Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Tutor/Mentor Connection

In the fall of 1992 a young boy name Dantrell Davis was shot and killed in Cabrini Green. I've posted this image of the front page on my blog often and used it as a reminder of a commitment I and the founders made during the weeks following this event, as we created Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Over the years we have realized that we had two "brands" and that many people did not understand the Tutor/Mentor Connection and why it was important to Cabrini Connections and every other tutor/mentor program in the Chicago region. I've created PDF essays like this to try to educate donors, and our own volunteers and leaders.

Because we have not been able to attract philanthropic investors to provide consistent support for the Tutor/Mentor Connection, the burden of raising funds has been with the volunteers and leaders of Cabrini Connections. It has been a single small tutor/mentor program trying to support the infrastructure needed to support all tutor/mentor programs in the entire region. A big challenge, and ultimately, too much of a burden.

Our funding challenges of the past decade and changes in leadership have finally caused the Board of Directors to decide to focus only on the Cabrini Connections part of the organization. I will be reforming the Tutor/Mentor Connection into a new organizational structure that I hope can do a better job of attracting investors and philanthropic support so we can have a greater impact in Chicago and share this impact in other cities. If we succeed, it will do more to provide support to Cabrini Connections and its students, volunteer and alumni, than if I stay with the organization for another few years.

We have a unique opportunity. The T/MC is recognized in many parts of the world and appreciated by many. The web resources including the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and on-line documentation system are unique, and not available in this format or strategy in any other city. The year round event strategy and web library have been developed over a period of 18 years. It would be impossible, or financially improbable, for any city or any group in Chicago, to rebuild this from scratch. Thus, a new structure may enable us to find the capital needed to fully develop these resources and to make them available in more places than Chicago.

That structure is not yet clear. Instead of starting a new organization, we could move under the umbrella of another organization, or a university, or even a city like Chicago. However, if you know me you know that I have a wealth of ideas that only need volunteers and/or investors to bring them to life. By mid July I need to find donated space from which to operate, and a team of volunteers, advisers and supporters in place.

Thus I'm inviting any current and/or former Cabrini Connections volunteers and student alumni, as well as those I have connected with via the T/MC network who value the Tutor/Mentor Connection and have an interest in helping it move into the future to email me at to offer your ideas.

To learn more about the goals and activities of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, review the essays in this Tutor/Mentor Institute web site.

Follow this blog over the next few months to see this exciting new structure develop.

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