January is National Mentoring Month and we’re proud to continue our relationship with Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is a time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark in Philadelphia has created over 800 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013. The organization currently partners with 6 schools in Philadelphia and 18 corporate partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.