Friends for Youth III

Spring-Summer 2022
Project Type
Fast track
Project Focus
Expansion or Replication,
Feasibility Study,
Market Analysis
Organization Type
Children, Youth & Families,
Human Services


Since 1979 Friends for Youth has been a nationally recognized organization providing marginalized youth with caring adult mentors to keep them in school and give them positive, nurturing role models. Friends for Youth has made more than 3,000 student-mentor matches through its one-to-one community-based program and its school-based, group mentoring programs at ten Peninsula schools. 90% of participating students have stayed the entire length of the one-year program and 100% have remained in school during program participation. Since 2018 Friends for Youth has also been the backbone organization of Whole Health for Youth (WHY), a collective of small, local, grassroots nonprofits that collaborate to reduce duplicative services, serve communities holistically, and multiply their impact in the community.


With one million dollars in public support and revenues in the last year, Friends for Youth is poised to expand its outreach through various channels. Capitalizing on the success of its flagship one-to-one mentoring program, school-based mentoring groups, and Whole Health for Youth Initiative partnership, Friends for Youth would like to double the number served in each of these channels this calendar year. This ambitious goal requires expanding its revenue streams to include more from earned income through geographic expansion. Given prior success with its Mentoring Institute that trained and educated other mentoring, youth-serving organizations, Friends for Youth would like to explore relaunching the Mentoring Institute with the dual objective of increasing fees for service and broadening student outreach. By focusing on developing more earned income sources through program development, staff strive to create a virtuous cycle of enhanced programming leading to more earned fees and back to elevated programming.

Project Objectives

Friends for Youth requested a project team to explore different formats for expanding fee-for-service revenue. More specifically, the client wanted an assessment of the marketability and profitability of

  1. standardizing and replicating its mentor recruiting and screening process and mentor-student curriculum for expansion beyond the Peninsula and South Bay—possibly across the state and country,
  2. a revamped Mentoring Institute, and
  3. online curriculum delivery.

Project Overview

The project consisted of two key phases. First, the ACT team conducted a market analysis to determine the financial viability of three potential fee-for-service offerings. The mid-point meeting was an opportunity to highlight the inability of most organizations to pay for services. Secondly, the team pivoted to focus on alternative potential new revenue streams and partnerships that could substantially increase the number of youth the program could serve. 

Key Recommendations

The ACT team recommended:

  • Explore partnering with MENTOR California, focusing on providing training and technical assistance to other mentoring organizations with support from MENTOR and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
  • Organize a Bay Area group meeting/roundtable for partnership and learning with California Mentoring Partnership
  • Explore expanding group mentoring initiatives and partnerships

Key Conclusions

While fee-for-service revenue streams are unlikely to be key drivers in strengthening Friends For Youth’s financial position, Friends For Youth could pursue several paths that would create a virtuous cycle of increasing the number of youth served while simultaneously enhancing FFY’s credibility, leadership, and cash inflows.

Final Report Outline

  • Project Steps
  • Research Findings
  • Recommendations