Monday, June 09, 2008

"Our greatest challenge is the gaps between rich and poor." Jimmy Carter

I was inspired to hear former President Jimmy Carter as he addressed the National Conference on Volunteerism and Community Service last week. He talked about the gaps between rich and poor, and then demonstrated what he is doing to close this gap by providing awards to three university-community engagement projects.

I toured the Carter Center in Atlanta last week and visited the web site. The only thing I did not find was a section showing how maps can be used to support the distribution of volunteers, dollars, technology, etc. to all of the places arround the world where this gap persists.

The chart on this page is one that I drew as I attended workshops focused on business and university engagement. I'm trying to reverse the traditional two-way process of how nonprofits obtain resources from people who already have a self interest in wanting these non profits to be successful in their missions. We'll never have great social benefit programs in a majority of the places where they are needed based on the current system of competitive allocation.

Yet, if we can engage the talent of volunteers and leaders to serve in intermediary roles, we can do more to connect people who can help with places where help is needed.

I put these and similar charts on the T/MC web site with a goal that they are used by groups of people in universities, churches, businesses, etc. who want to become more strategic, and more engaged, in the ways they use their talent, time and resources to help end poverty in Chicago, and other cities around the world. I'm also looking for volunteers who will help improve the way these ideas are communicated, visually, via podcasts, animation, and using the tools that many of you know much better than I do.

Read more articles showing this role of intermediaries and uses of map and charts in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of the T/MC web site.

If you know of places where discussions are taking place online with a goal of connecting networks of volunteers and donors to help distribute needed resources throughout the USA, or the world, please share links to such places via comments on this blog, or links posted on the T/MC discussion board.

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