Series, National Mentoring Summit, Recognition

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MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is proud to announce this year’s recipients of the Excellence in Mentoring Awards! These awards are presented annually to individuals and organizations that have made tremendous contributions to young people and the mentoring field. Held at a special Library of Congress reception, this Excellence in Mentoring Awards Dinner will kick off the ninth-annual National Mentoring Summit. This year, we are excited to present Excellence in Mentoring Awards across four categories: Corporate Leadership, Impactful Philanthropy, Lifetime Achievement, and Public Elevation.

Corporate Leadership
Given to an employee from a company listed on the National Corporate Honor Roll who both volunteers their time as a youth mentor and mobilizes others to engage in the mentoring movement.

2019 Honoree
Fred Skolnik, Partner, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP
Fred Skolnik is a partner in the Corporate/Securities Law Practice Group of Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, an East Meadow, New York law firm.  Fred established the firm’s Long Island corporate and securities law practice in 1987 after many years of practice in the firm’s New York City office. A frequent speaker on topics related to corporate and securities law, Fred has served the Nassau County Bar Association as Chair of both the Corporation Law Committee and the Securities Law Committee. Fred’s practice relates primarily to the representation of public and private companies in connection with equity and debt financings, mergers and acquisitions, securities transactions, and general corporate and business matters. Fred is a member of the Board of Directors of Mentor New York, which creates and supports mentoring programs throughout New York State. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Farmingdale College Foundation, which provides financial assistance, including scholarships, for Farmingdale State College programs and projects not funded by the New York State budget. Fred is a co-founder and the administrator of LIKE (Lawyers Involved in Kids’ Education), a program that establishes mentoring relationships between attorneys and potentially “at-risk” elementary school students and seeks to develop analytical and vocabulary skills, confidence and self-esteem in the mentees through word and number games.

Impactful Philanthropy
Given to a foundation, company, individual philanthropist or board member who has made a significant impact on young people through investment of time and funds in mentoring programs, MENTOR Affiliates and/or mentoring initiatives.

2019 Honoree
Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Making medicines is just one way that Genentech makes a difference – employees are passionate about applying their skills, time and resources to positively impact the patients they serve, the scientific community, and the places where they live and work. For over a decade, Genentech has been an active supporter of the mentoring movement. In 2008 Genentech launched Gene Academy, which provides weekly after-school mentoring to third through fifth graders from the South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD). Each student has two dedicated Genentech volunteer mentors and together they work on homework or participate in hands-on experiments designed to spark enthusiasm for science. Throughout the past 10 years, 2,000 employees have mentored more than 1,000 students. More recently, Gene Academy mentors began moving beyond purely academic support to include social and emotional skills training. These learning opportunities help students to develop a growth mindset, which is something Genentech mentors have also found valuable to their own personal and career development. With the success of Gene Academy, Genentech decided to double down on its efforts by reaching kids in middle and high school. In 2015, Genentech launched Futurelab – a $25 million investment in a hyper-local, public-private partnership with the SSFUSD. Futurelab is helping to address some of the significant challenges faced by SSFUSD students by providing opportunities for hands-on engagement in STEM and valuable employee-student mentoring at key points in students’ education.

Lifetime Achievement
Given to an individual who has dedicated their life’s work to supporting youth through mentoring programs.

2019 Honoree
Kenneth Ward, Executive Director, College Bound, Inc.
Kenneth Ward is currently the Executive Director of College Bound, Inc. in Washington, D.C. As a Fulbright Memorial scholar in Japan and a seasoned D.C. educator and administrator for 15 years, he has been instrumental in creating academic and personal enrichment programs for students.  Since 2000, he has taken participants on life-changing international trips annually where they explore their historical and cultural roots; visiting schools, universities, local villages, and slave castles. He has participated in the International Teacher Exchange program where he studied best practices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia and has also volunteered in Ethiopia. Kenneth holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he matriculated on a Pogue Scholarship and a Master’s degree in education from Trinity University. He was hired as the Executive Director of College Bound in 2009. During his tenure at College Bound, he has opened three workplace mentoring sites and implemented a Virtual Mentoring Program designed to support the program’s alumni to college degree completion. Under his leadership, College Bound has increased the amount of scholarship dollars awarded more than 200% and more than tripled the number of students served by College Bound. Kenneth participated in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown and was bestowed the 2012 Harvey Elliott Beech Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of North Carolina for his outstanding personal achievements that reflect well upon him, his community and the university. Kenneth returns often to his hometown of Enfield, N.C. to create opportunities to educate and expose local youth to cultural and educational activities. He knows first-hand the power of education and works to erase the achievement gap. He serves on the Advisory Board at UNC for the Learning and Writing Center and is an active member of the Perry Community Center Services Center and Achievement Prep Academic boards. A life member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc, Mr. Ward most recently received the 2017 UNC Alumni Diversity Award.

Public Elevation
Given to an individual who uses their influence and public platform to support mentoring opportunities for youth .

2019 Honoree
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel is the 55th mayor of the City of Chicago. Since his election in 2011, Mayor Emanuel has led major investments across education, mentorship, youth programming, neighborhood development, transportation, infrastructure, public health, and public safety. Over Mayor Emanuel’s tenure, Chicago’s students have experienced record education gains, while the city has led the nation in corporate relocations for five consecutive years, and led the nation in foreign direct-investment for six consecutive years. Mayor Emanuel has also marked record progress in reducing Chicago’s structural deficit from $635.6 million in 2012 to $97.9 million for 2019 – the lowest it has been since 2007. Previously, Mayor Emanuel served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Illinois’ 5th District, and was a key member of the Clinton White House. He is married to Amy Rule, and they have three children.

MENTOR is also pleased to recognize the following outstanding finalists in each Excellence in Mentoring Category: 


Jeff Danley




Jenna Erickson
The Libra Group





Robin Hilgart
New Pathways for Youth



Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker
The “Why You?” Initiative





Rebecca Hatter
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri



Joshua W. Murfree Jr.
100 Black Men of America



Liz O’Neill
Boys and Girls Clubs BBBS Edmonton and Area





Rodney McLeod
Philadelphia Eagles




Mayor Jean Stothert
City of Omaha





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