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The Mission of M.U.S.T.: to find responsible African American men in college to help spring kids free from the hardest generational cycles of poverty through long-term paid mentoring.

M.U.S.T. believes the need of the hour in the urban core is positive male role models.  M.U.S.T. finds and hires positive black male role models who are in college to mentor black male youth who are truly in danger of dropping out of high school. MUST provides a ‘Coach’ for the college students to help them navigate life, college and being a mentor. The college students then mentor the youth all four years of high school. Mentors get the help they need to finish their higher education and youth get a positive male role model who grew up in a similar environment to themselves. Youth begin to think… “He comes from the same place I do. If he can do it… so can I!”

The MUST Mentoring Model

MUST works with middle school counselors to identify 8th grade black male youth who are in genuine danger of dropping out of high school. At the end of their 8th grade year they are admitted to the MUST mentoring program.

The MUST mentoring model has three tiers: Coaches, Mentors and Youth. MUST is unique because we pay our mentors and we serve both our youth and our mentors equally. 

Coaches: Successful working men in the community who volunteer to coach the Mentors while they are in college. They help them navigate life, school and being a good mentor. 

Mentors: Black male college students are paid for four years to mentor high school students who are in genuine danger of dropping out. Mentors get the support they need to persist in college and youth get a positive male role model to look up to. 

High School Youth: Black high school youth in danger of dropping out of high school are part of a family of black peers and black near-peers to help them succeed. The younger guys watch their older mentors for four years and begin to think… “He comes from the same place I do. If he can do it… so can I!” 

High school graduates receive a volunteer Coach to support them for two years after high school. The Coach helps them as they transition to either a career, college and possibly becoming a mentor for MUST.

The Results

After seven years of serving the most vulnerable black male youth MUST has produced outstanding results.

Estimated Social Return on Investment (SROI): 6.11

High School Graduation Rate or GED: 75%

College Attendance: 61%

5 Minute Award Winning Summary of MUST

MUST made it to the finals of Social Venture Partner’s (SVP) prestigious Fast Pitch competition. Rick presented his 5 minute pitch to an audience of 1,000 people. MUST took home three awards, which was the first time that has happened in the history of the contest.



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What the Community Says

MUST mentors, youth, guardians and community members were asked to pick one word that describes MUST. The feedback was revealing!

Mentors: Transformative, Real, Passionate, Inspiring, Intentional, Caring, Love

MUST Youth: Family, Everything, Fun, Amazing, Cool, Opportunity, Caring Amazing, Loyalty Brotherhood, Fun, Family, Family, Opportunity

Families: Indebted, Incredible, Dedication, Support, Strength 

Community Agencies: Smart, Committed, Committed, Relationship, Accessibility, Necessity, Committed

Notable Past and Present Donors

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Chick Fil A Logo


King-County Logo

Mentor Washington Logo
Seattle Sounders Logo


SVP Logo
The Campbell Foundation Logo
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The Problem

Each high school dropout costs the nation between $600,000 and $700,000 through the course of their lifetime in costs related to healthcare, welfare, justice system… etc. One study shows that there are 6.7 million of these ‘Opportunity Youth’. It represents a real problem on many levels. Learn more >>>

A Solution

M.U.S.T. solves two problems: black male youth who desperately needed positive male role models and black males in their early to mid twenties who made it through high school but do not have the financial means and support to get to and through college.  M.U.S.T. solves both of these problems. Learn more >>

The Cost

After 7 years of operation M.U.S.T. has an estimated social rate of return (SROI) of 6.11. For every dollar that is invested in M.U.S.T. six dollars are returned to society. High school dropouts are costly, but M.U.S.T. helps turn those high costs into a benefit to society. Learn more >>