Virtual Mentoring Portals

To ensure physical distancing does not mean social disconnection, leading experts on mentoring launched the Virtual Mentoring Portal. The Virtual Mentoring Portal is a safe and monitored mentoring platform for mentors and mentees to continue their relationships while they may be separated due to COVID-19.

Mentoring Field Survey Results

Thank you to hundreds of programs nationwide that submitted responses to our two surveys. We gained real-time insight regarding virtual mentoring, finances, support for staff, and reaching families in your communities. Your responses helped to inform our Virtual Mentoring Portals and will allow us to provide resources relevant to your needs. You can find the results of your feedback here. We are working collaboratively with partners to advocate, deliver solutions, share strategies, and lift up resources that are supportive of your needs in the short and long term.

View Survey Results

Mentoring Resources

Helpful Video Resources


MENTOR is continually working to share resources and tips that can help facilitate mentoring relationships on a virtual level. To ensure physical distancing does not mean social disconnection, MENTOR is working with leading expert on virtual mentoring, iCouldBe, to launch the Virtual Mentoring Portal. The Virtual Mentoring Portal is a safe and monitored mentoring platform for mentors and mentees to continue their relationships while they may be separated due to COVID-19.

The Virtual Mentoring Portal provides unstructured (internal, monitored email) or structured (research-back curriculum) communications and will provide mentoring programs with virtual mentoring access for existing mentees ages 13 or older, and their mentors. The platform has been constructed with respect to best practices, safety, and data privacy. Interested programs can fill out a brief form here.

We will continually add resources and tips to this page and use social media to elevate innovative ideas from the field, including tips from MENTOR about text-based communications with mentees, and the Virtual Mentoring Portals for existing mentor/mentee matches, launching in partnership with iCouldBe and CricketTogether. MENTOR’s E-mentoring supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice and its corresponding checklist are available here.

MENTOR has conducted a survey of programs across communities, types, and demographics to determine their needs and how they are innovating in this moment. The results of that survey are informing our resources and response. We’ve seen very clearly that programs are thinking about and working in their own contexts to move mentoring to virtual spaces when possible.

Continue to use current protocol and approaches – email, newsletters, etc. MENTOR is also creating a one-page list of recommendations for programs. Programs often have policies around how they connect to mentors and mentees and can continue following those protocols (email check ins etc.)

Yes, MENTOR National’s team is currently working virtually through at least May 18. We are available via email, phone, and video conferencing.

No.  MENTOR National will not explicitly instruct Affiliates or mentoring programs on how to proceed with in-person meetings at this time. The response to COVID-19 is being handled differently on the state and community levels, and we feel that it’s important for each Affiliate and/or program to address their community in the way that’s right for them.

advocacy & policy response to covid-19

During this time, MENTOR is working in collaboration with our partners locally and nationally to advance policy and expand funding that addresses the challenges that youth, families, and communities throughout the nation are facing. The health, safety, and well-being of communities is paramount to our movement of relationships. Below are advocacy and policy initiatives and ideas that MENTOR has supported in response to the pandemic:

  • MENTOR Letter to Congress: Support Youth Serving Organizations in Stimulus Bill: MENTOR CEO David Shapiro wrote a letter to Congress urging them to prioritize supporting youth serving organizations and non-profits as they adjust their services during this pandemic.
  • Out-of-School Time Funding: State and Local Officials Support: MENTOR joined national and local youth-serving and educational organizations in urging mayors and governors to leverage federal funds in the CARES Act (as well as already existing federal, state, and local funds) to incorporate high quality out-of-school time and summer learning in their cities and states. The immense flexibility at the state and local levels allows elected officials to use these funds to innovate ways to bolster learning and support families during uncertain times.
  • Homework Gap Coalition Letter to Congress: MENTOR joined national education associations and other organizations encouraging Congress to support H.R. 6563, the Emergency Educational Connections Act, that would appropriate $2 billion for an Emergency Connectivity Fund through the E-Rate program, for schools and libraries to support distance and remote learning for millions of students without home internet access for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Charitable Sector: Non-Profit Reforms to the CARES Act: MENTOR joined more than 200 organizations in urging Congress to create a Nonprofit Track in the CARES Act to ensure that charitable nonprofits are supported in their service on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Charitable Sector: COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus Package: MENTOR joined more than 90 nonprofit organizations in urging Congress to support a $60 billion stimulus package aimed at helping adversely affected local and national organizations in maintaining nonprofit operations and expanding their scope to address increasing demands during this time of crisis.
  • Youth Serving Organizations: COVID-19 Relief and Supports: MENTOR joined 14 youth-serving organizations in urging Congress to consider additional supports that will enable organizations to assist in our nation’s response to the pandemic. This will help sustain the long-term viability of services for young people including funding for sanitizing/deep cleaning facilities, emergency program disruption reimbursements, emergency childcare services, and funding for educational and nutrition services to youth who would normally be in school.
  • Youth Serving Organizations: Additional COVID-19 Relief and Supports: MENTOR joined over 20 youth-serving organizations in urging Congress to consider more supports for youth-serving organizations in additional COVID-19 relief efforts. These supports would protect the health and well-being of the nation’s youth while organizations navigate this public health crisis, and sustain the long-term viability of critical services for youth. In order to mitigate the long-term impacts on these organizations and the millions of youth served, additional funding is needed for out of school learning, a financial recovery program for non-profits, youth workforce recovery, meals and, and trauma-informed services for youth.
  • Joint Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing: MENTOR joined more than 500 groups in a joint statement to support the continued use of parks, trails, and open spaces in a safe manner (using social distancing) that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. During this time of uncertainty, open places are needed now more than ever.

The advocacy and policy response to the pandemic is rapidly evolving and MENTOR will update this website with additional initiatives and policies in the coming days.

Urge Congress to prioritize young people in the COVID-19 response. Mentoring programs are adjusting their services to best continue to meet the needs of young people during this pandemic while following guidance from health professionals. We must call upon our Members of Congress to support mentoring programs and other nonprofits that are rapidly retooling in order to best serve communities. Send a message to your Member of Congress here.

Summary of 2nd Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Summary of 3rd Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Q&A on CARES Act for Non-Profits

On March 6, 2020, the President signed into law The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the pandemic.  The bill primarily directs funding towards the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Office of the Secretary – Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in addition to funding efforts to address the international response to COVID-19. On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act which bolsters the federal government’s response to the pandemic. The bill ensures that all individuals have access to virus testing, strengthens food assistance including meal access for students who are not in school, prevents states from rolling back Medicaid benefits, enhances unemployment aid and establishes an Emergency Paid Leave Program. The President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. The bill allocates $2 trillion in direct cash to Americans, includes provisions for loans for businesses, expands unemployment insurance, directs more funding to hospitals and expands funding for K-12 education and higher education. See the summary above. On April 24, 2020 the President signed into law a fourth stimulus $484 billion package with funding for small businesses, hospitals, and disease testing. On May 12, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which provides emergency funding for agencies, states, and includes direct payments to Americans among many other things. The bill is not expected to be passed by the Senate.