Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Message from the Vatican. What’s the Follow up?

Last week Pope Francis released his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium - “The Joy of the Gospel”. It’s a long document. This web site pulled 21 of the “most important” quotes from it.

The headline of one news report reads: "Pope Francis calls unfettered capitalism 'tyranny' and urges rich to share wealth" The sub head was "Pontiff's first major publication calls on global leaders to guarantee work, education and healthcare"

One of the blogs I follow, People-Centered Economic Development blog, offered a commentary under the headline "Pope Francis challenges trickle-down economics"

The blogger, Jeff Mowatt, posted some quotes from the Pope's message such as:

"Drawing attention to exclusion, he (the Pope) writes:

'Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.'

I hope that the Pope's message will become a topic of discussion in every Catholic Church in the Chicago region and that it will expand to become a topic of discussion in every faith group with the result that a growing number of leaders will devote much more time, talent and dollars, in more strategic and ongoing efforts to help youth in high poverty areas move through school and into jobs and careers out of poverty.

As that happens I offer the web library and ideas of the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and Tutor/Mentor Connection as a free resource.

I’ve been aggregating links to research and articles that focus on income inequity and poverty. My collection of articles can be found at  

As we head through the year end religious holidays and into 2014 my goal is to seek out groups within faith communities who are discussing the Pope’s message and reflecting on ways to apply the ideas in their own efforts to close the wealth gap in American cities and rural areas.

The links I point to provide a “recommended reading” that can expand people’s understanding of the problems of income inequity and how it affects everyone, not just the poor. As people gather to talk about what they can do beyond what they already do to solve social and environmental problems I hope that sub groups will form that focus on income gaps in the US and ways to build systems of support that reach youth in more places with age appropriate learning, mentoring, jobs programs, etc. that stay in place for dozens of years and that this would lead many to adopt commitment on this strategy map.

The articles I’ve posted on this blog, and in the Library on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site can be used to stimulate thinking. For instance, maps like this one, showing Catholic Churches in the Chicago region could be used to plan outreach to a growing number of neighborhoods with high poverty. They could also be used to show distribution of current involvement, just by putting icons on the map near churches that implement a strategy such as described in this PDF.

If faith communities begin to implement this strategy and rally more people around the challenges outlined by Pope Francis, more leaders in business, politics, media, etc. will adopt the strategies described in this Role of Leaders essay.

When leaders in every industry are forming volunteer teams within their company or industry to guide the involvement of employee volunteers and a distribution of resources, we can begin to see the growth of mentor rich programs in more places, where there is a diversity of volunteer talent as well as a diversity of the funding stream needed to provide year-to-year operating dollars.

Perhaps more teams will become part of a “virtual corporate office” with different people taking on roles that help mentor-rich programs grow in more places. This PDF describes that concept.

In his commentary, on the People-Centered Economic Development blog, Jeff Mowatt posts this message:

"Excuses won't work, particularly in light of a handful of oligarchs in Ukraine having been allowed to loot Ukraine's economy for tens of billions of dollars. I point specifically to Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Poroshenko, and Kuchma, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list. These people can single-handedly finance 100% of all that will ever be needed to save Ukraine's orphans. None of them evidently bother to think past their bank accounts, and seem to have at least tacit blessings at this point from the new regime to keep their loot while no one wants to consider Ukraine's death camps, and the widespread poverty that produced them.. "

In Matthew 19:24 Jesus said to His disciples, ""Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Many Billionaires are talking of giving their wealth away.
This Giving Pledge web site shows “ a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.”

A few weeks ago I heard John Rodgers of Arial Capital Management in Chicago describe the annual wealth accumulated by hedge fund managers and private equity firms, saying “At the top of the financial crisis, John Paulson made $500 billion!”

I’m not advocating a new set of competitive grants set up to fund tutor/mentor programs. I’m calling for leaders to create an on-going public education and marketing program, a business-type strategy, that connects people who can help, with programs in places where birth work help is needed.

In 2009 Phil Shapiro posted an article in PC World titled “Crowdsourcing the MacArthur Awards” listing 12 people he would nominate for the MacArthur Award. I was one of them.

If just one billionaire in Chicagoland were to devote a $50 million a year for the next 10 years to support an area wide network of non-school, volunteer based tutor/mentor programs who were each focused on helping youth move through school and into jobs and careers such programs would be operating in more places, with more of the talent and resources each needs to constantly improve their impact. Such leadership could lead to greater and more consistent public support in the future. I don’t think they would go broke doing this.

And, if thousands of citizens who are not billionaires, but have a deep commitment to put their faith to practice were to adopt these ideas and support them with their own time, talent and dollars, we could have the same impact.

So, who is building a list of faith communities where the Pope’s message is beginning to be discussed, and where the group is drawing from the information I’ve been sharing as part of its learning process?

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

This is an Harvard Business Review article related to this Pope's message.