Friday, February 25, 2022

Shout Out to ...

Below is a graphic I've used for many years to show the role intermediaries can play to connect "people who can help" to "places where help is needed".  In my work those places are high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities, and "those who need help" includes organized non-school tutor/mentor programs and the volunteers, donors, staff, parents and youth who support them.

I've been doing this work for nearly 30 years, having formed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, but with uneven and limited resources each year due to inconsistencies of funding caused in part by the bust in 2000, Montgomery Ward going out of business, the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, the financial markets collapse in 2008 and my split in 2011 from the non-profit where this all started 30 years ago.  The greater difficulty has been due to challenges facing all non profits which I point to in this section of my library and in articles like these

Thus, my voice is like a "whisper in the wilderness".  

Below I want to recognize a few with much higher public visibility who are doing some really great things.

Chicago Community Trust - 

Under the leadership of Helene Gayle, since 2017, the Trust has focused its efforts on confronting the racial and ethnic wealth gap. Browse the website, and Twitter and Facebook pages, to see a constant stream of information intending to mobilize "those who can help" and point them to "where they can help".  

Open the link above and view the maps shared in the PDF on the Field Foundation website. The foundation is using these to guide its grant making.  I hope other foundations are looking at this and doing the same.  The map of Chicago does not change, regardless of who is looking at it. Thus, if visible leaders are pointing "people who can help" to these maps, they are also pointing them to "places where help is needed".

This week Hope Chicago (@HopeChicagoEdu on Twitter) announced the names of five Chicago high schools where every graduating student, and some of their parents, will receive full scholarships to colleges within Illinois.  They aim to add schools to this list every year, thus doing much to assure that kids in high poverty neighborhoods are getting through college once they enroll.

Below is a graphic on the Hope Chicago website showing their five step strategy of helping students achieve a "debt-free college education".  

I'm particularly pleased with point 4, which says "Engage existing providers by forging partnerships with community providers and universities to support our scholars and get every one of them over the finish line."  

I'm also pleased to see this page that shows models in other cities that HOPE Chicago is learning from, such as Kalamazoo's Promise.  

Hopefully this means they will use my maps and list of non-school tutor/mentor programs to identify existing programs to partner with and to help form new programs in areas where too few exist. Furthermore, my hope is that they will enlist businesses and colleges to be strategic in how they support youth serving organizations and schools in every high poverty neighborhood.

I share plenty of ideas on this blog, the website and the MappingforJustice blog. 

If these organizations point to maps and graphics like this "birth to work" arrow, on a weekly basis, they can inspire long term funding and employee involvement in many places.

To&Through Project at the University of Chicago -   

I've highlighted the work of the To&Through Project in previous articles. I get their monthly newsletter and follow their Twitter account. I've participated in some of their ZOOM events.  There is a load of information intended to help Chicago students "to and through" college.  In the maps above I show the new group of middle schools added to their Middle Grades Network.  I also show my map of Chicago tutor and/or mentor programs. 

I've circled the three areas where the To&Through Project schools are located. On the West side of Chicago there are several existing programs that could be partners with the middle schools, but in the other two areas, there are almost none (at least based on my list). 

I had to create these graphics myself. My hope is that at some point in the future I'll see similar graphics on the websites and blogs of these and other leaders in Chicago, who will be each filling the "YOU" role of drawing "people who can help" to information they can use that makes them smarter and more consistent in supporting schools and non-school programs in high poverty areas who are trying to help kids through school and into adult lives and jobs.

I point to these organizations in the monthly Tutor/Mentor eNews along with others who are doing good work and share resources on their websites.  You can subscribe, or read it on my website. 

If you're reading this, thank you. Please go a step further and share my articles with people you know and encourage them to do the same.  Take a further step and create your own articles, borrowing from what I've written, that share your own thinking of ways to help kids in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places move through school. 

As you see other foundations, businesses, colleges, and NPOs doing outstanding work be sure to share what you're seeing on social media and through your own blogs. Together we can turn a "whisper" into a "roar". 

Visit this page to find links to my social media spaces and visit this page to make a contribution to help me pay the bills. 

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