2021 Annual Report

The Sun Behind the Clouds

2021 Annual Report

Past Annual Reports: 2020 | 2018-19 | 2017
Recent Financials: FY2021 Form 990 & FY2021 Audit | FY2020 Form 990

The Resilience of iBme Youth

“I learned I can ground myself even when I’m uprooted.”- Jack, 17 Years Old

iBme’s vision is to support future generations of heart-centered, diverse leaders who are prepared to respond to the challenges of their time with focus, resiliency, and compassion for themselves, their communities, and the global environment. In 2021, there was one piece of this vision that really stood out – RESILIENCE. Reflecting on the last year, we are amazed by the community-wide commitment to and embodiment of resilience.

To all iBme teens and young adults, we honor and celebrate your resilience. Your ability to continue to show up, to share what you need, to witness and tend to your struggles, and to be there for peers has been a tremendous teaching.

To all iBme adults (teachers, mentors, committee members, and donors), thank you for creating the container – the structure and the space – for resilience to be nurtured. No matter the format, online/in-person, retreat/class, or large/small group, you had the heart and wisdom to meet the moment.

It’s rare to have an opportunity to see the fruits of our vision so up close and in real time. The last two years have been such a traumatic roller coaster, especially for youth. And yet, here we are. Open hearts and minds, standing (and sitting), together.

There are many questions about what the future holds for our world. To find hope in that mystery, look no further than the resilience of iBme youth who will be leading the way!

In Deep Gratitude,
iBme’s Collaborative Leadership Team

Teens playing drums on retreat

Teen retreat participant

“I learned that many of my anxieties and insecurities aren’t fixed, immovable parts of me, and that with practice and patience, I can work through them and tap into joy.”

– 17 Year Old Male-Identified, Summer Retreat Participant

The Return to Residential Retreats

Oh, how we missed hearing that bell!

The Massachusetts Teen Summer Retreat was our first in-person residential retreat since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-six teens attended the retreat which was filled to capacity with a large waiting list several months in advance.

There was clear consensus among the teens that attending this retreat was extremely valuable in helping with their ongoing navigation and processing of the pandemic. Many of the attendees expressed how difficult the past year had been for them and how healing it felt to be part of a community again, finally having the support and time they needed to focus on their mental and emotional health.

Images and videos of the retreat give us a taste of just how powerful it was. For more inspiration, check out the full story on our blog.

Explore the Full Story

Teen retreat participant

“I learned how important it is to love myself. I learned that coming back and showing up is part of the process, not a screw up.”

– 19 Year Old Female-Identified, Summer Retreat Participant

Program Highlights

We are embodying our place as a national leader in immersive mindfulness education and strengthening the movement by deepening our awareness of and skills related to accessibility, equity, and justice.

Affinity Programs

Every human being should have the right to experience empathy and compassion, and to live in a world that is safe and just. Holding retreats for specific identity groups, such as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+, is a powerful way to nurture our multi-identity beloved community and increase accessibility to groups that have been historically underserved. In 2021, we held our first annual LGBTQ+ Retreat (31 teens) and our third annual Teens of Color Retreat (19 teens). We also offered a schedule of recurring monthly and weekly drop-ins for four different affinity groups.

Teacher Training Program

Our year-long, internationally-certified Teacher Training Program provides youth-serving adults with the tools to share in-depth mindfulness education. In 2021, we welcomed a new cohort of 44 educators, counselors, therapists, and nonprofit leaders committed to improving the lives of adolescents.

Koru Partnership

Since 2019, iBme has been partnering with Koru Mindfulness, a national leader in mindfulness for college students, to provide college break in-person and online retreats. Two retreats were hosted with Koru in 2021. The partnership has welcome 240 college students on retreat since its inception.

Equity and Interdependence (EI) Learning and Action

We thrive at the intersection of caring for young people, stewarding of Earth, committing to non-harm, and investigating and disrupting systems of oppression. In our institutional policies, organizational practices, and programming, we create conditions that cultivate a greater sense of belonging in our radically diverse community. – EI Strategic Goal

In 2021, we built organizational capacity and took several steps with our Equity and Interdependence goals. Major accomplishments included hosting 12 community conversations and practices, with an average of 30 participants per session, and expanding the equity training program received by our teachers, mentors, and retreat coordinators.


Our extensive community of steadfast, expert faculty and mentors are responsively meeting the needs of youth during the pandemic, whether that be online or safely and compassionately transitioning back to in-person programs.

Teen retreat participant

100% of teens agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend iBme retreats to a friend

98% of teens agreed or strongly agreed that they
had an overall positive experience on the retreat

– 2021 Northeast Teen Retreat

Collaborative Leadership

We are collectively creating a governance system and leadership culture that is accountable, transparent, and diverse.

Two years into the organization-wide transformation, iBme’s Collaborative Leadership continues to evolve to respond to the needs of individuals and groups within the system. As expected, the implementation has had its share of successes as well as challenges, especially with the global pandemic being an unforeseeable and impactful variable.

In 2021, much progress was made in developing a comprehensive handbook of living processes, policies, and agreements. Additionally, two new committees were launched – Youth Advisory and Equity and Interdependence. Please explore the section below for committee descriptions and to meet the founding members!

The YAC is composed of youth leadership within iBme, and it is responsible for advising Staff and all Committees and offering input and feedback on program design, implementation, and evaluation; marketing and communications; and deepening youth engagement strategies. The YAC also provides a venue for centering the youth experience at iBme, while also building the skills of the young people themselves.

Falcon Laina profile photo

Falcon Laina

Gia DePalma profile photo

Gia DePalma

Gracie Yaconelli profile photo

Gracie Yaconelli

Jess Berkun profile photo

Jess Berkun

Liam Berigan profile photo

Liam Berigan

Mina Bostwick profile photo

Mina Bostwick

Sundara Jones-Quartey profile photo

Sundara Jones-Quartey

Taeya Boi-Doku profile photo

Taeya Boi-Doku

Xavier Banson profile photo

Xavier Banson

Zadie Jivan profile photo

Zadie Jivan

The EIC holds responsibility for offering input and feedback on EI priorities for the organization, creation of Equity curriculum for retreat staff and Committee members, and offers support in training new and existing members of the community in EI.

Abigail Lo profile photo

Abigail Lo

Adrienne Scott profile photo

Adrienne Scott

Anthony Sartori profile photo

Anthony Sartori

Jacqui Clay profile photo

Jacqui Clay

Ohilda Holguin profile photo

Ohilda Holguin

Raquel Castro profile photo

Raquel Castro

Tonya Jones profile photo

Tonya Jones


We are nurturing a sustainable financial model that prioritizes accessibility, diversity, and quality for our programs.

Teen retreat participant

“Leaving is the hardest part. I wanted to stay here forever! The people, the energy, the practice, the lack of technology. It’s a sacred space.”

– 15 Year Old Nonbinary, Teen Retreat Participant

Thank you!

We are committed to making our transformative programs and the skills of mindfulness and compassion available to all teens, independent of financial means and in the most culturally relevant way possible.

The philanthropic supporters of iBme play a critical role in helping us nurture this growing community and allowing us to maintain our mission-based commitment to accessibility, regardless of income. We are so grateful for your shared passion for our mission. By supporting young people to deepen awareness, compassion, and ethics and empowering their voices, we are investing in our collective future, one with greater liberation, justice, and well-being for us all.

Be part of the next chapter.

We are preparing for a full return to our summer retreat schedule with six teen retreats planned in the Northeast, Michigan, Washington, and California. Help us make this the best summer yet!