Monday, March 02, 2015

Racial Segregation Deeply Rooted. Class Separation Growing

This article from The Atlantic, written by Richard Florida, includes a map showing changes in segregation over many decades. He concludes with this quote:

Where cities and neighborhoods once mixed different kinds of people together, they are now becoming more homogeneous and segregated by income, education, and occupation. … It is not just that the economic divide in America has grown wider; it’s that the rich and poor effectively occupy different worlds, even when they live in the same cities and metros.

I support volunteer involvement in organized, site based non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs because of the way they connect people from different economic and education backgrounds, as well as from different racial backgrounds. Some of the well established programs have volunteers who have been involved 10 years and longer.

Here's my list of Chicago tutoring and/or mentoring programs. They vary greatly in how long they have been in business, how well organized they are, and where they are located. I encourage you to pick one and make a long-term commitment to help it become the best in the country at connecting youth, volunteers, ideas and opportunities.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Connecting those who can help, with those who need help - Donor Engagement

I found a great article on Forbes titled, Social Enterprise vs. Non-Profits: Is There Really A Difference? in which one fund raising professional says "labels of non-profit and for-profit are merely tax differentiators".

This is an interview with Atul Tandon, who "was named by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as one of the best fundraisers in the country". I hope you'll read the article. It's important to me since I'm no longer operating under a 501-c-3 tax status, but I'm still doing the same work I've been doing since 1993 under a 501-c-3 status. I still need financial support from others to help me do this work.

Mr. Tandon describes successful non profit leaders as "bridge builders" who are "building bridges between donors and the cause and the beneficiary." That's what I do.

No visualizations were included in the Forbes article, but I've included a few of my own visualizations, created over the past 20 years, to illustrate how much I see myself in this role, connecting people who can help, to organizations who engage volunteers in organizations intended to help transform the lives of youth living in high poverty inner city neighborhoods.

If you do a Google search for "tutor/mentor institute network building" then look at the images page, you'll see quite a few more visualizations illustrating how I seek to connect people from many different sectors, with information and ideas they can use to support youth serving organizations reaching youth in high poverty areas.

I've also posted a few of my graphics on Pinterest. Take a look. If this helps you understand what I'm doing, I hope you won't let my tax status keep you from taking a role and helping me do this.

Thanks to Linda Spencer, who shared this Forbes article via a Linkedin Group.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tutor/Mentor Video Collection

Teens, volunteers and interns have been creating videos to tell the tutor/mentor story, and Tutor/Mentor Connection strategies, since the early 1990s. These can be found on YouTube and Vimeo, but not in a single location. Click here to see videos created in the past three years, then click on my subscriptions to find three other channels on YouTube with videos created in past years when I was leading Cabrini Connections. You'll even find a video created by Sara Caldwell in 1990, when we were with the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program.

Today I was looking for some past videos and found this one, where I talk of some of the reasons I've been involved with tutor/mentor programs since 1973. It's one of many you can find here on Vimeo.

To see even more videos, from past conferences and/or interviews I've done, click here.

The stories from the past tell the same message as the one I'm telling now. Volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, if they are well organized, involve a wide range of volunteers from different backgrounds, and are consistently funded, can have a long-term impact on youth and volunteers, as well as leaders such as myself.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chicago Election. Long Term Results

This is the back page of an 8 page newsletter that I picked up while attending the 1997 Presidents' Summit for America's Future event in Philadelphia. I was a Chicago delegate, and my organization, the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), was one of 50 Teaching Examples with booths at the Summit.

I was hoping this event would launch a wave of reinforcements (talent, dollars, ideas, etc.) to support site based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities, as well as intermediaries like the T/MC who were collecting and sharing information, and organizing events, intended to draw these resources directly to tutor/mentor programs.

I tried to find this organization on the web site, but it no longer exists, at least under this web address. The organization supporting this effort is, which you can find here.

As you can see from this graphic, which is the front cover of the 1995 Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs Directory that the T/MC compiled, I've been collecting information about Chicago tutor/mentor programs since before 1995, and have been using maps to show where existing programs are located as well as where more are needed, for just as long.

Chicago is electing a new Mayor this week, and new aldermen in many Wards. I've shared my strategies for using maps with many, for many years, but have yet to see any consistent use of maps to draw attention and resources to places in Chicago, or its suburbs, where indicators show a need for extra support for youth and families.

Furthermore, since I started using maps in 1994, I've yet to see a President, Mayor, national leadership groups like America's Promise, etc. use maps consistently and for the purpose of drawing resources to places already operating, so each could constantly improve.

I've been sharing ideas showing a planning process that I'm sure leaders in business and the military use (to some extent), that focuses on "everything" that needs to be done to fight and win a war. This involves far more than putting combat troops in places of conflict. It involves building supply chains, recruiting and training programs, and educating the public so it has the will to support a long term effort. This PDF is one of many I share in my web library. It's free and has been available for many years.

Planning Cycle - War on Poverty by Daniel F. Bassill


If you're a leader, or get elected this week to be a leader in Chicago, I encourage you to use maps in this way. If you lead a youth serving organization, or youth publication, encourage your teens and volunteers to create stories using maps, and calling on resource providers to fill high poverty areas with needed volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs, as well as the talent, dollars and technology each program needs to operate, and constantly improve.

Here's the front cover of the publication that I point to above.

Five Presidents were featured and pledged to help the most at risk kids in America get mentors and find safe places to learn, play and connect during non school hours. Too bad none of them, or Presidents elected since then, have done this consistently, nor used maps in their own efforts to mobilize resources to support youth serving organizations.

By the way, I'm looking for partners, sponsors, volunteers and a wide range of help to update my own mapping platform and to support the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences that I host every six months in Chicago. Click here to make a sponsor contribution that supports my efforts.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Case for Business Investment in Mentoring

David Shapiro, CEO of Mentor, has made a strong case for business investment in mentoring programs, in this Huffington Post article. I created the concept map below to point to recommended reading that would strengthen business commitment to investing in volunteer based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. I point to many places of potential involvement in the Chicago Program Links section of my web library. This concept map, and several others, is part of a series of blog articles I wrote from late October through early February.

David encourages businesses to support involvement of their volunteers. I offer some suggestions for how to do that in this ROLE of Leaders PDF. This is one of a collection of illustrated PDFs that I've created to show ways to support the growth of volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring and learning programs in more places where they are needed. Below is one that focuses on engaging employee talent, not as direct tutors/mentors, but as people who build the organizational strength needed by every tutor/mentor programs to support volunteer and youth involvement.

Recruiting Talent Volunteers for Youth Tutoring, Mentoring, Learning Programs by Daniel F. Bassill

If you are doing business in Chicago our within 150 miles I encourage you to take a role in the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences that I've hosted every six months since May 1994. The next is Friday, May 8. Organize a workshop to show how you engage employee volunteers and support places where they volunteer. Invite other businesses to attend and share their own strategies. While you may compete in the workplace, and for employees, share what you learn to help more youth in America benefit from participation in well-organized tutoring, mentoring and learning programs. Use this form to present a workshop. Use this form to become a financial supporter.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Building Great Programs Takes Constant Investment

"Good to Great" & the development of Great Volunteer-Based Tutor/Mentor Programs

How many of you have read the Jim Collins book titled "Good to Great and the Social Sectors"? If not, you get a copy from your local library or and read it.

Here are some links to blog articles where the writers summarize this book


"Good-Great: Social Sector"

Read this Tactical Philanthropy series of articles and reflect on the resources needed to grow from good to great, and to stay great for many years.

I’ve applied Good to Great concepts in the leadership of Cabrini Connections (1993-2011) and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) (and before that in my leadership of the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini Green Tutoring Program since 1977 when I learned about Total Quality Management (TQM) while working as an Advertising Manager at Wards. I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute,LLC (T/MI) to continue to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago, while helping similar intermediaries grow in other cities.

I was lucky to have many mentors during the early years and one said “If you don’t write you plan on paper, you don’t have a plan.” Thus, every year since then I’ve written the plan, and made an effort to share it with others in the organization who needed to be the people who embraced the plan and made it a reality.

I now share that plan via our web sites and this wiki with people from around the world.

Since Good to Great is a new way to understand process improvement, I am embracing it, and think this can really help us focus the board and all of our other volunteers on the mission of any single tutor/mentor program and the Tutor/Mentor Connection type citywide strategy rather than just the fund raising.

Below I’ve listed what I feel our our Hedgehog values. Do you agree with these? Are there others that you might add to the list, or that you feel are more important than these?

Do these ignite your passions and make you want to sacrifice as much as our soldiers in Iraq to end poverty through mentoring kids to careers? Maybe that’s an extreme example of commitment, but what would it take you to make a sacrifice that is even 10 or 20% of what’s represented by the “ultimate sacrifice”?

Hedgehog Roles

a) Getting a youth and volunteers is only the start of the tutor/mentor process. A program needs to keep youth involved and connected from when they first connect at least through 12th grade. We've tried to do this since 1993 for youth living in the Cabrini Green area of Chicago, giving more than 580 youth the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive, long-term tutor/mentor program (Cabrini Connections), which connects them with a diverse base of adult mentors and learning experiences. From 1975 to 1992 we applied the same concepts in a program serving younger 2nd to 8th grade youth.

If we were not providing this, no one else would be.

Just keeping a non-profit organization like Cabrini Connections, or any of the other youth serving organizations on this list) funded and operating from year-to-year, is a tremendous accomplishment.

b)T/MI maintains a database of Chicago area non-school tutor/mentor programs and an understanding of where they are located, vs where they are most needed in the Chicago region.

No one else in the Chicago region is providing this type of information, at this level of detail.

No one else (in Chicago or in any other big city) is using maps or internet-based databases the way T/MI is to draw resources directly to existing tutor/mentor programs.

If T/MI were not providing this, no one else would be.

c) T/MI uses the database to invite program leaders and stakeholders to gather on a regular basis for networking/learning and capacity-building activities that benefit ALL programs, not just a few highly visible programs.

If T/MI was not providing this service, no one else would be. (No one else can without building and maintaining the type of database we own). What T/MI is doing is providing a form of community information, which is described in this white paper by Peter Levine of Tufts University.

d) T/MI focuses on building strategic involvement and long-term commitment from the business community, which uses company resources (people, dollars, jobs, etc.) to build great programs that PULL kids to careers. (See article showing information in this graphic.)

Most others focus on what government, teachers, parents need to do. T/MI focuses on what business and private sector needs to do because it recognizes that there is not enough government money to fuel the operations of non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs in all the places they need to be, and for all of the years they need to grow to be good, then to be great.

e) T/MI uses the Internet to connect people and ideas from around the world, and to stimulate the flow of resources directly to t/m programs throughout Chicago.

In the Chicago Programs Links section of the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site visitors can look at web sites of nearly 200 youth serving organizations in the Chicago region. In another section are over 100 links to youth organizations and networks beyond Chicago. Anyone can look through these sites to borrow ideas they might apply to constantly improve their own organizations. In articles like this one, we encourage programs to be more transparent, showing how they do what they do, so donors and volunteers can more easily see who they want to support and so programs can learn from each other. In articles like this one we encourage business volunteers to use their talent to help programs communicate their ideas, and innovate constant improvement.

This information is what unites us as a community of purpose. As more of our members understand this information we create many owners and many leaders. We can withstand any changes in leadership. We can constantly get better at what we do.

One of the articles I point to is a pdf from the UCLA Center on Mental Health in Schools. The title is School Engagement, Disengagement, Learning Supports, & School Climate. This focuses on motivation, which is the fuel that drives student learning and aspirations. I encourage volunteers to read this, think about this, discuss it with others, and try to find ways to help tutor/mentor programs motivate students, volunteers and leaders to do more each year to help us achieve our mission of helping kids to high school graduation, college, then careers.

f) T/MI is a learning organization. The information T/MI shares on these wikis and our web sites is available to any member or supporter. We need to find time to read, reflect and use this information on an on-going basis. This is a lesson I have tried to teach staff, volunteers and partners of Cabrini Connections since we formed in 1993. It's also the core idea we share through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Leaders, volunteers, students, donors and supporters of volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs need to become active network weavers, people who use search engines like Google to find places where other people are offering tutoring/mentoring, or discussing issues related to effective tutoring/mentoring. In these groups members need to participate, sharing information from what they do at their own programs, and providing invitations for people in these groups to use our web sites, or join in the activities that we do.

I do this every day, and if you search Google for 'Bassill', or ‘tutor mentor’ you will find numerous places where I am actively networking. When you do this search, look at the Images section so see how we use maps and visualizations to communicate ideas and strategies. Each person in a tutor/mentor program and a tutor/mentor community should set a personal goal to be active in 5-10 places each month, over the course of a year. If 50 people are doing what Dan does, we can dramatically increase the influence of the ideas we all share, and the number of people who are helping us achieve our mission.

If we were not doing this, no one else would be (and no one else can unless they maintain a database, and lead a resource building effort)

g) I have more than 35 years of knowledge about how to involve volunteers in a non-school tutor/mentor program, along with the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of other people and organizations, and we use this to

1. help parents, teachers, social workers, volunteers, donors, etc. find existing tutor/mentor programs near where they live/work

2. help individual programs grow from Good to Great, while helping new programs fill voids

3. help networks like T/MC grow in other cities and in other social service sectors (which network with the Chicago T/MC in a shared effort of helping programs grow from good to great)

h) Through the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, I have innovated a knowledge-based innovation and networking process that can be applied by people in other cities, or in any other social benefit sector.

i) T/MI has piloted innovative network-building tools using maps, graphics, video, animation and interactive on-line databases. These can be applied in other cities for the same purpose as we use them in Chicago, or in other social benefit sectors.

Few other organizations in the country can claim this many years of continuous learning and application of knowledge to build and sustain a volunteer based tutor/mentor program.

However, I have not communicated these ideas effectively to enough people and have not built the leadership team and organizational strength to be able to expand our influence and fully develop and share these ideas. That continues to be the goal of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC for the next five to ten years.

Tutor/Mentor Learning Path now on YouTube

Last week Wona Chang, the 2015 Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC intern from IIT and South Korea, created a Prezi visualization that guides visitors through the various information on the T/MI web sites. Yesterday she created a video version, which you can see below. Good work, Wona!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Navigation of Tutor/Mentor Institute web site

Wona Chang, the T/MI's 2015 intern from IIT and South Korea, created this visualization to guide visitors through the different sections of the web site. There's an English language version and a Korean language version.

One of the best ways to learn is to spend time diagramming and writing about what you are learning. Creating leaders who are prepared to deal with the complexity of poverty, and of building and sustaining resources and programs to overcome poverty, requires leaders who have habits of deeper learning and are willing to make the sacrifices of time and effort to build their knowledge base.

Below is the same presentation, but converted to show on YouTube.