National Mentoring Partnership: Illinois Mentoring Partnership Launches National Mentoring Partnership

National Mentoring Partnership
by David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR

Published on on October 4, 2012.

The National Mentoring Partnership, in conjunction with the Illinois Mentoring Partnership's Steering Committee, announced today the formation of the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, headquartered in Chicago, along with the appointment of Sheila Marie Merry as Executive Director of the organization.

The Illinois Mentoring Partnership's Founding Partners include JPMorgan Chase, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Accenture and X-FA Financial Access LLC (X-FA). They are joined by L&W Supply and Melvin & Company. In addition, The Chicago Sun-Times and Ungaretti & Harris LLP are making a critical contribution by lending their expertise and resources as Founding Partners in order to enhance quality mentoring throughout the state. 

"Corporate, foundation, civic and nonprofit leaders have joined mentoring experts and other service providers throughout the state of Illinois to embrace the mission of a State Mentoring Partnership," said Shapiro. "Illinois joins 28 other state and local partnerships within MENTOR's network to help ensure quality mentoring is supported and expanded."

IL Mentoring Partnership

Shapiro added, "Sheila Merry is the ideal person to lead the launch of this statewide initiative and ensure that the organization has a viable, sustainable, metrics-driven strategic plan to ensure quality youth mentoring has substantial resources, technical assistance, heightened public awareness and critical advocacy for the state's mentoring movement."

"Youth mentoring has a profound impact; focusing on the specific needs and dreams of an individual has proven to be one of the most effective ways to motivate and educate young people, providing support that broadens horizons and helps them succeed. We believe the IL Mentoring Partnership will play an important role by unifying quality mentoring activities throughout our state allowing each organization embedded in the community to exponentially expand their reach. The model is game-changing." said Laura Ferris Anderson, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase. Anderson serves as Co-Chair of the IL Mentoring Partnership. 

"Accenture supports the Illinois Mentoring Partnership because it will offer both children and young adults the tools and encouragement they need to succeed in life," said Mark Anderson, Accenture Director and Illinois Mentoring Partnership Steering Committee Co-Chair. "Accenture shares in that commitment because developing the skill and talent of our people is at the heart of our business; it's what we do every day." This effort is part of Accenture's Skills to Succeed initiative, which will equip 250,000 people by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.

Sheila Merry joins the helm of the IL Mentoring Partnership after serving more than thirteen years as Executive Director at Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation. In that role, she spearheaded the comprehensive strategic planning process for reform of Cook County Juvenile Court, employing a planning process to engage decision makers in a broader understanding of systems change to advance wide-ranging reform initiatives. Prior to leading numerous successful systems reforms at the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation, Merry was the Program Director at Children's Home & Aid Society of Illinois. 

Merry also served as Executive Director at The Harbour Inc and a Special Project Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago, in addition to her prior work for Chapin Hall Center for Children and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Merry has received numerous awards for her work in juvenile justice and youth development and has a Masters of Social Work Degree from the School of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago where she also pursued doctoral work in this field. Merry received her BS in Human Development from Northwestern University. Merry officially will start with the IL Mentoring Partnership on November 5, 2012, reporting to the organization's Steering Committee.

The IL Mentoring Partnership's Steering Committee comprises respected leaders in the corporate, foundation, civic, education and nonprofit sectors who are committed and invested in the success and sustainability of this new organization. The Steering Committee serves as the planning team to help secure funding, oversee the executive director and make recommendations for the emerging Board of Directors who will set the vision and oversee the long term strategic direction for Partnership. These leaders include: Laura Anderson, JPMorgan Chase and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee; Mark Anderson, Accenture and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee; An-Me Chung, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; David DuBois, Ph.D. Institute of Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago; William (Duke) Ellington, X-Change Financial Access LLC (X-FA); Francee Harrington, The JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Jennifer Humke, The John D.and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Timothy P Knight,The Chicago Sun-Times; Beverly Meek, The JPMorgan Chase Foundation; George Mesires, Ungaretti & Harris LLP; Jenne Myers, YMCA of Metro Chicago; Frederick Nettles, Illinois Department of Human Services; Alexander Sherman, Civic Consulting Group and Elizabeth Swanson, Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

In addition, the Illinois Mentoring Partnership's Program Leadership Council will play an integral role in the success of the Illinois Mentoring Partnership and in working with Merry and the Steering Committee to identify key quality mentoring programs throughout the state and provide much needed counsel on what has worked and what has not worked in youth mentoring throughout the state. Members of the of the Program Leadership Council include: Daniel Bassill, Tutor Mentor Institute; Christy Beighe-Byrne, Chicago Youth Centers; Barbara Cempura, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois; Scott Issen, Future Founders Foundation; Virgil Jones, LINK Unlimited; James Keane, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Art Mollenhauer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago; Thomas Vandenberk; UCAN; Kim Varner, Effingham School District; Glenn Wilke, Midtown Educational Foundation.

For more information on the Illinois Mentoring Partnership please visit us at

What is The Illinois Mentoring Partnership?

The Illinois Mentoring Partnership's mission is to serve as the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in Illinois, providing resources, technical assistance, heightened public awareness and advocacy for the state's mentoring movement. With neatly 180 youth mentoring organizations doing exemplary work with the resources they have, more than 500,000 additional young people statewide could benefit from having a mentor. In partnership with the quality mentoring field in IL, and as an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, the Illinois Mentoring Partnership will help close this mentoring gap. The Illinois Mentoring Partnership is headquartered in Chicago and will serve the whole state. Please visit us at

To read MEF's news release on Glenn Wilke's appointment to the Program Leadership Council, click here.