Friday, May 30, 2014

White House seeks to Mobilize Mentors

This week the White House is releasing a call for mentors is a part of a series of initial recommendations being released by the My Brother’s Keeper task force. Read story here.

I've not been invited to contribute ideas to the White House plan, even though President Obama was a speaker at a May 1999 Tutor/Mentor Conference that I've hosted in Chicago every six months since 1994 as part of an on-going effort to mobilize volunteers and donors to support non-school tutor/mentor programs reaching youth in high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

If I had been asked to share my ideas, I would have used graphics like this to illustrate the need for a year-round campaign, with peaks as school starts in the fall, as we near the year-end holidays, in February, and in May as we near the end of the school year. These are times when extra attention can help mobilize volunteers and donors, or focus on year to year improvement of the programs hosting youth and volunteers. This PDF outlines the type of year-round strategy the White House and others could lead.

I'd also encourage the President, as Commander in Chief, and his team to integrate maps into their planning, to support the distribution of resources, volunteers and programs into all of the neighborhoods where there are high concentrations of youth needing extra support and learning opportunities. This "No General Goes to War without a Map" pdf shows ways maps can be used. This Problem Solving essay shows a planning process that would support the growth of mentor-rich programs in more places.

In addition, I'd encourage the use of graphics to illustrate a long-term commitment needed to help youth entering first grade today be entering jobs and careers in 20 to 25 years. This strategy map is a commitment many leaders could put on their web site, including the President.

I was one of ten delegates representing Chicago at the 1997 President's Summit for America's Future. That's me, standing next to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The Tutor/Mentor Connection was one of 50 organizations from around the country invited to host Teaching Example displays at the Philadelphia Summit. My hope was that the Summit would lead to a wave of new reinforcements to support non-school tutor/mentor programs already operating in Chicago and other cities. Instead it resulted in reinventing the wheel and too few operating resources made available to support what was hoped would be a growing wave of volunteers.

The problem of violence in our inner cities is part of a larger complex problem with many causes which need to be addressed currently, and in an on-going effort sustained by many Presidents, Mayors and Governors over many years. On Thursday, May 29 I posted my review of a report focused on the achievement of Black men and boys and pointed to many sections that show the lack of consistent funding, and leadership, as well as the negative impact of fragmented efforts.

As the call goes out for volunteers, I encourage the President and others to include a call for volunteers to offer their talent to help build the infrastructure supporting volunteer involvement, at the program level, as well as at intermediary levels in cities, states and across the country.

In Chicago, if you're looking to become involved with a youth serving organization, here's my list of Chicago area programs that I've been maintaining for nearly 20 years. Some of these are very sophisticated, well organized programs. Some need lots of help. If they are in a neighborhood with kids who need help, don't wait to be asked. Look for the "contact us" button on their web site and offer your help. You can use this shoppers guide and this virtual corporate office pdf as guides for ways you might help programs grow.

I've been sharing ideas like this for nearly 20 years and have been writing this blog since 2005. I've been maintaining this web library since 1998. One of the most strategic things the President can do is to encourage the growth of learning groups in business, hospitals, colleges, faith groups, political offices, etc. so more people dig deeper into this information and build a more comprehensive vision of how extra adults can help youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who need extra help for other reasons, have a support and opportunity system that helps them grow to become productive, contributing adults.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Strategic Support for Black Male Achievement

A couple of weeks ago I read this report, titled “Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement”, which was produced by The Foundation Center, with funding from the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

As I read the report I copied some of the text and graphics into a worksheet that I used to add my own endorsement for some of the ideas, along with suggestions from my own efforts to build mentor-rich support systems for inner city youth.

I encourage you to read the full report. Then take a look at my own comments.

In the introduction section, “Emmett Carson, president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, explains why a focus on supporting black men and boys is not just a “black issue,” but one that is in the national interest: “If you want America to remain great, if you want America to remain globally competitive, if you want an America which continues to innovate and have exciting job opportunities so the next generation will be better off than the last, if that’s the America you want, we can no longer afford for people of color in general, black men and boys in particular, to have the life outcomes that they do.”

The report is divided into sections, so the information can be read in an organized fashion. Yet, all sections are interrelated.

In the section about funders, one this message stood out: "the success of the Alliance rests on “a commitment by the presidents (of foundations) to deeply engage on this issue and sustain their level of enthusiasm—and match that enthusiasm with resources, both financial and human."

In the section about non profit organizations focusing specifically on the achievement of Black men and boys, one statement said “A wide range of nonprofit organizations are working in the area of black male achievement,representing an array of issue areas and approaches."

In the section focusing on research, these statements resonated with me "there is no shortage of research on black men and boys.“ “In order for scholarly findings to impact programs and policies, it is important that this work be translated for a broader audience.”

In a section titled, LEVERAGING RESOURCES ACROSS SECTORS, this is what you'll read:

“In addition to coordinating efforts, networks and partnerships can break down silos and contribute to sustaining the work by helping to leverage resources across sectors. States Ron Walker, executive director of COSEBOC, “We need to find synergies across the playing field. If we don’t connect the dots, then it will be one more example of an opportunity missed, reinventing the wheel, or wasting time.” There are so many interesting possibilities when you elevate something to a national conversation, but then there’s got to be some resources that begin to flow at the local level to really implement some of those ideas.”

If you look at my comments, and articles I've written on this blog, I suggest that the field of organizations working on this issue, as well as those doing related work, be plotted on maps, showing where programs are located, along with what zip codes have the greatest number of youth needing extra support.

In addition, I encourage the use of concept maps, like the one below, to create an understanding of the different types of supports needed at different age levels, and in every community, to help youth develop their full potential, or to change the narrative about how Black men are perceived.

Each node on a map like this represents a practice that is working in some places but needs to be available in many places. An on-going research project would be needed to create and maintain a map like this, along with maps showing service providers in different communities.

If such maps are available on web platforms, then the strategies using social media, collaboration and collective action can enlist more people in "awareness building" and more people in "resource mobilization" so that dollars, talent, ideas and other resources become more consistently available to youth-serving organizations and intermediaries on a continuous basis. All of the organizations working to help youth move through school and into jobs and careers require the same on-going support. Building a coalition of leaders and partners who can generate this flow of resources for a decade or longer is a huge, but essential, challenge.


This was the last section of the report, and I hope most readers get this far. It's the most important. Below I've pasted part of the text from this part of the report, along with my comments. I hope it generates some discussion.

“As our report highlights, there is much work to be done. But there are also indelible signs of success. Success looks like the 100 percent college acceptance rate—for five years running—at Urban Prep Academies, a network of all-boys public schools that serves students from economically disadvantaged households. Success looks like BMe, a group of more than 7,000 black men and their friends of all races and genders who build community together and who provided services to more than 130,000 neighbors in 2013 alone. Success looks like the launch of the Institute for Black Male Achievement, which boasts more than 2,500 members contributing to black male achievement. Success looks like the Young Men’s Initiative in New York City, an unprecedented public–private partnership that works comprehensively across city agencies to reduce disparities faced by young men of color. Success looks like leading foundation presidents coming together to form an alliance, and success looks like the President of the United States stepping out to pledge support to transform the life outcomes of black and Latino young men.“

"Success looks like the President of the United States stepping out to pledge support to transform the life outcomes of black and Latino young men.”

To me, other than the college acceptance rate of Urban Prep Academies, which is the result of four years of high school support, none of these other definitions of success show the impact on young men after 5 or 10 years of continuous support. Most of these indicators of success are steps toward a goal.

If these are not sustained, the goal is not met.

In this blog article Shawn Dove, manager of the Open Society Campaign for Black Male Achievement, writes "While this report has generated a good deal of activity in just the first days of its release, the overriding message woven through it is that we must not confuse activity with progress."

The report concludes: “The collective impact of these initiatives (and so many others in the field) will get us closer to the Beloved Community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned, one which recognizes the value and humanity of every individual. This community encompasses the full and active participation of every member of a democratic society and is based upon justice, equal opportunity, and love.“

“This vision is not wishful thinking; it is attainable through the efforts of committed individuals, dedicated organizations, and partnership and collaboration. So where do we go from here? Let’s build the Beloved Community, together”

In his blog article Dove invites others to share their own ideas on How do you measure this?

My first recommendation is to create maps showing where help is needed, and what organizations already operate in those areas who are providing help. Then create maps showing who is providing funding, volunteers, tech support and other supportive assets in each area. This graphic is from the Foundation Center web site, showing that they have the capacity to map the flow of philanthropic donations.

Second, as I suggested above, create a library of information showing the types of programs that need to be available in every area with high concentrations of Black men and boys. At the same time, teach programs to use their web sites to show what service they provide, where they are, what they do, what impact they have, what help they need. A version of this "shoppers guide" could be created and used by this Alliance.

The maps are part of a process intended to make constantly improving, long term support programs available in all places where they are needed. Filling in the maps over a period of years is just one measures of success:

My work focuses on helping youth in high poverty areas move through school and into jobs and careers. Unless we build the information base we can't provide support to all of the organizations who are already working in this field. However, this is still only part of a process.

How do we measure success?

In every city and state a version of this map could be created. Links in the map should point to individuals, corporate and faith leaders, political leaders, etc. who have demonstrated their own commitment to this challenge, by putting a strategy map like this on their web site, and by documenting actions they take to build public awareness, draw people together, and draw resources directly to the youth serving organizations shown on the map of providers.

If the number of leaders, from every sector, grows from year to year, this Alliance will be on the road to success.

Here are a couple of other potential measures of success:

As a result of this Alliance, our prisons are empty. There are no high school drop outs. Every Black baby born in 2020 will be fully employed in 2050, earning a living wage, voting in every election, serving in leadership and volunteer roles helping younger boys grow up.

The "narrative" will have changed. (see page 38 of the report) Public perception surveys taken between now and 2020 and taken every five years until 2050 will show positive gains in all of the indicators that are important to achieving a just society. In addition, surveys of youth in 3rd grade, 8th grade, 12th grade show hope and optimism, at much greater rates than surveys taken in the 2014-2020 period.

In the section of the Report titled "Re-Thinking Philanthropy" the writers say

“This field has been particularly and acutely subject to waves of waning philanthropic interest.” "Patient funding over time is what’s needed.”

I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1975, serving Cabrini Green area elementary school youth. 99% were Black boys and girls. I created Cabrini Connections in 1992 to help 7th grade youth from Cabrini-Green and other neighborhoods move through high school and toward jobs and careers. 95% of these youth were Black. I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to help constantly improving, mentor rich programs, grow in all high poverty areas of the city, including those neighborhoods with high concentrations of Black youth. I've been thinking of this problem for nearly 40 years and have created a huge research library that connects people who visit my web sites with work being done by thousands of others.

Thus, I've developed a lot of ideas that others might borrow.

Read: problem solving strategy, year-round strategy, collaboration strategy and other PDF essays in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library. I've created a map-based directory of Chicago tutoring/mentoring organizations. I've hosted a networking conference every six months since May 1994.

If my ideas or ideas from others are to be fully implemented, many new investors and benefactors will need to step forward, championing this effort in every part of the country where it is needed.

I hope to help others understand and apply these ideas. I hope others will help me continue to develop them.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Conference Reflections. Network Building

On May 19 I hosted the 41st Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference held in Chicago since May 1994. About 90 people attended. I'll be posting photos in the albums section on the Tutor/Mentor Forum and I'm adding presentation slides to the agenda page on the conference web site.

While I host these conferences as part of the on-going strategy of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (read here), I don't focus all of the attention at the conference on my own goals. Rather, this is an opportunity for others to share their strategies and expand their ideas of tutoring and mentoring. Thus, I was pleased when John Hosteny, Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Illinois Office, Used his welcoming remarks to provide an overview of the T/MC's goals and strategy.

Prior to the conference we used Twitter and other social media to build attention for the conference and various speakers. I encouraged participants to use their own blogs to show what the would be talking about. In addition, I've encouraged participants to do their own reflections. Below are a few links to these articles:

Post conference:

Article introducing Tutor/Mentor Connection, written by Dominica McBride, CEO, of Chicago intermediary called Become.

Article about volunteer growth, written by Mark Carter, President of One80. Second article posted Sept. 4, 2014

Storify report showing Twitter conversation, created by Interns at Becoming We the People.

Charlene Dolan, Tutoring, Mentoring, and PBL

Illinois Mentoring Partnership, (Facebook Page)

Bishop Steve Braxton, posted this photo on Facebook and posted this article on his blog

Pre conference:

This is Kelly Fair's Blog article. Kelly is founder of Polished Pebbles

This is a blog article by Eric Davis, Executive Director of GCE Lab School.

See how City Harvest Headstart Ministry talks about the importance of the conference on their home page. Photo above shows Mitchel Sholar of CHOOM and Dr.

Here's a link to The Black Star Project newsletter. Each issue this week has included a message about the conference.

Others are also sharing information about the Tutor/Mentor Connection

Here's a blog written by E. Wilson, titled The T/MC Links Library: A Must-Use Resource for Tutors

Here's the I-Open blog, where two of my articles have been shared since January 2014.

I'll use this article as an archive for reflections from the May 19, 2014 conference. If you write one please send it to me and I'll post it here.

The next conference will be November 7th. Sponsors are needed. Workshop presenters can begin to contact me with ideas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Follow up to On The Table2014 – 5 years, 10 years, 15 years.

I attended an OnTheTable2014 networking dinner on Monday hosted by the Illinois Mentoring Partnership. This was one of several hundred small gatherings in the Chicago region where several thousand people talked about what Chicago might look like in 5, 10 and 15 years. Feedback is being gathered by the host Chicago Community Trust and I’ll be interested to see how all of this data leads to greater engagement in solving some of the complex problems facing the Chicago region, and/or developing some of the opportunities.

Of the 10 people who gathered at IMP on Monday, I already knew Barbara Cole of Maywood Youth Mentoring Program. We first met in the late 1990s. A volunteer working with her is Michael Romaine, who made this comparison of the T/MC to Google. While I had never met Gary Fox, a volunteer and new board member at Cluster Tutoring Program, I’ve known Kathy McCabe, the Executive Director since the late 1970s. Dr. Shelby T,. Wyatt of the Brotherhood of Kenwood Academy hosted a workshop at the Tutor/Mentor Conference in Nov. 2009. One of the exciting parts of this dinner was meeting Troy Smith, an alumni of the Kenwood Brotherhood, who is now volunteering leadership to the organization. We need more alumni involved in sustaining these programs. Rhonda Howard, of Bounce for Joy Project, registered last week to attend the next conference, on May 19. Paul Venerable from Fyre Track Club showed the importance of sports, arts and other forms of mentoring youth. I had not met Mable Taplin who founded Joanie Girls Heart program to prepare minority teen girls for college and expose them to health care careers, but she knew of me through Kelly Fair, founder of Polished Pebbles, and another speaker at the Tutor/Mentor Conference. I've not met Kathleen St. Louis Caliento, PhD of the SPARK Chicago program, but members of SPARK have attended the T/MC Conference in the past.
Ashley Richardson, who is involved with the CPS Mentoring The Next Generation of Chicago Children program was also part of our group. We've not met, but in the 1990s CPS and CEO Paul Vallas (second from right) was very involved in supporting the Tutor/Mentor Connection. We've not had that support since early 2000 and maybe this dinner will help rebuild that involvement. Finally, I've known Cheryl Howard of IMP since the 1990s, and she also will be a speaker at the next Tutor/Mentor Conference.

Just from this introduction I hope readers will see that the conference I've hosted can be a follow up for those at the table around the Chicago region who want to build support for volunteer based tutoring and/or mentoring programs.

As each participant was given time to introduce themselves and talk about their own work with youth, there was a common theme of wanting to collaborate, and finding it difficult to connect with others. Unless someone took the time to organize an event and invite people to attend, most people stay disconnected.

I know the value of this type of gathering because I started hosting this type of networking event in the mid 1970s while I was at the Montgomery Ward Corporation in Chicago. As I meet new programs, I add them to the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs web library I've hosted since 1998. I started building this list in 1976. These networking events led to the formation of the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and the launch of the conferences in 1994 and the citywide August/September Volunteer Recruitment Campaign in 1995. Because I've been maintaining a list of programs, I'm able to invite them to connect and learn from each other. I'm also able to write articles like this with a goal that donors, volunteers and other resource providers will reach out to support them on a more consistent basis.

Since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 many more people are doing network-building and the Internet has made it possible for people to connect with each other more frequently without leaving home or office. More people are organizing network building events.

On Tuesday the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago SunTimes, Chicago Tribune and other media were each encouraging people to connect on-line to continue the discussions started in small groups.

I used a Twitter mapping tool to create the following graphics showing who was connecting with #onthetable2014 at around 10am on Tuesday.

With this mention map you can click on an icon, and create a new map showing who is connecting with that person. So by clicking on @tutormentorteam I created the map below:

On both of these maps I circled people who are participating in next Monday’s Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, and who have been helping mobilize others using Twitter and other social media.

I’ve wrote an article over the weekend showing uses of mapping and social network analysis.

And another on May 5 showing a map of who else is acting as an intermediary helping youth in the Chicago region.

As people who organize events that focus on the well-being of youth and families in Chicago organize events, I hope they not only collect data about who attends, and organize on-line forums to encourage continued discussion, but that some also begin mapping participants in order to understand how well they are connecting people from different silos who focus on the same issue, and are funded from different sources.

At the same time I encourage the use of GIS maps to show indicators of where extra help is needed, and to show data on what programs are available in each neighborhood, as well as who is providing funding and support to needed programs in different areas. This is a map showing youth organization donors, created using the Philanthropy in/Sight map.

This is a map showing high poverty areas in the Chicago region, along with commuter lines and main highways. Using this information anyone from the suburbs who was part of #onthetable2014 or is reading A New Plan for Chicago could identify neighborhoods they pass as the go to their job in the LOOP every day. Formal and informal media could provide a daily encouragement for people to provide time, talent and dollars to help youth serving organizations in these areas, instead of just "riding by poverty". Social media, informal dinners, conferences and other networking events could encourage people to share “how they are helping, who they are helping and why they are helping” in ways that share best practices and encourage others to become involved.

Using this data on an on-going basis may result in many more people coming together to focus on the same problems and solutions, and may result in many more resource providers sharing the role of providing operating resources and talent to the different organizations who need to be involved.

In five years, the map of the Chicago region should show a growing density of needed youth and family services in areas where they are needed. These programs should have web sites that show what they are trying to do, and what they are accomplishing, using this Shoppers Guide as a checklist.

In ten years, the map should show an even greater density of programs in areas of need. Web sites of programs operating in 2014 and started over the next five years, should begin to show participation history, and stories of youth and volunteers who have been part of these programs and who now are further toward graduation and jobs. Programs started between 2019 and 2025 would show the same start up information as programs starting in the first five years.

In 15 years the density of programs should reach all areas of need, and web sites of programs in place now should show a number of stories about alumni who have gone through the program and who are now adults who are working, raising families, and in some cases, providing support for the growth of the programs that were part of their lives as young people.

If this strategy is supported consistently for the next 15 years, by donors, volunteers, media, business, etc. we should begin to see significant changes of where poverty is concentrated because there should be less in places where well organized programs are helping youth grow up, move through school, and find jobs.

We also should see indicators of people moving into the Chicago region rather than out of it, because of how the community works together to provide opportunities for all youth who grow up in the region and provides more work-ready employees for the companies who do business here.

I created this graphic many years ago because the ideas in this article are not new. We all want the outcomes at the top of this chart, but unless there is consistent investment in the work at the bottom, which includes collecting and mapping data, and using the information to build growing involvement that supports needed services in all parts of the region, we’ll never get to the results we want in 5, 10 or 15 years.

I know how difficult it is to find and keep this funding. The Tutor/Mentor Connection received small grants from The Chicago Community Trust between 1998 and 2002, but not after that. Other donors such at Montgomery Ward went out of business, or like HSBC North America, were forced to cease funding due to the financial meltdown. Most donors want to fund programs, not infrastructure or intermediary roles, and few fund more than a small percent of program operations, or for multiple years. These are some of the challenges facing those who want to create a better Chicago.

Frankly, it is difficult for most people to understand the strategy I've been building, because it uses the Internet, and it was not created by a high profile leader or foundation. This difficulty was shown in a 1998 Case Study by the Chapin Hall Center for Children.

These challenges led to the Tutor/Mentor Connection being dropped as a strategy of Cabrini Connections in 2011 and to my creating Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue maintaining and sharing this information.

Unless more people come together and innovate solutions to the funding challenges facing programs, and intermediaries, most of what we wish for will never be achieved. Let's talk about this. Let's find long-term solutions.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Building Tutor/Mentor Org Capacity. Learning for Programs, Donors.

I first wrote this article last January prior to the Super Bowl. I'm reposting it today because I feel it is a critical concept. If we want great youth serving organizations reaching k-12 youth in all high poverty neighborhoods we need to provide traditional training to help staff, volunteers, board members learn how to build effective programs.

However, unless we also educate resource providers, volunteers, media and political leaders to take an active, on-going role that delivers operating resources, talent, ideas and technology to programs in every neighborhood, on an on-going basis, few programs will have the resources needed to put good ideas into practice.

Read on. If you agree, share with people in your own network. If you're in Chicago, attend the Tutor/Mentor Conference next Monday, May 19 and share your ideas, expand your network, learn from others, and help build visibility that attracts resource providers to programs.

I posted this graphic on my blog in April 2013. It expresses a lot of ideas. So I thought I’d try to break it down into components.
Here is same graphic, but with numbers on different parts. In the paragraphs below I’ll show the meaning.

First, the goal of this graphic, and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC is to help high quality, long-term, site-based tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty neighborhoods. This section of the Tutor/Mentor web library includes dozens of research articles that show the impact of poverty, indicating the potential benefits of mentor-rich programs.

Second, if we want mentor-rich programs in more high poverty neighborhoods, then we must find ways to increase the flow of needed resources to all programs, and keep this consistent for many years. To do that we need to influence what the donor and resource provider do, not just what programs do.

I’ve been following the National Mentoring Summit via a live feed for the past two days and posting comments on Twitter. There are about 800 people at the Summit, and between one-, and two-hundred subscribed to the live feed.

In one of the featured discussions yesterday, David Gregory, Host of NBC's Meet the Press, was a speaker. @davidgregory has over 1.6 million Twitter Followers. Justin Bieber @justinbieber has 49 million followers. @MENTORnational has only 3663 followers. As of yesterday @tutormentorteam has almost 1600 followers.

These are “attention gaps” we need to close and we cannot do that without more consistent, and strategic, support from business, public leaders, media and other potential resource providers.

Let’s look at this chart closer:

A tutor/mentor program supports a connection between an adult volunteer with a youth living in an area where indicators show extra adult support and learning activities are needed. NOTE: many mentoring strategies are nor primarily focused on youth living in high poverty. However, there is much research showing that for youth living in high poverty the non-school hours offer risk if not filled with positive learning activities and that there are too few resources in most neighborhoods. The Tutor/Mentor Institute's primary focus is helping mentor rich programs reach youth living in high poverty areas of big cities like Chicago.

There are a wide variety of formal mentoring programs, and many youth are involved in informal mentoring. This New Report: The Mentoring Effect, shows that too few youth are engaged in formal mentoring.

This is one graphic from my web site illustrating a need to support youth for many years. On you can find more graphics like this, which point to a long-term result, which is when kids have made the journey from first grade through high school, post high school learning, and into jobs with family level wages or better. Our aim is to help youth programs build strategies that support this long-term goal.

This graphic is intended to illustrate the infrastructure needed in every tutor/mentor program. Most people, including youth and volunteers, don’t see the work it takes to recruit and retain youth and volunteers, and find the operating dollars and other resources needed to build an ongoing program. See this graphic at this link.

I’ve piloted uses of maps since 1994 to illustrate the need for tutor/mentor programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago. Without the maps donors and media focus on a few high profile programs, or a few high profile neighborhoods. You don't get a distribution of resources to all of the neighborhoods, or all of the programs, which need consistent support.

The oil well graphic indicates the need for programs to help youth from birth to work. See more maps at

Most efforts to support non profits, including tutor/mentor programs, share ideas that help programs improve themselves, and their operations. This concept map shows a section of the Tutor/Mentor Web library that represents a college of resources that tutor/mentor leaders could draw from to be better at what they do.

However, most smaller programs are so overwhelmed and under financed that they can't draw from this information for on-going learning as much as they need to. This section of the library should be read by business leaders, donors and policy makers. It shows challenges facing non profits.

As the Iceberg graphic demonstrated, every program has common needs for a wide range of talent. Few have the money to hire all the talent they need or purchase the best technology and other tools needed to run a high quality business.

This is where we need to grow. Business leaders have tremendous expertise in building chains of stores operating in multiple locations. I wrote about Polk Bros recently, showing how advertising and sales promotion were used to draw customers to stores. On Pinterest I show many graphics that illustrate the role of business and professionals could take to draw needed resources to volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs all over the city. I created this “Virtual Corporate office PDF” to illustrate the way volunteer talent in many companies and industries could be mobilized and focused on supporting the growth of tutor/mentor programs throughout big cities like Chicago.

If programs are consistently supported, and are constantly learning from each other, and engaging all of their supporters in efforts to constantly improve the organization’s impact, they should be able to show on their web sites many indicators of their value and impact. This pdf illustrates some of the things a “shopper” should want to see when looking at a tutor/mentor program’s web site.

Teams of volunteers from business, universities, high schools, etc. could help programs collect and share this information on web sites, and could provide some of the advertising support needed every day to encourage more people to look at these web sites and provide support to help one, or many, programs grow.

As a result of this support there should be many programs with a long-term history and the ability to posts murals like this, showing youth and volunteers who have been part of programs in the past, and who are still connected to those programs today, while helping programs provide services to the next generation of youth.

Now, when you look at this graphic, do you understand what it is showing? Can you share this with people in your own network? Take a look at this blog to see how interns have been creating visualizations and new interpretations of graphics like this. Start a project at your school, or in your church or in your tutor/mentor program, where youth and volunteers create their own interpretations, focusing on your own community and/or school neighborhood if you're not in Chicago.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mapping Networks. Plenty of opportunities. Too little manpower.

I’ve been interested in social network analysis for many years because making resources available to support the growth of mentor-rich programs in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago or any other city requires the strategic, on-going and generous involvement of thousands of people from business, philanthropy, media, entertainment, religion, technology and many other sectors, not just leaders of youth serving organizations, researchers and evaluators.

Geographic maps can show where programs are needed, what programs are operating in these areas, and assets, such as businesses, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, etc. who could work strategically to support programs in different parts of a city or state.

Concept maps can help visualize complex problems and strategies for solving those programs, in the same way that a blueprint helps builders construct a house, and engineers, design and build a spacecraft.

Social network analysis maps can show who’s involved in a collective effort to solve a problem, such as making tutor/mentor programs available to more youth. They can also show the changes in social networks (social capital) for youth and volunteers involved in mentor rich programs.

A visual demonstration of this benefit might show values of these programs and motivate business and philanthropic investment, and remove some of the burden of showing measurable gains in social/emotional behavior and/or academic progress which is much more difficult to measure, especially in smaller programs with fewer resources to operate.

Over the past decade I’ve built a sub section in my web library, pointing to uses of mapping and visualization tools. As I visit these web sites I’m like “a kid in a candy store”. I drool when I see the potential of these tools. However, I can’t buy them and apply them to my work because I don’t have the money, the time, or the talent.

Thus, my network building is an effort to find others who not only will supply the technology, but will provide the talent to apply the technology on an on-going, multi-year effort.

I’m part of two groups on LinkedIn that help me connect with innovators. One is a Social Network Analysis group. Another is a Systems Thinking Group. This map shows many other places where I connect with people and ideas.

During the past week I’ve had three conversations with people I’ve met through these groups.

Cai Kjaer is a Partner at Optimice, based in Australia. We talked about mapping social networks in a Skype discussion on Monday. I first visited the Optimice site more than a year ago, after first learning about them in the Linked In Group. Visit the Friends page and see how you can build your own network map.

Jeff Mohr is CEO at Kumu, which I learned about through the Systems Thinking Group. He’s based in California. We talked via Skype on Thursday. Look at the “Manifesto” on the Kumu site. These are ideas that should offer opportunities for many like-minded people to connect.

Craig Tutterow is a PhD Student at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He introduced to the SNA group, showing ways to map and understand your Linked in network. Visit the site and build an analysis of your own Linked in network. Since Craig is in Chicago he has the most potential of connecting people from his network of peers to the work I've been doing.

Since 2011 I’ve connected with others who have innovative idea mapping. With the help of David Price, co-founder of Debategraph, I created this outline of the “mentoring kids to careers” discussion that should be taking place all over the world.

I started using CMaps to show strategy ideas in mid 2005. The map below shows a leadership commitment that would lead to many more mentor rich programs helping kids through school, if more leaders were adopting the strategy in their own efforts. Each node has links to additional maps that describe steps needed to achieve the goal stated in this strategy.

In 2013 Ben VEDA of MetaMaps offered his tool as a way to visualize this strategy and created the map below as a starting point to demonstrate how I might use MetaMaps instead of CMaps to who ideas and strategy, and who's sharing the work of implementing the strategy. I met Ben in a Google group.

In 2009 Valdis Krebs of Orgnetcom spoke about network building at the November Tutor/Mentor Conference held on the campus of Northwestern University.

Krebs donated his software for creating SNA maps and followed up in Feb. 2010 with a workshop showing how to use the software. I recruited three college students and set up this group to recruit students to help me, and while we made some progress, I was not been able to retain student involvement for more than a few months, thus could not do the work on an ongoing basis.

Using an open source SNA tool, one of my interns created maps to show participation in 2008 and 2009 conferences. You can see these here.

There is a pattern here. I have been able to explore uses of these mapping tools, but have not been able to find the talent and resources to fully develop the capacity of these tools, or deploy them in building the network of leaders needed to make mentor-rich youth programs available in more places.

Each of the people I’ve talked to about mapping networks have asked “how can I help”
and in each case I’ve said, “tell people in your own networks about what I’m trying to do, and help recruit partners, talent, investors/benefactors who will support this work, with you involved as a partner.

This map shows talent needed by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to have a greater impact on helping mentor-rich learning programs be available to youth in high poverty neighborhoods.

While this is my worksheet, it could be used by any other organization, and/or network to show talent they seek, or to show talent already working within their network. It could be a visualization used by any of the people I've talked with, to show who they are connecting to me and others who want to apply network building and analysis tools to social problem solving.

This is not a new pattern, even though I've had far fewer resources since 2011 than I had in earlier years.
A 1998 Chapin Hall case study of the Tutor/Mentor Connection recognized the difficulty of people understanding the strategy.

The report said "T/MC may be particularly difficult to understand because it does not easily fit within known categories of organizations. It provides some of the supports that a membership organization or association would--such as its newsletter, conference, and public relations efforts--but it doesn’t charge a membership fee or offer a membership identity. It also provides some of the matching services that volunteer associations provide and some of the technical assistance provided by organizations that do training and management consulting but without the fee sometimes charged by such consultants. Moreover, T/MC’s citywide mission to not only support programs but to increase their numbers sets it apart from other types of programs. This confusion appears to be a challenge to fundraising."

This 2010 study by a team of NetImpact volunteers compared the T/MC to mentoring partnerships around the country and illustrated the continuing lack of funding that has made it difficult to develop and implement these strategies.

This week I'm focusing on the 41th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference that I've hosted in Chicago since May 1994. I'll be sharing information about the conference on social media, via email, and on my web sites.

I created this page on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site to point to many of the other pages where I focus on network building. I hope you'll use this as a starting point in learning more.

As I go through this week, and following weeks, I will continue to look for people who see the potential of mapping networks as part of building the leadership needed to make mentor-rich youth programs available in more places where needed, and who will want to help do this work over the next few years.