Thursday, October 26, 2017

Nobel Prize, Giraffes and Tutor/Mentor. What's the Link?

I wrote this article in 2006 and thought I'd update it today.  

In October 2006, I received the following email from the Giraffe Foundation:

A Second Giraffe Wins Nobel Peace Prize
There was much jubilation here at the news last week that Muhammad Yunus 
( ) had won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006. Yunus was commended as a Giraffe way back in 1987. He follows Giraffe Wangari Maathai ( , who was commended as a Giraffe in 1990 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. We happily suggest that the Nobel Committee check our files now for potential future winners.

What's the connection? Daniel F. Bassill (that's me), founder and president of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), was commended as a Giraffe in 1997. I've been proud to wear the Giraffe pin on my coat for almost a decade.

I keep telling people that we can earn awards like this, if they will join me in the efforts of the T/MC. Over the past couple of days, I've been talking to Phil Cubeta at GIFT HUB and Sean Stannard-Stockton at about ways generous acts of kindness can add up as strategic, long-term support of non profits working to help kids grow from first grade to first job, or working to help solve other long-term challenges.

My goal is to use maps, databases, the Internet, and social networking/collaboration tools to draw donors and volunteers to maps where they see where the need for charity dollars, or volunteers is, and choose among many agencies to decide who to help, and how much to help. By using information as a middle man in this process, we can improve the distribution of support to all places where help is needed, and sustain it for the many years it takes for organizations to grow from good to great.

If we can make this work, I think it deserves a Nobel Prize.

While I've not received a Nobel Prize or MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, here's a list of recognition I have received.

That's what I wrote in 2006. Much has change since then in my ability to do this work, yet my vision is the same.

A few years ago I created this graphic to show the obstacles that have contributed to my inability to fully develop my vision for using maps and building a community of support for well-organized, non-school, tutoring, mentoring and learning programs in all high poverty areas.

You can see several dips on this time line. The 2008 financial sector melt-down ultimately caused me to separate from the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program and form the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue doing this work.

I continue to believe that there are people in the world who would support my work, partially fueled by stories of multi-million dollar donations to local universities. In 2008 I wrote this article, following news of a $300 million donation to the University of Chicago by an alum.

In my article I made this observation:

I read in today's Chicago Tribune Business Section that now that the University has the donation, "the hard part" is to figure out how to use that $300 million donation. Not for me.

This week I'm reading about another huge donation to the University of Chicago. That tells me the money is out there.

I keep sharing this graphic, which illustrates how people who read my blogs could be passing on what they read to people in their own network, via social media, traditional media, phone and email and plain old fashion one-on-one conversations.

Using the six degrees of separation rule, that means that the people they know, who also share this information, will ultimately reach someone with very deep pockets who is interested in investing in the Tutor/Mentor Connection and completely upgrading it for the next 20 years.

Maybe he/she will win the Nobel Prize as a result.

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