Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day. Service. How Much is Required?

I served in the Army from 1968 to 1971. I did not do anything special. I was in South Korea my final year. I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal in my final month. That's nothing compared to what millions of men and women in the US Armed Forces have sacrificed to keep this nation free and strong.

Yet, as the photos above show, my service did not end in 1971 when leaving the Army. By a strange set of circumstances I became a mentor working with a boy named Leo in 1973, then leader of a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program in 1975. In 1993 I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, with a goal of helping well-organized, ongoing, non-school tutor/mentor programs be available to youth like Leo in all high poverty areas of Chicago. Since 1998 I've been sharing my ideas on the Internet since every major city in the world has small concentrations of poverty where youth grow up without hope for the futures that so many other children take for granted.

In 2011 I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in an effort to continue the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and support similar intermediary groups in other cities. Since I'm now approaching age 68, my goal has also been to find a place that would continue the work I've been doing in future years.

I just hosted a 42nd Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference since May 1994 and in August, was an honored guest at Leo's 50th birthday celebration.

I've written articles about service and heroes often in the past, often during national holidays like Veteran's Day. I keep asking why people won't sacrifice huge amounts of time, talent and dollars to make America a better place for all families to raise children, not just celebrate the sacrifice men and women give when they fight America's battles on foreign soil.

From 1990 to 2011 I operated under a 501-c-3 tax status, and was able to raise nearly $6 million from companies, foundations, family and friends to support the Cabrini Connections program and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Never with any consistency. Since 2011 I've been doing the same work, but under an LLC tax status. I've reduced expenses to bare bones, under $20,000 a year, yet I've operated at a financial loss each year since 2011 due to my inability to find investors, partners and/or supporters who share the same vision and purpose I share in these article, and are willing to support it with time, talent and dollars.

In 2011 I created this "HOPE" graphic, asking supporters to provide funds to support my continued efforts. You can still do that via this page.

Later I created this graphic, saying "If companies can put their name and logo on race car driver uniforms, why won't they do the same for social innovators and people working to create a better future for people in our world?" Read more about this idea.

Unfortunately, while I've had many people praise my work, I've yet to find consistent revenue to operate in the black, or an investor who will designate $25 to $30 million to create a Tutor/Mentor Institute on a college campus, or as a stand-alone organization.

If you're able to help figure this out or make the connection, please do it as your own act of service on this Veteran's Day.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

I really appreciate Jordan Hesterman for posting this comment on Facebook:

"I'd like to thank one veteran particularly and publicly today (there are many of you that I know, love, and appreciate. Everyday.). And that is because he is one of those people that sacrifices on a day to day basis to help make the world a better place. And he is one of a handful of people I meet with that consistently makes me walk away from our meetings feeling motivated and thinking, "I could definitely be doing more than I am," even when I am feeling like there just are not enough hours in the day to do so. I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of the people he has connected to and I have seen hundreds of people that he has influenced through his endless hours of working toward "the greater good." And I know that for each of those hundreds out there, there are hundreds more. He is an amazing example of service to others, every single day. So, thank you, Daniel F. Bassill for all that you have done and continue to do."