Relationships at the Center

Relationships at the Center: City of Providence Mentoring Initiative

Application Deadline: February 14, 2022 5pm

MENTOR Rhode Island is seeking applications from organizations that serve Providence youth in need of support from a caring adult role model—a mentor.  This is a one-time grant opportunity that was appropriated by Mayor Elorza and the City Council through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Link to Request For Proposals: 2022 RFP Relationships at the Center Application Overview

Link to Application: Relationships at the Center Grant Application


How to apply

A completed application must include:

  • Completed application including all narrative sections
  • Budget Proposal
  • 501 (c)(3) Tax Exempt Status Determination Letter or that of your fiscal sponsor
  • Current Financial Statements:
    • Operating Budget Current Fiscal Year
    • Year-to-date Budget versus Actual Profit and Loss Statement
    • Balance Sheet
    • Latest Form 990 or Audit, or that of fiscal sponsor if applicable 

Please submit your application and upload all other required documents via the application link! 

What will readers look for?

  • Well-rounded programming centered on young people’s needs
  • Innovation and passion for mentoring
  • How your program will help to decrease violence in Providence
  • How program will be sustained after funding ends
  • Programs that serve young people where no mentoring program currently exists may be given priority


Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Virtual Applicant Orientation Sessions.

Register to receive log-in information:


Applicant agencies may submit written questions regarding the RFP to

Questions must be submitted by 5pm on January 31st, 2022.

Answers will be posted as questions are received with all answers posted by 5pm on February 1st, 2022.


Questions & Answers about the RFP:

Q.  One thing we liked about the RFP is the focus on group mentoring, which is a different approach than you often see and wanted to hear your thoughts about group mentoring.

A.  We would be looking at group mentoring with a 1 Mentor to a 4-youth ratio. That is the maximum allowed under the Elements of Effective Practice™. There are resources out there including an addendum to the Elements of Effective Practice ™ specifically on group mentoring. You can find that document here!

Q.  On the sustainability piece, does the RFP allow for some funding to investigate that sustainability or to make strides in that manner? Could there be funding for a position or funding for an effort to seek out additional funding, additional collaboration so that the project that may be funded and sustained beyond the grant?

A.  Include it, and if your proposal is funded, we will have a conversation about how the funds may be spent.

Q.  Would MENTOR Rhode Island be able to provide initial training to the core mentoring group around this initiative, so if we recruit 10 or 15 new mentors specifically for this initiative, will training for them be facilitated by Mentor RI?

A,  MENTOR Rhode Island uses a train-the-trainer model so we would be able to work with you to customize your training, show you how to present it to your first group of mentors, and then have your program coordinator run with it for subsequent trainings.

Q.  Follow up question, is that something that would be at a cost to our agency and that we should include in the grant?

A.  In addition to working with each of you through the grant, for programs providing mentoring services to youth under the age of 18, we will be leveraging the National Mentoring Resource Center. You can apply for up to 50 hours of free training and technical assistance annually, which you may wish to include in your sustainability plan if you need support in mentoring practices beyond the grant period.

Q.  Is the full application one scrolling page or multiple pages?

A.  1 scrolling page

Q.  Do applicants need a Gmail account to upload to the Google Form that hosts the Application?

A.  We don’t believe so, but if you have any issues, please email Destiny Manston and she will assist you.

Q.  My understanding is that this is limited to Providence students. Would this include Providence residents who attend school elsewhere? We are considering a program at the Training School- wondering if that would meet the demographic requirements of the grant?

A.  This grant is to serve Providence residents. The program at the training school is great… just keep in mind that we will only be able to fund the portion for Providence youth.

Q.  Recruitment of volunteers is often the most difficult challenge. Can the grant monies be used for recruitment? What does that look like and how can we best use grant funds to facilitate recruitment? Specifically, can they be used to hire someone whose job it will be to recruit?

A.  Yes, the monies can be used to hire someone or delegate responsibilities of an existing staff member to recruit. Recruitment will be a challenge since we will all be looking for mentors. The grantees will work together with MENTOR RI staff through our Community of Practice meetings to make sure that we have a solid plan in place, so we don’t duplicate efforts. If you plan to fund a recruiter, you will need to outline this in your budget and plan.

Q.  How can we make our program recurring and sustainable?

A.  This is a one-year only grant. Everyone’s efforts to inform the City Council of our collective good work (and your work specifically!) will be needed for mentoring to be included in future funding. Mayor Elorza has recommended $2 Million to be included in the balance of the American Rescue Plan Act funding distribution. And don’t forget, any program serving young people 18 and younger is eligible to apply for additional training and technical assistance yearly. Youth-serving organizations can receive up to 50 free hours (annually) through the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) for your mentoring program.

Q.  Can we provide a stipend to volunteers?

A.  Yes, you can give a stipend or perhaps gift cards to volunteers. Since meetings with mentees may often take place in places such as restaurants and coffee shops, it would be reasonable to support those meetings with gift cards given to the volunteers.

Q.  Can we extend the age group to 24 to 30 years old?

A.  Unfortunately, we cannot expand the age group to be served beyond 24 years old.

Q.  In our organization, we have many Outreach specialists. Can we use this funding to give them a big boost in professional development this year?

A. Yes, grant monies can be used to fund professional development for staff to gain the skills necessary to build effective relationships with young people with a focus on staff members that are integral to this program.

Q.  Will you honor the 2022 mileage rate of .585 on our application?

A.  Yes! Absolutely.