The Conference:   

Building Capacity. Sharing Ideas. Helping Mentoring and Tutoring Programs Thrive.


The biannual Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference   is the oldest conference of its kind, having been held in Chicago ever six months since May 1994. Without the conference, tutor/mentor programs have fewer opportunities to come together to network, share ideas and help each other. Since May 1994, more than 1000 organizations have been connected to each other, and to the Tutor/Mentor Connection as a result of the May and November Conferences.

Conference Objectives:

  • Draw leaders, volunteers, and stakeholders from more than 150 agencies together for networking and information sharing. Read this PDF article to expand your network-building abilities.

  • Draw business and philanthropy partners into ongoing learning and partnership with tutor/mentor leaders

  • Provide a vision for comprehensive, long-term mentoring that leads youth to careers
  • Build trust and relationships among stakeholders to generate partnerships and information sharing during the months between each conference.
  • Build awareness of online learning and networking resources and motivate a growing number of participants to use these tools for capacity improvement

Each conference offers workshops on planning, evaluation, recruitment, training, marketing, and other topics relevant to tutoring/mentoring youth at different ages.

The Conference as Part of a Larger Strategy:

In 1994 a survey was sent to leaders of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region, in an effort to build a master database that could be used in advertising and marketing efforts intended to draw needed resources to every program in the region. Two questions in the survey led to T/MC launching this conference. One asked "How much need would you say there is for increased contact between programs."  A second asked "How likely is it that you would attend a city-wide conference?  68% were very likely to attend and 22% were somewhat likely to attend. So we launched the first conference in May 1994 and have hosted them every six months since then.

The May/June Conference is intended to celebrate the work of youth and volunteers during the school year. It is also a time to share best practices, strengthen next year’s programs, and raise public awareness about the need for renewed support in the coming academic year. The work done in May can lead to more successful volunteer-recruitment strategies in August and September and more powerful resource-development strategies in November and December.

The November Conference takes place shortly after the start of each school year when programs have recruited and placed students and volunteers. The focus of this conference is on teaching volunteers to be more effective tutors and mentors and fostering the leadership skills necessary to help programs grow.  Since this conference is just before the year end holidays, its goal is also to make potential donors more aware of tutor/mentor programs so that when they choose to make a  year-end donation, more tutor/mentor programs benefit from these gifts.

As online social networking capacities have grown, the T/MC has added online forums to encourage conference participants and others who cannot attend the Chicago conferences to connect and collaborate via the Internet.

If you can become a sponsor or this strategy through your business, personal wealth, or university, contact Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC at

View YouTube Video Interview with Conference Participants