Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chicago Charity losing political support

An article in today's Chicago Tribune told of how the "well-connected Chicago Cultural Center Foundation, is now in serious disarray and could be headed for closure." Seems that because of the late Maggie Daley's involvement millions of dollars flowed to the charity from philanthropic, business and city hall. Now that she's gone and there's a new Mayor in town, that support has lessened to the point that the charity is considering closing down.

When I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 I wanted to generate private support because I realized that no publicly supported social benefit organization could last through the changes of political leadership over time. Even though the Daley machine was in power for over 20 years, it to has ended before the problems of poverty in Chicago have been resolved.

Unfortunately I was never able to generate consistent or significant philanthropic investment in the T/MC so now I'm trying to fund it through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. I wrote this article last spring showing lost opportunities resulting from not being a favored charity.

It's great that some charities supported by the Mayor and Mrs. Daley were blessed with philanthropic support over the past two decades. However, the downside is that other charities which may have had good ideas, maybe even better strategies, were not as well supported.

I created this video last year with the hope that the new Mayor would use maps and data, and the power of his office, to draw volunteers, donors, dollars, technology, etc. to all of the neighborhoods where kids need help instead of just to a few favored programs.

This may be something that's being discussed behind closed doors. Maybe there is a committee of a few business leaders and chosen philanthropic leaders who are talking about this. However, I've been using maps for almost 20 years and I've not been invited into any conversations where people who are thinking of investing new money might ask what I've learned and what they might do to help build on what I've started rather than starting from scratch.

There's a discussion about "cultivating empathy" taking place on Social Edge this week. It will be archived so you can visit it any time you find this article. I'd like to see the new Mayor focusing on how he can connect rich and poor, Black, White, and Latino, and people of different faith groups in ways that generate greater empathy and understanding and which build long-term commitment to social problem solving solutions that will last even beyond the time this Mayor is in, or in Washington.

1 comment:

roman shuster said...

This is very interesting Dan. You have really hit on the problem and are take high level steps to address this issue.