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Support Collective Effort of Mentoring Youth to Careers

Support Collective Effort of Mentoring Youth to Careers

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Published by Daniel F. Bassill
This letter introduces the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, showing its efforts since 1993 to build an information based portal that leaders would use to support their own investments in mentoring youth from a birth in a poverty neighborhood to a job and growing career over a 25 year period of support.
This letter introduces the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, showing its efforts since 1993 to build an information based portal that leaders would use to support their own investments in mentoring youth from a birth in a poverty neighborhood to a job and growing career over a 25 year period of support.

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Published by: Daniel F. Bassill on Jan 27, 2012
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Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il. 60654
Building and sustaining a Collective Effort aimed at helping inner city youth movethrough school and into jobs and careers.
On Feb. 4, 2011 a White House Council on Community Solutions meeting was held inWashington. One of the workshops, hosted by John Kania of FSG consulting, focusedon Collective Impact.On March 23, FSG & Stanford Social Innovation Review hosted a conference inCalifornia, titled Collective Impact: Creating Larger Scale Social Change. This was afollow up to an article written by FSG and posted in the SSIR in December 2010 whichcan be found athttp://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/collective_impact/ I’ve been reading this information, and I recognize the challenges pointed out in thearticles and the opportunities of bringing large number of groups together around acommon purpose.From 1993 to June 2011 I led a small non-profit in Chicago called Cabrini Connections,Tutor/Mentor Connection (CC, T/MC). While the CC part was a site based tutor/mentor program serving 70-80 7
th
-12h grade teens each year, the T/MC strategy was aimed athelping mentor-rich programs operate and reach more youth in all poverty areas of Chicago. Through the T/MC we’ve been bringing people together in a collective effortsince 1993, with the goal of “doing all we can to help inner city youth move successfullythrough school and into jobs and careers.”This effort was funded by the leaders and volunteers of the Cabrini Connectionsprogram and never was able to generate the leadership support and philanthropicinvestment needed to impact the whole city. Thus, after 18 years the Board decided inApril 2011 to no longer support the T/MC strategy and only focus on the single site-based program.
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, Tutor/Mentor Connection – a Collective EffortPage 1
 
I resigned in July and created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC(www.tutormentorexchange.net) to continue this work in Chicago and to help similar groups form in other urban areas of the US and the world. I’d like to invite your company, university, faith groups and/or foundation to become a partner in this effort.Help us build the philanthropic capital, talent and civic reach that is needed to grow our organizational capacity to lead this effort.This graphic is one of many that have been developedsince 1993 to express our ideas. This link points toone place on the Internet where I share graphics andideas. http://www.scribd.com/daniel-f-bassill-7291Please think of it as a strategy for building collectiveefforts aimed at reaching the goal in Step 7: “
Moreyouth stay in school, are safe in non-school hours,graduate, and move to careers
.”That is a goal that should unite every sector of Chicago business, political leadership,philanthropy and education. Yet while millions of dollars have been spent, too manyyoung people still drop out of school before graduation, too many don’t have the skills tosucceed in college, and too many don’t have the networks of support that kids in moreaffluent areas grow up with.Many donors only want to fund programs. Others only want to fund policy or research. Iwould like your help to redefine what we are all doing as a “collective effort to help moreof Chicago’s kids become productive adults”.The Cabrini Connections part of our organization was a “site based tutor/mentor program”. We want to encourage people to think of programs like this differently. Theyare a “collective effort” of many people over many years to help kids who come to us in7
th
grade be finishing high school 6 years later and be starting productive jobs andcareers another four to eight years after that.This graphic illustrates our goal of connectingvolunteers and businesses in efforts that pullyouth through school to jobs. This is a 12 year process for kids starting in 1
st
grade. It will takethe collective effort and ownership of manyleaders to provide the continuous resourcesneeded for tutor/mentor programs to beoperating in every neighborhood withvolunteers, philanthropic partners, and other leaders working to help each be the best theycan at helping kids move up this ladder.When we launched Cabrini Connections in 1993 we realized that the city did not have amaster database of tutor/mentor programs, or a “collective effort” aimed at helping eachprogram be the best it could be at connecting youth and volunteers. We also recognized
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, Tutor/Mentor Connection – a Collective EffortPage 2
 
that we’d have a difficult time funding our own efforts as just one more tutor/mentor program in a city where people perceived that there were already too many of us.So, we decided to fill the void. We created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which at itscore
is an information-based networking effort
. In the graphic above we show thatthe first step in building any type of collective effort is that someone has to build adatabase and mailing list consisting of the people they want to connect and the peoplethey want to help.We have been building this since 1993 and maintaining it everyyear. We have piloted the use of GIS maps to show thedistribution of these programs with poverty overlays showingwhere they are most needed. This is now a searchable mapbased system athttp://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.netBecause wehave thedatabase we’vebeen the only organization in the cityable to constantly invite programs fromthroughout the city to connect and shareideas, while also creating greater publicawareness intended to draw volunteersand donors to ALL of the differentvolunteer-based tutor/mentor programsin the city. We’ve printed our directoryand created an on-line version andorganized events and public awarenessactivities intended to draw programstogether to learn and build relationshipswith each other, while also attractingvolunteers and donor directly to the individual programs. The Lend A Hand Program atthe Chicago Bar Association has raised more than $2.5 million since 1994 to fundtutor/mentor programs as a result of our efforts. Two other programs received $50kgrants in 2007 as a result of our efforts.We don’t think that in a city like Chicago any leader will every be able to unite everyother non profit, the business community and the philanthropy community around asingle banner and organizational structure, or keep that energized for 10 to 30 years.Instead, we seek to build off the strengths of decentralized organizations, and the ideasrepresented in a book titled The Spider and the Star Fish, which describes companieslike eBey supporting the independent actions of millions of user/owners.By creating an information base, on-going recognition of good ideas, good organizationsand effective philanthropy supporting the growth of mentor-rich organizations, we feel wecan use the strengths of social media and the internet to support the actions of manyleaders, over many years, all focused on a common goal of “helping kids born in povertytoday be in jobs/careers in 25 years.”
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