Thursday, March 25, 2021

Want to make a difference? ReThink Philanthropy

 One of the people I follow on Twitter is Vu Le, who posts Tweets like the one below:

I've focused on improving the flow of operating dollars to non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago since starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  In one section of the Tutor/Mentor web library I focus on fund raising challenges faced by non-profit organizations.  

I've been using this "Mentoring Kids to Careers" graphic, along with various versions, since late 1990s to emphasize the on-going support kids need from pre-school through high school, then beyond, to assure that more of the youth who are born in high poverty areas are starting jobs and lives free of poverty when they are adults.

In the lower left corner is a map of Chicago, with high poverty areas shaded grey. These are the areas where mentor-rich programs are most needed.  In this article you can find my list of programs and see how I plot them on a map. This helps people find existing programs in different parts of Chicago and hopefully is used by planners to determine where more are needed.

Below I've created another version, highlighting one stage on this career ladder.

Kids grow one year at a time. Support  needed for many years.

It's great to be able to provide a youth tutoring and/or mentoring activity that lasts for one, or two years, but it takes 12 years to move from first grade through high school and four to six more years beyond that to be starting a job and career.

The challenge Chicago and other places face is building and sustaining k-12 support programs in every high poverty neighborhood.  

This means we needed to find money every year to pay the bills. That was always a challenge. The graphics below illustrate this challenge.

Note the inclusion of maps in these graphics. Unless donors use maps to assure a distribution of dollars into areas with high poverty, they may make billions of dollars in gifts and still miss  most of the areas where help is most needed. I've devoted the entire MappingForJustice blog since 2008 to show ways maps can be used. You can also see uses of maps in articles on this blog.

In past years a GIVING TUESDAY campaign has attempted to draw donor attention and increase giving to non-profit organizations.  I created the graphic at the lift a few years ago to visualize the need for year-round giving, making every day a "Giving Tuesday".  Much of what I write about on this blog focuses on ways to build the on-going public attention that would motivate such giving habits, as well as the program directories and maps needed to guide giving into every high poverty area, not just a few high profile programs. 

Between 2005 and 2015 interns spent time viewing articles like this, then created their own interpretations. You can find many at this link. Others who I've met via the Internet have also tried to help share these ideas. On this concept map I post links to some of their articles.
More people need to do this. Read this and other articles I've written, then create and share your own version. Let's join Vu Le in advocating for changes in how philanthropy works.

There's a tremendous amount of wealth in Chicago, and the US, but much of it is not yet being focused on helping build and sustain great learning and mentoring opportunities in all high poverty neighborhoods, reach kids at school, and in the non-school hours.

If these graphics resonate with you then let's find places on the Internet, and in Chicago, where we can begin to connect and look for solutions.  I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram (see links). 

If you value what I'm writing about please consider a small contribution to help me keep doing it. 

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