Friday, January 09, 2009

Leadership Strategies using Maps

In less than two weeks the United States will have a new Commander in Chief. We face huge challenges locally, nationally and around the world. How can one man focus his attention on all of these places and problems at the same time, and consistently for the next four to eight years?

I focus on how volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs can connect kids living in poverty neighborhoods and attending poorly-performing schools with a adults who don't live in poverty and who can model and open doors to a variety of career aspirations and learning opportunities.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) creates maps that show where poverty and poorly performing schools are located, and where volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are located. Then I create overlays showing assets, such as businesses, churches, colleges, etc. who could provide volunteers, technology, ideas, talent,etc. to help tutor/mentor programs grow in every part of the city where the business, college or hospital is located.

This example shows Allstate Insurance company offices in the Chicago region. Using this map, company leaders could create communications strategies connecting offices in each section of the city with community-based organizations and schools in the same section. Or, leaders of non profits in each section could target company locations in their own part of the city with requests for help.

Getting the attention of business leaders and drawing their consistent support for your non profit are challenges. With multiple non profits doing the same work, but in different places, they are all competing for the attention of the same donors. Some win. Most lose. This next map shows the 5th District of the Illinois State Legislature. The map below this shows insurance companies with offices in this district.

You can see that this District is a narrow strip that stretches from the Near North Cabrini-Green area, South to past 63rd Street. While the far North and most of the Southern part of the district have neighborhoods of high poverty and poorly performing schools, one part of the district cuts through the West Loop, with many businesses, including many insurance companies. What could the State Representative of this district be doing to connect these businesses with non profit tutor/mentor programs in the district?

This last map shows Christian, Catholic and Baptist churches in this district. As faith leaders committed to social justice, what could they be doing to connect the rich people in this district with the poor people?

In the Tutor/Mentor Institute there are a variety of pdf essays on collaboration, leadership and ways individuals can use maps and their own personal and professional evangelism to draw attention to poverty, and draw resources to places in poor neighborhoods that are trying to help kids make decisions that will change how well they do in school, and how well they are prepared for jobs and careers.

If President Obama, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, point to these maps on a regular basis, and encourage public and private partnerships in every state to create and use strategy maps like these, they can use the visibility of the Presidency, as well as leverage of public funds, to encourage private sector involvement in high poverty neighborhoods and tutor/mentor programs throughout the country.

Each week the President does a radio address and a web cast on the internet. Why not highlight one of these maps each week, and provide links to maps for every city and every state, keeping attention focused on what needs to be happening in the neighborhoods to help create the CHANGE that this President has promised.

See more maps like these in the MappingforJustice blog, in the Tutor/Mentor Map Gallery, and in the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.

These maps are made possible by a generous donation made in 2007 by an anonymous donor. If you'd like to help us continue to provide these maps, please consider becoming a sponsor or supporting the Tutor/Mentor Connection with a donation. Send donations to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, 800 W. Huron, Chicago, Il. 60642. Call 312-492-9614 to inquire about sponsor and grant opportunities.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

State Farm has created a neighborhood networking hub, titled Next Door. See it at

Would be great if companies would use T/MC maps to plot out locations of NextDoor hubs in more places of the city and that they'd point to on-line information sites like Tutor/Mentor Connection, as a resource for people meeting at these hubs.