Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference in San Francisco

People talking about
helping others.
There's a big conference of grant makers taking place in San Francisco this week, organized by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.  I attended on Monday, via my PC, watching the live session on Monday, and planning to watch again today or tomorrow, from this Facebook page.

Here's a blog article by Kathy Reich, vice chair of the GEOFunders board of directors.
One of the accomplishments that she pointed out was 
Thanks in part to GEO’s tireless efforts, practices that once were outside the mainstream of organized philanthropy — general operating support, evaluation for improvement, funder collaboration, use of grantee feedback, and investments in nonprofit capacity building — are now widely recognized as essential in our field.

As I listened I also shared ideas from my library on Twitter and used #2018GEO hashtag to connect with others. You can also use this at a later date to go back and review all the Tweets shared during and after the event. 

I've posted a few of my Tweets below.

I've been building and sharing a directory of Chicago area non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993,
in an effort to help each get a more consistent flow of needed operating resources and ideas. The graphic below shows two lists that I maintain on Facebook, showing programs, and showing intermediaries, like Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, who also need consistent, on-going support.

I also plot locations on maps and maintain a list of programs in the web library that I've been building as an information resource since the mid 1990s.

What's frustrating to me now, and for the past 25 years, is how few of the organizations I'm trying to help spend time helping me gather and keep this information updated, or help me share it in ways that attract more attention, volunteers and donors to their own program, and to other programs in Chicago and in other cities.

One leader told me in the 1990s, "I love what you're trying to do, but until I get my own house in order, I can't help you.".  What that meant to me was, he'd never be able to help, because most non-profits can't influence the type of donors giving habits that big organizations like GEO Funders is trying to do.

I wrote about this a few years ago in this "Can't Drain the Swamp" article. I've focused on trying to increase operating funds for tutor/mentor programs as a strategy to create more time and motivation for various organizations to work together to help every high poverty neighborhood have a full range of well-organized, mentor-rich programs.

While social media offers opportunities to easily connect, share ideas, and interact, only a few organizations actively use Twitter, which I feel is the best platform for connecting with others. A few more use Facebook, but mostly as a bulletin board for their own organization. I don't find a conversation of "What works, what could work better, where are programs most needed, how can we work together to overcome challenges that we can't solve by ourselves?"

Here's another Tweet that I posted recently:

While the conference center for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is filled this week, what will bring these grant makers and youth program leaders, as well as other nonprofits needed in high poverty areas, into on-going conversations that lead to stronger, on-going organizations in more places?

A starting point might be to connect on Twitter. I'm @tutormentorteam

Is there someone who could represent your organization, or your foundation, in this conversation?

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