Friday, November 14, 2014

The Value of Intentional Influence - SSIR series

I've been reading, and commenting, on a series of articles on the Stanford Social Innovation Review site, titled The Value of Intentional Influence.

I hope you'll spend some time reading these, then browse back through blog articles I've written on this site, and the Mapping for Justice site, and look at some of the printed newsletters I was sending to 12,000 people in the 1990s.

Here's a graphic that illustrates my goal of influencing what resource providers do, along with what tutor/mentor program leaders do, so every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities is filled with great, or constantly improving, non-school programs helping kids move through school and into jobs some day in the future. In this article you can see how I posted this in a blog, then one of my interns from IIT and South Korea, converted it to a video on YouTube.

This is one of many graphics I've created to emphasize the role everyone, or anyone, can take to influence the actions of others.

I've been trying to influence what people do since I became a mentor, then leader of a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in 1973-1975. Actually, I started earlier in college when I was in a fraternity and tried to influence new freshmen every year to join the fraternity. When I came to Chicago in 1973 it was to become a retail advertising copywriter with the Montgomery Ward corporation. For the next 17 years my daily focus was creating advertising that would influence people to shop in one of the 400 retail stores we had in 40 states.

At Wards our annual retail advertising budget in the 1980s was close to $250 million. In the past 20 years my advertising budget has been close to zero. I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 with no money and seven volunteers, and with a primary goal of creating a new youth serving programs to help 7th graders in Cabrini-Green move through high school. I've never had more than $150,000 in a given year for everything the Tutor/Mentor Connection was trying to do, even though my focus was the third largest city in the USA.

Thus, my ability to influence what leaders in industry, philanthropy, media, politics, sports, religion, education, etc. do has been limited, even though writers like John McCarron of the Chicago Tribune recognized the vision I had as early as 1995. See article. In the past three years, as the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC has been my organizational structure, the dollars I have available to influence people has been even less, yet my time has grown since I'm no longer also responsible for leading a non-school tutor/mentor program with 80 pairs of teens/volunteers meeting weekly.

If you want to help youth born in high poverty neighborhoods move from birth to work you need to make a daily effort to influence what others do to provide the talent, operating dollars, technology and ideas to schools and non school organizations working with youth and families in high poverty neighborhoods.

If you want to help me do this work you can go to this page and make an investment in my work. Or you can contact me and explore ways you can become a partner, or even an owner, sharing this influence building effort in your own community.

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