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Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation wins national award

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Robert and Janice McNair

Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation has been awarded the 2020 Impactful Philanthropy Excellence in Mentoring Award by The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR).

"An award like this is a wonderful tribute to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. McNair," said Mike Gavin, chairman of the Educational Foundation board. "I think it is also a very fitting recognition to our wonderful mentors who devote their time and energy to making our community a better place by working with its future -- our students. I wish Mr. McNair was here to see this because i know he'd be pleased."

The Impactful Philanthropy Mentoring Award is given to a foundation, company, individual philanthropist or board member who has made a significant impact on young people through investment of time and funds in mentoring programs.

Robert and Janice McNair started the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation in 1989 in an effort to increase the number of students in Rutherford County who pursued postsecondary education. Realizing the student needs required an individualized approach, the Foundation began a mentoring program for students at one county high school.

In 2009, the mentor program was expanded to include every 9th-12th grade students in three county high schools, Chase High, East Rutherford and R-S Central high schools.

In 2016, the program was expanded again to include all 7th and 8th graders in three feeder middle schools. Currently, over 200 adult volunteer mentors serve approximately 3,500 7th-12th grade students, meeting with mentees individually throughout the school year to focus on academic progress as well as college and career awareness and readiness. Additionally, building on the success of this mentor program, in April of this year, the Foundation implemented a new mentor program for recent Rutherford County Schools' graduates who are pursuing postsecondary education. Approximately 25 Rutherford County Schools and Foundation alumni are mentoring over 140 current college students in an effort to increase postsecondary success for our students.

The MENTOR awards will be presented on January 29 in Washington, D.C. at a reception at the Library of Congress. Monica Lee, the foundation's executive director, will be among those receiving the award.

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