Dr. Renaldo Blocker, will be nationally recognized for Excellence in Mentoring by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership on next week, Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at a special Library of Congress Reception in Washington, DC. The four Excellence in Mentoring Awards (i.e. Corporate Leadership, Impactful Philanthropy, Lifetime Achievement, and Public Elevation) are presented annually to notable individuals and organizations. Dr. Blocker is a finalist for the Impactful Philanthropy Award for his work with The “Why You?” Initiative, Inc. (“[YU?]”). The Impactful Philanthropy 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 and/or mentoring initiatives.

While [YU?] was officially established in 2011, Dr. Blocker has been supporting youth mentoring since 2002 when he was matriculating as an undergraduate at Albany State University (Albany, GA). Marie Beasley, doctoral student at Morgan State University and [YU?] mentee/mentor states, “it is very impressive to hear stories from his first mentees like the music/sound engineer and computer science major that traveled with professional artists (i.e. Black Eyed Peas, Keri Hilson, Musiq Soulchild, Janelle Monae and etc.) around the world for concerts/tours.” Dr. Blocker has played a pivotal role in countless underrepresented high school students, college students and young professionals; many who are now lawyers, teachers, scientists, soldiers and doctors. The stories of academic and professional growth from the current and past mentees are countless and many are currently volunteers for [YU?]. Dr. Blocker continues to play various roles in supporting youth mentoring; he’s a co-founder, an active mentor, a philanthropic, fundraiser, mentor trainer, professor, internship sponsor, parent engagement ambassador and etc. 

Dr. Blocker embodies a selfless commitment to increasing diversity in education attainment and workforce by not only giving his time to students and young professionals, but also giving his personal funds. Dr. Blocker has donated at least $25,000 per year to support mentoring efforts via [YU?]. He also tireless campaign for donations from his colleagues, friends, family and others quarterly to ensure that [YU?] has enough funds to operate. He secured management improvement funds from Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation/Saint Paul Foundation. He also managed to secure grant funding from various other foundations including the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Graves Foundation.  In addition, Dr. Blocker contributes significantly to [YU?]’s annual confab to ensure that most students connected to the organization is afforded an opportunity to benefit for the confab experience. Dr. Blocker’s innate ability to devote so much time and money to others’ success and still manage to be successful in his own career as a budding scholar and leader is astounding. 

Dr. Blocker believes that closing this proverbial “achievement gap” means reaching into the trenches and elevating the students that are often overlook because of their GPAs and/or perceived lack of ambition.

A huge congratulations to Dr. Blocker on this incredible honor!

As we end #MentoringMonth, it’s fitting to recognize Dr. Blocker as a mentor and philanthropist. He truly has impacted the lives of many [YU?]’s staff, volunteers, students, young professionals and families over the past 17 years.

For more information about the award, visit: https://www.mentoring.org/2019/01/proudly-announcing-the-2019-excellence-in-mentoring-award-recipients/