Saturday, October 04, 2008

Using Maps to Lead Community and Corporate Involvement

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", would be a great strategy, if a map were used to point to the places where help is needed, not just for one or two days, or even a year, but for many years.

I've watched the first two debates and I think back to the 1992 election when Ross Perot was holding up charts to illustrate his ideas. I wish one of our 2008 candidates would hold up maps like the one shown on this page, to demonstrate their vision for solving some of the problems they will face in the next four years.

This map shows poverty concentrations as well as locations of poorly performing schools in the Chicago region. In addition, it shows a list of Fortune 500/1000 companies.

Notice that many companies are located in the Chicago Loop area, and many are located in the Lake County area (North suburbs) or the DuPage County area (West Suburbs) but none are located in the South Suburbs (that may change if the new airport gets built).

Thousands of people coming and going to and from work in these companies pass through high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and the inner ring of suburbs everyday. Leadership from elected officials, faith leaders, corporate CEOs and even kids in high school service learning programs, could show many of these people ways to stop for a couple of hours on their way home, to be a volunteer or leader at a neighborhood tutor/mentor program working to help kids in these neighborhoods come to school each day better prepared to learn.

The same leadership could encourage people to make donations to programs they pass each day. It can also draw together teams of people, as we will do at the November 21 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, to learn ways to be involved, and ways to help tutor/mentor programs be available to kids around every poorly performing school in the city and suburbs.

This next conference will be hosted by the Chicago Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, and will include discussions aimed at connecting Chicago museums and cultural institutions with tutor/mentor programs and at-risk kids.

During the June 2008 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, I attended several workshops providing information on business volunteering, with research provided by companies like Deloitte and Accenture, showing the benefits to business and employees from such involvement. I posted links to some of that research here, and encourage companies shown on this map to use this as a starting point for beefing up their own involvement.

Many companies already have extensive volunteer and philanthropic involvement. My hope is that they will begin to use maps, like these, to plot where they are involved, creating layers of information for each focus area (health, education, workforce development, etc.) so they can better understand the distribution of their involvement, and look for ways to use their resources strategically so they have a growing impact on corporate and community goals.

This is a map of Lutheran Churches. To learn if there are any tutoring and/or mentoring programs in the area of specific churches, use this zip code map.

For more ideas on mapping visit

Mapping for Justice Blog of Tutor/Mentor Connection

Poverty and Crime Mapping Links in Tutor/Mentor Links Library

Geographic Information Systems Links in Tutor/Mentor Links Library

If you're the Mayor of Chicago, this map shows that you need to find ways to create a regional business support strategy to help draw more volunteers to schools and tutor/mentor programs in the city. If you're in Waukegan, Elgin, Aurora or Joliet, you need to find ways to draw volunteers and donors to programs that help youth in your own communities.

And if you're one of those scattered schools on this map that seem isolated from all others, your students can help you call for help from local and regional companies, so tutor/mentor programs and other learning activities are available to help your students, too.

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