MONTCLAIR, NJ — IMANI, a community-based non-profit organization that has made tremendous progress toward leveling the playing field for underserved students in the Montclair Public Schools, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a gala evening in support of IMANI programs for children in grades K-12. The celebration will take place on Saturday, November 16th at St. Luke’s Church in Montclair.  

More than 5,000 students have participated in academic support programs offered by IMANI over the past 20 years. And now, as a new generation of learners navigates the challenge of mastering skills and embracing educational opportunities essential for lifelong success, IMANI’s mission of promoting high achievement for all Montclair Public School students has become even more crucial.

IMANI was founded in 1999 by Montclair parents and community leaders after research revealed that white students at Montclair High School were outscoring minority students on standardized tests and outpacing them on admission to top-tier colleges.

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“We started IMANI with the goal of providing minority students with the same kind of support available to more affluent white students,” recalled IMANI executive director JoAnn McCullough. “We found that offering small study groups taught by certified teachers and SAT prep classes led by professional tutors helped minority students develop the skills and confidence to improve their grades and SAT scores.”

Buoyed by this success, IMANI expanded its programs to meet the needs of underserved students at all grade levels. Current programs include Mini IMANI for grades K-5, Middle IMANI for grades 6-8, summer transition courses for sixth and ninth graders, and study groups, SAT prep, and college admissions counseling for grades 9-12.

Funds raised from the 20th Anniversary celebration will enable IMANI to maintain and expand its academic support programs, and provide individualized support and scholarships for college-bound seniors. “With our current grant funding, we are not able to serve all the students who could benefit from our programs,” said McCullough. “Donations and sponsorships enable us to provide support where it is most needed while continuing to expand our outreach.”

The benefit will be held in the Assembly Hall at St. Luke’s Church, 73 South Fullerton Ave, Montclair, on November 16th from 6:30-9:30pm. Guests will enjoy music and dancing, along with delicious hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and desserts. To buy tickets for the gala, become a sponsor, or make a donation, visit the IMANI 20th Anniversary celebration website.

IMANI is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible, as allowed by law.