Friday, December 27, 2019

Mapping the ideas and vision of an organization

In December 2019 Yahoo  terminated it's long-term support for YahooGroups, by deleting archives for any groups hosted there over the past 20 years.  I was able to pull some of the posts out of the Tutor/Mentor Volunteer Recruitment eGroup, which I had started around 2000 to support our efforts to draw volunteers to every youth tutor/mentor program in Chicago.

I share these here.

Most of what I saved are email newsletters sent from 2001 to 2008. Each included an editorial from myself, similar in content to articles I've posted since 2005 on this blog. 

Here's my message from June 2007.

The title is "Mapping the ideas and vision of an organization".

Many of you have been receiving email or print newsletters from me for many years.

Some of you are receiving this for the first time.  I've found that many people don't understand how a small non profit that operates a single site based tutor/mentor program in one neighborhood of a huge city like Chicago can also lead a strategy that intends to help all high poverty neighborhoods of the same city have comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs.

Why, and how, can a non profit that does not have enough money to do every thing it wants to do for its own kids and volunteers split its time and money to help its competitors and peers get the money and volunteers that they need to do good work in their neighborhood?

The "why" is because we realize how difficult it is for a small program to attract consistent attention to itself and how difficult it is to find the funding to sustain year-to-year services.  I was lucky to have been encouraged to reach out to my peers for knowledge and emotional support more than 30 years ago when I first became the leader of the volunteer based tutoring program hosted by Montgomery Ward.  I've been doing that ever since.  As a result, I believe that if more programs work to get businesses and donors involved in tutoring/mentoring, we all will  have a greater access to capital.  That helps Cabrini Connections as it helps everyone else.

The "how" we do this is much more complex.  While it's simple to say "help all programs get the resources they need to constantly improve", this really involves quite a few inter-related actions.  If you've every met with me, you've seen me swing my hands in the air and scratch drawings on paper, to try to help you understand what I was describing.  Many people have walked away saying "he's got a lot of enthusiasm, but I don't know what he's talking about."

 Thus, I've been looking for a way to visualize these ideas.  This has led to a use of concept maps, which I've now added to the website.  I encourage you to take some time to study these maps and see if they can help you find and use the knowledge on the T/MC site, or if they help you or business partners, become more strategic in working to increase capacity of all tutor/mentor programs in your community.

You can find links to some of these maps at

If you're still reading this message I thank you for making it to this point.  Now, please become an active part of the T/MC network by sharing this information with other people in your business, faith, college and community network. Encourage them to use the information on the web site to help you and others in your community build and sustain more volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring programs in the neighborhoods where they are most needed.

If you'd like to know more about the Tutor/Mentor Connection, or receive advise about starting a tutor/mentor program, or a T/MC-type network, email

What I wrote in 2007 still applies in 2019 and as we head into 2020.  Below are a couple of PDF essays that communicate ideas from the 2007 article. 

Why Tutor/Mentor Connections was created by small non profit youth program. click here

Tutor/Mentor Learning Network - click here

These and other visualized pdf essays are archived here on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site. 

Since 1998 when we first started sharing ideas on the Internet I've built a huge library of information an ideas that anyone can use to help build and sustain mentor-rich youth programs in their own communities.  This is hosted on several web sites and requires a dedicated amount of browsing, reading and learning to know what's there.

In 2015 an intern from South Korea created this video as a guide to the website. I hope you'll take a look then spend time in 2020 visiting each section and sharing the information with others.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to help continue the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and spread the ideas to other cities. I'm not a 501-c-3 nonprofit, but still depend on contributions to help fund my work.

Click here if you'd like to make a 2019 contribution. Thank you for reading.


Dogtrax said...

I'm glad you were able to save some of the archives before it got lost ...

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thanks Kevin. There were a lot of conversations in the eGroups that I hosted that are now lost.

I was lucky I found the thread to the Volunteer Recruitment eGroup conversations and peeked in to see what was there. Then that I took an afternoon to copy all of those to text.