The Mentoring Center

Fall-Winter 2021
Project Type
Fast track
Project Focus
Expansion or Replication,
Market Analysis
Organization Type
Children, Youth & Families,
Human Services


Founded in 1991, The Mentoring Center (TMC) was created to serve as a technical assistance and training provider for Bay Area mentoring programs. The Mentoring Center provides these services for public and private youth-serving organizations and has served hundreds of mentoring programs locally and nationally. At the core of TMC’s philosophy is the concept of Transformative Mentoring™, an intensive and long-term, evidence-based, curriculum-focused approach that utilizes a specific set of best practices for cognitive restructuring to address issues of positive self-identity, positive youth development, healing, and individual and collective transformation. Transformative Mentoring™ is a proven strategy for youth violence prevention; effective reentry from the juvenile justice system; youth development; and culturally specific, trauma-responsive, healing-centered mentoring efforts.


Although TMC started as a training and technical assistance organization to other agencies, it has become more well-known for its direct services arm. As a result, TMC’s current identity is around supporting youth (all of whom are youth of color) most deeply impacted by the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. While direct services will still be an important component of its work, TMC would like to reinvent and rebrand its organization to reflect its 30-year legacy and accomplishments. TMC has identified a critical part of this strategy: the expansion of its training practice to broader audiences, possibly through the creation of the Transformative Mentoring Institute. TMC is optimistic about growth opportunities because some of its more recent clients have included health organizations, high schools, and churches that are training mentors in order to focus on youth education and development proactively.

Project Objectives

The Mentoring Center (TMC) sought to understand the broader market for its youth development training programs and requested an ACT project team to assess comparable training organizations and the demand for the mentor training and technical assistance offered by TMC. The project request included research into other potential client types beyond agencies focused on adjudicated youth (including possibilities outside the Bay Area) to understand how TMC could build upon its strengths and successes to meet the needs of a broader client base.

Project Overview

The project consisted of 4 key phases. First, the Planning phase was used to define the project and agree on the project objectives, scope, and deliverables. Second, the Research and Mid-Term Review phase was used to conduct secondary market research and begin competitor research. Third, the Research phase was used to conduct client interviews and complete the competitor research. Finally, the Final Review phase was used to share the conclusions and next steps.

Key Recommendations

The ACT team suggested that TMC increase its focus on delivering Transformative Mentoring training and recommended the following:  

• Start by ensuring successful scale out of training for Touro/Kaiser program

• Commit resources to developing additional opportunities that fit target profile

• Establish partnerships to become a preferred mentor training partner for organizations aligned with TMC’s mission

• Explore online/virtual delivery to expand geographic reach at low cost (e.g., Mentoring basics webinar, standard/custom annual subscription with periodic sessions)

Final Report Outline

• Findings / Analysis

• Competitors / Partners

• Interviews

• Insights

• Recommendations / Next Steps