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Exploring Our Support of Mentoring, Advising and Coaching

By Jonathan Reid, Program Officer

January 29, 2024

Teacher Mentoring University Student

Student success has been a priority for ECMC Foundation since our inception. January is National Mentoring Month, and we’d like to highlight our strong portfolio of grants focused on mentoring, advising and coaching. Through this work, we aim to better understand emerging trends, gaps in services and the impact of mentoring programs on improving college persistence and completion.

Several of our grants focus on mentorship programs and opportunities for college students from underserved backgrounds, including low-income and first-generation populations, who pursue and attain postsecondary credentials.

One Million Degrees (OMD)

OMD offers community college students comprehensive supportive services to help them persist through college and graduate, ready to launch careers that offer family-sustaining wages and upward mobility. Over the last 16 years, OMD has grown to provide nearly 2,000 scholars across 10 Chicagoland area campuses, including all seven community colleges in the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) system, with wraparound services including personal, professional, financial, and academic support.

Through funding from ECMC Foundation, OMD partnered with City Colleges of Chicago to redesign its current opt-in program model to using an opt-out approach to ensure all eligible students can access the supports. The program works in conjunction with students’ academic and career goals, whether they aspire to transfer to a four-year institution or obtain a well-paying job immediately after completing an associate degree. A study through the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab shows that OMD’s holistic mentoring program is one of the most effective ways to support students on campuses.

Beyond 12

ECMC Foundation has also invested in technology to assist in mentorship. Launched in 2010, our grantee and investee, Beyond 12, is a national technology-based nonprofit with the goal of increasing the number of students who graduate from college. Beyond 12’s digital coaching platform, MyCoach provides students with the academic and social support they need right at their fingertips, which is crucial as many students use technology daily.

Beyond 12 is creating a student experience that blends digital coaching with virtual human coaching, anchored in predictive and prescriptive analytics tailored to the student’s experience.

National College Attainment Network (NCAN)

NCAN is a membership organization made up of nonprofits, higher education institutions, foundations, state agencies, school districts and other stakeholders interested in advancing practices and policies to help students enter, succeed in and complete their postsecondary education.

ECMC Foundation helped fund their “Whole Student Through Mental Health and Wellbeing” project. The project assists six NCAN member organizations with assessing their mental health and wellness strategies and offers professional development to all NCAN member organizations.   

This month and beyond, we encourage institutions and their partners to have buy-in and agency when developing programs that support mentorship, advising and coaching to improve student outcomes. We will continue to focus on the systemic changes needed to strengthen the partnerships between institutions and nonprofit organizations so that students can receive the necessary support to persist and complete their postsecondary education.



















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