Friday, December 19, 2008

$217k in grants awarded by LAWYERS Lend-a-Hand Program

On Wednesday, December 18, 2008, twenty-seven outstanding Chicago-area tutor/mentor programs were awarded $217,000 in grants at the annual Grant Reception of the Sun-Times Judge Marovitz Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth Program (LAH). The reception at the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) was attended by program leaders and volunteers as well as judges and other members of the legal community.

The CBA originated the program in 1993 to impact the lives of underprivileged youth through tutor/mentor programs, and the program benefited from receiving substantial funds from the late Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz and The Chicago Sun-Times.

The money will benefit over 2,500 Chicago-area young people from neighborhoods including Cabrini-Green, Albany Park, West Town, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Austin, Belmont-Cragin, Rogers Park, , Hermosa, Uptown, Edgewater, South Chicago, Pilsen, Lawndale, Little Village, Garfield Park, Englewood, and Washington Park. Programs serving youth in the surrounding suburbs of Palatine Township and Evanston also received awards. Read more and see the complete list of programs receiving grants.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection has been a proud partner of this vision since June of 1994 as part of an on-going strategy aimed to draw volunteers and operating dollars on a consistent basis to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty area of Chicago.

In 1994 when the T/MC first began working with the Lend A Hand Program, the only grant was the Thomas A. Demetrio Award of Excellence, which included a $2,000 grant. The first winner was the Ariel Education Initiative, led by Arne Duncan, who is now the new Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration.

One of the strategies we launched with the Lend A Hand Program was a Tutor/Mentor Week. Initially this was planned during the week of the November Conference so it could help us draw participation. At the same time the Chicago Bar Foundation and Lend A Hand launched a November benefit, which by 1999 was attracting nearly 1700 attorneys and friends. This photo was from one where my son Jacob was a guest.

As a result of these events the Daily Law Bulletin featured front page stories about the event, the Lend A Hand and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. At the same time we were generating news coverage in local newspapers, radio an TV, thus building greater frequency of stories drawing attention to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs and the intermediary groups that were supporting them.

This is one headline from the Law Bulletin.

Our vision is that law groups in every major city duplicate what the Lend A Hand Program is doing, and that leaders in other business sectors, faith communities, and civic, social and alumni groups, also duplicate this. The result will be a diversity of volunteers and of funding supporting tutor/mentor programs and K-12 youth, in a growing number of high-poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

This vision can be a reality if you share information about Lend A Hand Grants with leaders in your own industry, and/or your own community, and if leaders like President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan, give attention to business support systems like this in their own leadership activities.

In 1994 when we began working with the Lend A Hand Program our vision was that our partnership could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and that 80% of that money would be distributed to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs throughout the city. The other 20% would be split to fund the operations of the Lend A Hand Program and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Because of a $2 million award from the Chicago SunTimes to the Lend A Hand Program, this vision is now becoming a reality. Among the grants to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago was a $30,000 grant to the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

We need your help to sustain this program. Giving donations, bequests and other charitable gifts to the Lend A Hand supports Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, and many other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, just as much as giving gifts directly to these programs helps cover 100% of their operating and innovation expenses.

As Judge Thomas Donnelly said when announcing the awards, "We wish it could be two or three times as much." With your help, and donations to Lend A Hand, the donation pool can increase, meaning larger grants and more support for tutor/mentor programs throughout the Chicago region.

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