Advocacy.jpgMentoring and youth development programs’ voices are vital in helping Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP)  raise awareness about the role that empowering youth-adult relationships play in addressing systemic social problems and garner support at the local, state and federal levels of government. By familiarizing yourself with the steps of the state budget process, learning about policies and initiatives related to mentoring, and building relationships with your community’s legislators and other public officials, you can play a critical role in ensuring that the needs of the field are heard – and met. 


We need your help in identifying potential members for our Youth Leadership Council. Our goal is to bring together high school students from Greater Boston to both engage them in the leadership process and have them provide input in our policy goals. MMP hopes to develop and train a strong base of community activists through a train-the-trainer model, which not only empowers youth to use their voice to promote systemic change, but also teaches them how to help their peers become advocates. If you would like to apply or know of youth who would like to join, please read all about it here or click here to apply! 



Budget Advocacy

why issue.gifWe are thrilled to share the great news that the Conference Committee has released their budget, and the Mass Mentoring Matching Grants line item was fully funded at $1,000,000! This represents a a 33% increase over last year.

This is truly a shared victory. All of your collective efforts and outreach have allowed us to see the largest increase in funding for the line item since FY2002. Though this process was long and at times arduous, we accomplished so much together to increase awareness of the impact of mentoring. The results of this increase will be deep and widespread, reaching communities from Boston to Pittsfield. 

How This Funding Impacts Our Communities 

The $250,000 increase from FY19 positioned us well to reinvest in our current cohort of mentoring programs statewide. This also allowed for the investment of new grantee programs not previously supported through the line item, resulting in an increased number of mentoring matches in our targeted communities, including: Lynn, Lawrence, Springfield, Holyoke, Boston and Cape Cod and the Islands. Lastly, this increase enabled MMP to create a dropout prevention pilot program in Boston Public Schools, placing social-emotional supports by way of success coaches in schools to improve attendance. This proven method of bringing developmental relationships in schools improves both school climate and student connectedness to their education, resulting in positive outcomes in school, in their communities, and in life. For a formal announcement, read our latest press release here

Learn More:

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FY19 MMG Cover Photo.JPG37 Programs Funded Statewide in FY19
Funded programs are awarded through a competitive RFP process and community review administered by MMP. These programs also receive training, technical support, and mentor recruitment assistance from MMP. Meet the 37 Programs receiving funding for FY2019 in our catalog!

Download this catalog!

For more information or questions, please contact Chelsea AquinoManager of Government Relations and Public Policy, at



Highlights from our 2019 Youth Mentoring Day

ymd2019_2.jpgOn January 15th, we joined with nearly 300 youth-serving program staff, public officials and young people at our 13th annual Youth Mentoring Day at the State House! Thank you to all of you who were able to join us. It was a tremendous event and a great opportunity to raise our collective voices to support empowering youth-adult relationships!

Our Massachusetts legislative champions, Rep. Aaron Vega and Sen. Brendan Crighton, addressed the crowd on the need to continue advocating for state funding for mentoring. Last year, we worked together to secure $750,000 in the Mentoring Matching Grants line item. This year, we are asking for $1 million to build capacity at more programs across the state!

Our panel discussion focused on this year's theme, Relationships for Change. We heard from mentors and mentees about the many ways their lives and communities have been affected through these relationships.ymd2019_3.jpg

Attendees had the chance to talk about their own change and get their pictures taken at our photo booth. There was also a table activity that included discussions on relationships.

Following the event, our energized audience fanned out across the State House to engage in nearly 90 meetings with their local legislators to advocate on behalf of more budget dollars for mentoring. We will be holding our next Youth Mentoring Day on January 23rd, 2020! Stay tuned for more information.


Legislative Advocacy

2019-2020 Legislative Priorities

MMP’s Priority Bills and Budget Items 

Mentoring-related Legislation- MMP’s signature policy priorities from 2017-18 and new legislation that has been identified to expand on mentoring services statewide.

7061-9634    Increase the investment of the Mentoring Matching Grants line item  to $1,000,000 in FY20. 

Sponsors:     Sen. Brendan Crighton (Lynn) and Rep. Aaron Vega (Holyoke) 

  • Requesting a 250K increase enabling us to fund additional mentoring programs. Would yield an additional $1,000,000 in a private dollar-for-dollar match. 

H.550;S.241    An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Re-engagement 

Sponsors:     Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz (Boston); Rep. Alice Peisch (House Chair of Education)

  • Success coaches as mentors for chronically absent students in middle and high school. Schools with high dropout rates to utilize these interventions. 

S.238; H.586    PROMISE Act- An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful 

investment for successful and equitable education 

Sponsors:      Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz, Rep. Aaron Vega 

  • Updates the state’s funding formula for chapter 70, making it more equitable. Intends to bring more funding per student in low-income, marginalized communities. 

MMP Endorsed Bills 

Legislation including field-mobilizing - Bills tied to our work on the school-to-prison pipeline that MMP has been asked to support by legislators. Will promote through Voter Voice and garner support from school-based mentoring programs in our network. 

H.577        An Act Promoting Trauma-informed Supports in Schools  

Sponsor:     Rep. Chynah Tyler (Boston) 

  • Defines school counselor, School Social Worker and School Trauma Specialist; all required to be trained in trauma-informed practice and cultural competency

H.531; S.297    An Act to Promote the Education Success of Court Involved Children     

Sponsors:     Rep. Joan Meschino (Hull) and Sen. Pat Jehlen (Somerville) 

  • Clarify disciplinary standards to reflect the recommendations of DESE to reduce school suspensions and expulsions. School discipline can no longer be enforced for

behavior or criminal complaints outside of school, involuntary assault and for marijuana possession. 


 S.243         An Act to prioritize violence prevention and social emotional health in school support staff hiring 

Sponsor:     Sen. Chang Diaz (Chair Committee on Children and Families)

  • Set standards for the ratio of school resource officers and mental and social emotional health supports to students. 

MMP Supported Bills- Bills that support mentoring and positive youth outcomes. Will include supporting testimony and MMP’s endorsement. Includes support through coalition involvement. 

S.59          An Act Establishing a Commission on the Status of Children and Youth  

Sponsors:     Senators Joan Lovely (Salem) and Diana DiZoglio (Haverhill) 

  • Creates a commission to study and create policy on matters concerning children and youth; Mass Mentoring Partnership is listed as a designee  

S. 27/ H.118     An act relative to children in the care, protection and custody of the 


Sponsors:      Sen. Nick Collins (Boston), Rep. Sean Garballey (Arlington; Foster Care Caucus) 

  • Create a pilot mentoring and life-coach program for children in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and foster care. 

S.825;H.3420     An Act to Promote Public Safety and Better Outcomes for Young Adults  

Sponsors:      Sen. Joe Boncore (Boston) Rep. James O’Day (W. Boylston)  and Rep. Kay Khan (Newton)

  • Restructure the juvenile justice system to include 18 to 20-year-olds to ensure access to treatment, education, and vocational training found more effective for this age group with a focus on mentoring. 

S.260         An Act Relative to access for After School and Out of school time programs  

Sponsor:    Sen. Brendan Crighton (Lynn; our Senate budget champion) 

  • Establishes an After School and Out-of-School Time Opportunity Fund with 3% of recreational marijuana sales revenue collected being dedicated to this fund. 

 H.2706     An Act promoting community on-the-job training for youths  

 Sponsor:     Rep. Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield) 

  • State agencies receiving grant money to prevent crime, prevent drug addiction, GED access for young adults, will expend 10% of such monies for stipends for youth in promoting community on the job training and workforce development.

MMP'S Priority Bills

H.550;S.241 - An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement
At MMP, we are working to elevate policy around the evidenced need for greater social-emotional support (SES) in schools as a remedy to high dropout rates. We see success coaches as the solution to this prevalent issue, as a constant presence within the school building that can mentor at-risk youth and provide wraparound supports. During the course of the last 3 years, MMP has collected peer to peer data from high school students in the Boston, Holyoke and Lawrence schools to support this advocacy effort and public awareness campaign in two ways: through a survey and holding focus groups.

Nearly 1 out of 8 students in Massachusetts will not graduate on time.

We understand the significant positive impacts of mentoring on two early indicators of high school drop-out, these being high levels of absenteeism and recurring behavior problems in school. Graduation coaches add an additional layer of social and emotional support that is integral to the wellbeing of students across our state. For example, in the U.S. only 56 percent of students who have dropped out report that there was a school staff person they could go to about school problems. Youth in developmental relationships are less likely to skip school, present better attitudes and behaviors at school, and are more likely to attend college than their peers.

In Massachusetts, nearly 1 out of 7 students are chronically absent.

Chronic absence is the strongest indicator that a student is likely to drop out of school. What is chronic absenteeism? Students are considered chronically absent if they miss 2 days each month or 18 or more days per year. This includes excused, unexcused absences and suspensions. When students are absent, they miss out on opportunities to be identified for intervention and extra supports by staff, faculty, and other school administrators. 

Learn more about chronic absenteeism by downloading our one-pager toolkit.

Relationships as a Tool for Change
While Massachusetts has long been considered a leader in education, it is clear there are gaps that need to be addressed in supporting low-income youth and youth of color. Moreover, we can do more as a state to ensure that all young people are provided with access to the developmental relationships proven to improve school climate and engagement. By piloting Success Mentors programs in Mass and advocating dropout prevention and recovery policy recommendations, we aim to connect students to mentors across the state. 

Advocate for social emotional supports in schools and stay up to date on our advocacy efforts below:

 Click here to contact your legislator now! 

Learn More: 

​Allocating Recreational Marijuana Revenue to Youth Development
Mentoring agencies and youth development organizations across Massachusetts are improving the lives of vulnerable youth by providing access to empowering youth-adult relationships and the kind of wrap-around supports youth need to stay in school, make responsible choices around risk-taking behavior, and to succeed in all facets of their lives. Research has proven that at-risk youth who are matched with a mentor for more than a year are less likely to become involved in substance and alcohol abuse, less likely to be truant, less likely to commit violent acts, and are more likely to show improved academic performance and improved attitudes toward school.

Mass Mentoring Partnership fights to maintain the funding that enables mentoring programs to succeed, build capacity, and serve more youth.

For this reason, we have petitioned the members of the Committee on Marijuana Policy to dedicate a portion of the tax collected from recreational marijuana sales to help build the capacity of mentoring programs statewide. An alternative revenue stream dedicated specifically to supporting developmental relationships for our young people and mentoring would have a lasting and positive impact on our Commonwealth!

To learn more about this issue and how other states allocate portions of their revenue to youth, check out this blog post

For any additional questions, contact MMP’s Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Chelsea Aquino, at


Advocacy Resources

General Resources

Get Involved

As MMP thinks about policy solutions to address these issues for the 191st legislative session, I hope you will continue to engage with us and share your own stories and findings. Here are a few ways to get involved: 

  1. Advocate: stay up-to-date on our advocacy efforts relating to dropout prevention. Contact your legislators and get MMP Advocacy updates.
  2. Share Your Story: In what ways are you using mentoring as a lever? Do you have success stories?  Email us.
  3. Attend a Training: If you are interested in advocacy training for your organization/program, fill out this quick training request form



Each January, MMP travels to Washington to support MENTOR in their national advocacy efforts, encouraging members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to support mentoring in their national legislative priorities. 

National Mentoring Priorities 

  • Support Investment in Quality Youth Mentoring by supporting $120 million for the Youth Mentoring Program grant at the Department of Justice in FY20.
  • Support the Transition to Success Mentoring Act to establish a mentoring program for at-risk students transitioning from middle to high school.
  • Support the Foster Youth Mentoring Act to establish support for mentoring programs that serve youth in the foster care system.
  • Support the Mentoring to Succeed Act to establish a grant to assist school districts, local governments, and community-based organizations to expand quality mentoring programs for at-risk students. 
  • Join the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus to support the important work that youth mentoring programs across the nation lead every day.

To learn more information on the following legislation, visit this link.
To advocate in support of MENTOR, visit this link.