Monday, October 31, 2011

Big Conferences in Chicago this week

Sunday through Tuesday in Chicago will feature two huge conferences. One is the Independent Sector Conference The other is the Social Enterprise Alliance Conference.

At the end of the week, on Friday, Nov. 4, is the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference.

The schedule for the Independent Sector Conference show many topics related to the challenges and opportunities of philanthropy.

Look at the schedule of breakout sessions for the Social Enterprise Alliance Conference. Seems like some of the same themes are being discussed, with different tax structure and strategies for generating revenue being the main difference.

If you registered early you could have attended the Independent Sector Conference for only $1,050 (not including hotel and travel). If you register this week the fee is $1,600. The price for the Social Enterprise Summit was a bit lower, but still more than I could afford.

If you look at the range of workshops in both events I don't see any that focus on ways to make non-school volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs available in high poverty neighborhoods of big cities like Chicago, or ways to help each program learn from others doing similar work. I don't see anything focused on building the talent in these programs or helping volunteers and young people become leaders.

Look at the agenda for the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, which is being held on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago. We don't have as many workshops, but since you can only go to one in each time frame, what difference does it matter if we have five workshops, or 15 in a time frame? We do focus all of our attention on helping tutor/mentor programs become the best they can be.

Thus, I hope some of the people who were able to attend the big conferences at the start of the week will go to the small conference at the end and that the ideas from all three conferences will connect in ways that generate resources, talent and structure that supports the growth of an entire universe of birth-to-work volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities.

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