Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stimulus Package for Volunteer Based Organizations

There are three articles I encourage you to read.

Cabrini Fund Raising - Stimulus Package for Tutor/Mentor Programs

Cabrini Blog - It Takes the Right Players

Social Edge discussion - Issue Fatigue - what does it take to keep donors and volunteers and leaders focused on your cause?

In the Tutor/Mentor Institute we post a variety of essays with charts illustrating that it takes 12 years for a youth to go from 1st grade to 12th grade graduation. Sounds like a simple idea. Yet there is very little public policy, or leadership, that keeps donors and volunteers focused on non-school tutor/mentor programs on a consistent basis that it takes for the kids we serve to finish high school, let alone finish college, or have volunteers helping them get job interviews when they are in their 20s.

Non profits who engage volunteers and connect them with kids are providing many services, not the least is that they provide jobs! While the government may not include us in the stimulus package, volunteers who are part of tutor/mentor programs, serving on boards, or who have been mentored by someone in their journey to a job, can build their own stimulus strategy, distributing funds that not only sustain existing programs, but which enable programs to add new talent from among all of the people who are out of work.

While building a bridge might employee many people, it might take a year or more for the project to be off the ground. Send me $60,000 today and I can hire and provide health benefits for two more people to help me at Cabrini Connections. Send the same money to many of the other Tutor/Mentor programs listed in Chicago Programs Link and you get the same immediate impact.

You say this is not possible? Look at Lawyers Lend A Hand and you'll see that they have raised new money and awarded grants of $217,000 in 2008 and $240,000 in 2007. One of these enabled us to employ a full time coordinator for the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which is enabling us to bring more programs together and do more to maintain the database that we point parents, volunteers and donors to so they can help tutor/mentor programs in all of Chicago.

For us to keep this position in 2009, the stimulus package you provide needs to provide the dollars for us to do this. Isn't that what this is all about?

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