Saturday, October 09, 2021

Who have I helped?

 A friend asked recently, "Has anyone adopted the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy?"  I responded, "Not that I know of."  That's because I don't have documentation to show how people who attended conferences or who I've talked with, or who have visited my websites, have used the ideas.  

Here's an example.  In October 2006 I posted this article titled Nobel Prize, Giraffes and Tutor/Mentor. What's the Link?  

In the comments section one person posted: 

Thank you for what you do for the poor. Do you have any idea where to go or who to contact, to get some funds for a starting project: by means of grants or small loans? As you know most sponsors required a track record of success. This is yet entrepreneurial I left my job to commit 100% to this project and cause. Time is crucial for those that must wait in the cold.

I was once a homeless. I then worked for the homeless and now that I am closer to getting a PhD in Human Services- Health Services Administration I want to put my passion, talents and experience at the service of those brothers and sisters; specially the most vulnerable ones. Homeless in need of respite care.

I have an entrepreneurial idea that will work and will make a respite homeless shelter financially sustained in the long run. I am starting a project, a respite care facility for vulnerable homeless discharged from hospitals here in my city; Miami, Fl. where they have no place to go, but public shelters where they have minimum chances of getting an acceptable recovery if at all. I am well known among the underprivileged housing and healthcare providers in the community. 

My ambition is to house every discharged homeless patient in Miami for at least 60 days while experienced case managers work on transitional housing for them.

Here's what I posted in response:

I have a ppt in the Tutor/Mentor Institute that is titled "steps to start a tutor/mentor program". 

It would also apply to you and others. Doing your research and building a team are the first two steps. You're doing research by contacting me. In the LINKS section of the T/MC site are numerous links to fund raising research and sites. The links on my blog to Gift Hub and Non Profit Blog exchange, provide even more links to people who have more expertise in fund raising than I ever will have.

When I started Cabrini Connections-Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 I had several assets that I could draw on

a) 25 years previous experience leading a Chicago tutor/mentor program, and a large network of volunteers who supported me

b) 17 years history working for the Montgomery Ward corporation in their Chicago headquarters, where I built a relationship with key leaders because of my leadership of the volunteer tutor/mentor program hosted in that facility. Wards provided free space and a $40,000 per year grant from my first year (1993) to 2000 when they went out of business.

c) a marketing/advertising background and mentality, which has enabled me to constantly expand my network of people who might be interested in what I'm doing and who might volunteer time or make a donation

d) momentum and ignorance - my transition from a full time job at Wards to a full time job leading the tutoring/mentor program as its first paid director was forced by people at Wards who decided they no longer wanted me working for them. This gave me the push to leave the company and make leading the tutor/mentor program my full time job, which is what my previous 17 years of involvement had been leading me to want to do. The ignorance part is that I had no idea how difficult it would be and how many sacrifices my family would have to make for me to lead a non profit, on the salary they could pay, and on the constant uncertainty that comes with building an organization from scratch

Thus, my advise to you is to build a team of people who share your passion, and who are willing, or able, to raise money, or provide money, to pay for the operations of your organization. Recruiting the right mix of volunteers for your board is essential to your success in raising money.

As a start up, finding someone to donate space for your operations is critically important if you don't have access to immediate funding for space and operations.

It's not enough to have a good idea. You need to be good at marketing the idea to donors, volunteers and others who must share your vision enough to provide the time and talent it takes to succeed.

Good luck to you.


I never heard back so don't know if this information was used, or was  useful. 

Below is a map showing participants of the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences that I hosted from May 1994 to May 2015.  You can find it here

I've been told by people from Long Beach, California, Detroit, Michigan and Indianapolis, Indiana that they started initiatives similar to the Tutor/Mentor Connection after attending these conferences.  

The Lawyers Lend A Hand Program at the Chicago Bar Association grew from 1994 to 2007 with my support.

Leaders of current Chicago programs like Kids Off the Block, Polished Pebbles and ProjectSyncere all met with me, or attended the conferences, early in their start-up stages.  

Here's a blog by a gentleman from Africa who contacted me in the early 2000s saying he wanted to duplicate the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Africa. We stayed connected until he passed away last year, but I don't think he ever was able to fully duplicate the T/MC.

Thus, I'm certain that I've helped influence many, but at the same time, I don't see any who fully duplicate the strategies share on the website. 

How would one know if this was happening?

Look at my site then look at leadership initiatives in your area. Do they use maps with layers of information showing where poverty is concentrated? Do they use concept maps and other visualizations to show a long-term commitment needed to helping kids from first grade, through high school, into the workforce? Do they share strategies via visual essays?  Do they host a list of programs, and a library of information showing where they are most needed, why they are needed and how people can build and sustain such programs?

Finally, this is most important. Do they work daily  to create public awareness that draws volunteers and donors directly to the programs they list in their library?  

If you've adopted these ideas, or been helped in any way by the work I've done, please post a message in the comment box and re-connect with me on one of these social media platforms.

The work's not completed.

10-12-2021  update - here's an article I posted in 2009 showing an example of how I've helped others. click here.  

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