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January 15, 2020

Mentoring = Success; Philadelphia area nonprofit reflects on National Mentoring Month

Mentors Nonprofits

Content sponsored by Limited - UIF Sponsorship Badge

Limited -UIF National Mentoring Month Uncommon Individual Foundation/for PhillyVoice

We all have someone we look up to. We all have someone to thank for the small opportunities that led to big successes. We all have someone that changed our lives.

We all have a mentor.

January is National Mentoring Month. For the Uncommon Individual Foundation, that doesn’t change the day to day operations in the slightest. However, it does give the staff a chance to celebrate the important mission and rich history of UIF—that all started with Dr. Richard E. Caruso.

As the son of Italian immigrants, Caruso worked very hard from a young age, shining shoes and selling newspapers on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It wasn’t until a high school football coach encouraged him to channel his work ethic and athletic ability into sports. This first encounter with a mentor led Caruso to earn a scholarship to Susquehanna University and opened the door to a world of possibilities in education, business, and philanthropy.

Caruso earned a Master’s Degree from Bucknell, a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, founded company after company, and received several entrepreneurial accolades in his lifetime. Even still, Caruso did not forget those who helped him along the way—and that is where UIF’s story begins.

Dr. Richard Caruso founded UIF in 1986 to help individuals and organizations recognize and use mentoring as a way to achieve personal and professional success. The Foundation helps individuals and organizations through five mentoring programs: Corporate, Education, Entrepreneur, Media, and Technology.

“Your mentor might be a teacher, a parent, a coach or a friend. Odds are, your mentor is someone you met by coincidence. Rather than leaving it up to chance, UIF creates mentoring opportunities by design,” says Jerry Holtz, President of UIF. “We connect students, educators, and entrepreneurs with subject matter mentors within our Foundation community.”

In 2018, the Foundation staff mentored more than 7-thousand students locally and nationally, while contributing more than 10-thousand direct mentoring hours to community schools, organizations, and startups. UIF also helped new entrepreneurs raise more than $750-thousand in capital.

Think about the mentor who inspired you, someone who had the most dramatic impact on your life, the person who changed the trajectory of your education, career path, and success. When was the last time you thanked your mentor?

January is National Mentoring Month, the perfect time to reconnect with the mentor or mentors who influenced your success. To learn more about UIF’s mentoring initiatives and join our community, visit