Saturday, October 21, 2006

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

I received the following email yesterday 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, president of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, 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.


ReadandBeSmart said...

I took the time to meet with Dan Bassill to learn more about Tutor/Mentor connections and the Cabrini Connections initiatives. I am thoroughly impressed with the efforts that are being put forth and implemented to help kids in grades 6-12. I am thoroughly convinved that it is the program for every responsible leader to be involved in-in someway-because, it provides a tremendous way to get involved and to give back to help others. I am a serious advocate of reaching back to help others to climb the ladder, so that they too may be able to reach their fullest potential in life.I have made the decision to join Dan and the Tutor/Mentor Connection program and will also invite leaders that I know to get involve as well. I will begin by lending talents and resources and leadership skills to help organize the upcoming Tutor/Mentor Conference to be held at De Paul Univ on Nov 30, 2006

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks Steve for your help with this conference and the T/MC. Thanks to Steve one of our guest speakers will be William Merrit, President of the National Black United Fund.

When people say "it takes a village to raise a child" they don't give a lot of thought to the work of organizers who reach out to the many businesses, faith leaders, hospitals and universities who need to be actively involved in making spaces available in the village for all kids to connect with learning and mentoring and career opportunities.

It takes many leaders to do this work, acting like Rev. Steve Braxton, to extend an invitation into their own networks and helping their friends get involved.

Ben Balthazar said...

Dear Mr. Daniel Bassill
Thank you for what you do for the poor.
Do you have any idea where to go or who to contact, to get some funds for a starting project: by means of grants or small loans? As you know most sponsors required a track record of success. This is yet entrepreneurial I left my job to commit 100% to this project and cause. Time is crucial for those that must wait in the cold.

I was once a homeless. I then worked for the homeless and now that I am closer to getting a PhD in Human Services- Health Services Administration I want to put my passion, talents and experience at the service of those brothers and sisters; specially the most vulnerable ones. Homeless in need of respite care.

I have an entrepreneurial idea that will work and will make a respite homeless shelter financially sustained in the long run. I am starting a project, a respite care facility for vulnerable homeless discharged from hospitals here in my city; Miami, Fl. where they have no place to go, but public shelters where they have minimum chances of getting an acceptable recovery if at all. I am well known among the underprivileged housing and healthcare providers in the community.

My ambition is to house every discharged homeless patient in Miami for at least 60 days while experienced case managers work on transitional housing for them.

Your attention to this note is appreciated beforehand.

Ben Balthasar PhD. Lnr. MHSA, CRM.
Better Community Foundation, Inc.
I must hope for those that lost all trust!

Tutor Mentor Connections said...


I have a ppt in the Tutor/Mentor Institute at that is titled "steps to start a tutor/mentor program". It would also apply to you and others.

Doing your research and building a team are the first two steps. You're doing research by contacting me. In the LINKS section of the T/MC site are numerous links to fund raising research and sites. The links on my blog to Gift Hub and Non Profit Blog exchange, provide even more links to people who have more expertise in fund raising than I ever will have.

When I started Cabrini Connections I had several assets that I could draw on

a) 25 years previous experience leading a tutor/mentor program, and a network of volunteers who supported me

b) 17 years history working for the Montgomery Ward corporation in their Chicago headquaters, where I built a relationship with key leaders because of my leadership of the volunteer tutor/mentor program hosted in that facility. Wards provided free space and a $40,000 per year grant from my first year (1993) to 2000 when they went out of business.

c) a marketing/advertising backgound and mentality, which has enabled me to constantly expand my network of people who might be interested in what I'm doing and who might volunteer time or make a donation

d) momentum and ignorance - my transition from a full time job at Wards to a full time job leading the tutoring/mentor program as its first paid director was forced by people at Wards who decided they no longer wanted me working for them. This gave me the push to leave the company and make leading the tutor/mentor program my full time job, which is what my previous 17 years of involvment had been leading me to want to do. The ignorance part is that I had no idea how difficult it would be and how many sacrifices my family would have to make for me to lead a non profit, on the salary they could pay, and on the constant uncertainty that comes with building an organization from scratch

Thus, my advise to you is to build a team of people who share your passion, and who are willing, or able, to raise money, or provide money, to pay for the operations of your organization. Recruiting the right mix of volunteers for your board is essential to your success in raising money.

As a start up, finding someone to donate space for your operations is critically important if you don't have access to immediate funding for space and operations.

It's not enough to have a good idea. You need to be good at marketing the idea to donors, volunteers and others who must share your vision enough to provide the time and talent it takes to succeed.

Good luck to you.

Dan Bassill
Tutor/Mentor Connection