Thursday, November 16, 2006

$2 Million Award supports Chicago volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs!

Over the past two years I've posted many messages showing how the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been working to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in Chicago and in other major cities. That has been a three part effort

a) building knowledge of who does this work, what works, who supports it, etc.

b) drawing programs together to learn from each other and collaborate on capacity building

c) working with business and professional groups to create strategies that distribute funds annually to tutor/mentor programs in every part of the city, instead of just to one or two favorite, or highly visible programs.

The best example of our success in getting businesses involved has been the work we've done since 1994 to help the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend A Hand Program ( ) grow at the Chicago Bar Association. Since 1995 the LAH has been able to award $30,000 to $50,000 each year in small grants to 20-30 different programs. The photo above shows the Thomas A Demetrio Lend A Hand Award recognizing an outstanding example of a Chicago tutor/mentor program, being awarded during a Tutor/Mentor Conference.
While these were welcome, the size of the grant means the programs still had to find about 98% of the money needed to operate from other sources.

Yesterday the LAH received $2 million from the Chicago Sun Times as part of a legal settlement. These funds will increase the grant pool to as much as $300,000 per year over the next 3 to 5 years, and dramatically increase the size of grants awarded to tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago area.

This is the result of our efforts to connect those who can help with volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs who are helping inner city kids reach careers. It's also a result of many tutor/mentor programs participating in the May and November conference, and the August/September Volunteer Recruitment Campaigns, organized by the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

The goal of the T/MC is to have the Lend A Hand duplicated in every industry, so that tutor/mentor programs receive funds, and volunteers, from many sources, not just the legal community. The way we hope to achieve this is that more tutor/mentor leaders in Chicago will become active partners in this strategy, and that program leaders in other communities begin to work with the T/MC as collaborators so that the business and professional groups in their own community will adopt this strategy.

The best way to get more involved is to participate in the Nov. 30 Tutor/Mentor Conference being held at DePaul University, 1 E Jackson. Read about the conference at

This strategy can be duplicated in Rockford, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, or any other major city. I encourage you to connect with the T/MC so we can help you take a T/MC type leadership in your neighborhood, or your city. To get involved, post a message in the Discussion Forum, or email me at

No comments: