Tutor/Mentor Learning Network
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: TUTOR/MENTOR CONNECTION TECHNOLOGY VISION
"When nonprofit and community leaders share ideas, insights and information in ways that promote social impact…knowledge-sharing can improve organizational effectiveness. When we share what works and what doesn't… it results in accelerated learning, less reinventing the wheel, better service, and measurable results." 2003 quote by Mr. Tim Wilmot. Chief Knowledge and Evaluation Officer, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation
The Tutor/Mentor Connection is a small organization with a big vision. We live this quote every day in the way we collect and share information intended to help build more and better tutor/mentor programs in low-income inner-city neighborhoods. We lead an innovative strategy that works on three levels:
• we mentor hundreds of organizations in Chicago and around the country that provide tutoring/mentoring services to thousands of inner-city and at-risk youth
• we mentor and coach business, philanthropy, media, and other institutions to help them be more strategically involved with mentoring programs that aim to help youth move from poverty to careers
• we mentor teens and volunteers at a Cabrini-Green area program called Cabrini Connections
During the past decade tutoring and mentoring programs became recognized as an effective avenue for improving the lives of children and youth that live in poverty in our communities. This commitment has been institutionalized in federal funding of mentoring and the call for supplemental tutoring services in the No Child Left Behind law under the present administration. However, these strategies do not assure an even distribution of tutor/mentor programs in all places where they are needed, nor provide tools or adequate resources support the constant improvement in the quality of all tutor/mentor programs. They do little to engage the business community in actions that PULL kids through school and into jobs and careers.
Push Pull This graphic illustrates this concept. See more graphics like this in articles at http://www.tutormentorexchange.net
This is the mission of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC)
The T/MC was launched in January 1994 by a small Chicago non profit called Cabrini Connections. The organization believes that comprehensive mentoring-to-career programs are an effective strategy to help inner-city youth obtain basic skills and experiences necessary to compete for employment in the global economy. Such programs are also a form of civic engagement that draws workplace adults into the lives of economically-disadvantaged children. The process of service and learning converts many volunteers into leaders and advocates who are needed to significantly increase public and private investment in tutor/mentor programs.
At this time, the biggest obstacle to involving children and caring adults in tutor/mentor programs is the need for more of the programs themselves, as well as the need for a more consistent flow of resources (dollars, volunteers, training, technology, etc.) to existing programs. While most people look to the government to provide funding for schools, non profits and all other social problems, the reality is that there is not enough public money, nor taxpayer will power, to fund all schools to the level they need, let alone fund a comprehensive network of nonschool tutor/mentor programs to the level of funding they require to be effective — and available in all of the places where they are needed.
This obstacle is compounded by an even greater challenge. The issues of big city poverty are complex. “In an era of globalization, when knowledge and scholarship are becoming increasingly universal and universally accessible, problems, too, with all their complexity, no longer recognize borders of geography, language, time, culture, or a myriad of other factors and so they demand an integrated approach. They demand the best ideas from all of us and the wisdom to work together to see that ideas turn into actions and solutions.” … Carnegie Corporation of New York: Meeting Challenges of the 21st Century.
Most leaders, donors, corporate sponsors and potential volunteers are only superficially involved in discussions of poverty, workforce development, school reform, racism and related issues which comprehensive “total quality” tutor/mentor programs can address. Too many tutor/mentor programs are isolated. Too little infrastructure exists. There is not enough time to get all of the right people in the same room often enough to come to a deep enough understanding of the problems and the solutions that already exist.
This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to build common understanding, and a convergence on solutions which need to be sustained for the 25 years it takes for just one child to move from birth in poverty to a first step on a career.
There are about 15 million children in America who need such help. While the Internet has great potential to offer virtual meetings, and collaborative action, too few dollars are available to innovate ways to bring disconnected stakeholders to on-line meeting places (see Policy Link 2001 report titled, "Bridging the Organizational Divide").
The Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) was created as a response to these needs. The T/MC is an innovative, visionary effort to build tutor/mentor programs. The T/MC is not an effort to develop a single tutor/mentor program, or even a few tutor/mentor programs, that will serve a limited number of children who are referred for services. Instead, the goal of the T/MC is to support the development of an entire universe of tutor/mentor programs that will serve low-income children BEFORE problems occur.
This mission - the provision of resources that will enhance the ability of any existing or potential tutor/mentor program to serve children - is what makes the T/MC such an extraordinary.
The T/MC literally embodies the use of information technology to provide important resources for use by the staff, volunteers and boards of existing tutor/mentor programs, people interested in starting tutor/mentor programs, and people and business organizations interested in supporting tutor/mentor programs.
Because this concept is so novel in the philanthropic community, and will reach so many more people in so many more ways than traditional philanthropic efforts, the T/MC is using information technology to actually expand the boundaries of philanthropy.
Few organizations in the country are using Geographic Mapping Systems the way the T/MC does. These maps show where poverty is, where existing tutor/mentor programs are located, and what churches, businesses; universities and hospitals are in the same neighborhood and could be more involved as partners in building and sustaining comprehensive mentoring-to-career programs.
At the same time, the T/MC web site links to thousands of model programs and resource providers, while its conferences and newsletters call on programs and resource providers to come together to build capacity.
The city of Chicago, center of current T/MC activity, has more than 500,000 school age-children. More than 200,000 of these children live in neighborhoods where they experience increased risk of failure in school, and in life, because of the social problems and personal limitations associated with poverty.
Throughout the state, other cities, such as Rockford, St. Louis, Decatur, Joliet, Elgin, Waukegan, Quincy and Aurora, face similar problems, although with smaller populations. The T/MC is already piloting a variety of technology-based supportive services which facilitate the dissemination of information, increase the shared understanding of that information, enhance opportunities for participation in collaborative relationships, and increase awareness of hundreds of Chicago-based tutor/mentor program locations.
The T/MC targets this information to funders, potential funders, business leaders, volunteers, program leaders, youth, families, educators and media outlets. This infrastructure is already helping tutor/mentor programs, volunteers and corporate and individual financial supporters to coalesce into an identifiable community of interest around the goal of expanding the availability and quality of tutor/mentor programs.
What makes the T/MC such an interesting partner for industry, education and government is that its vision is a holistic approach, and its process aims to identify all of the services needed in a community to help youth from birth to careers.
The T/MC data collection process and its use of GIS mapping to visually show where services are needed and where they are currently available. This is a model the others can borrow. It is also a model that brings great visibility to anyone who leads it. By generating awareness of and interest in tutor/mentor programs, using the tools and process described in this proposal, the T/MC expands the level of resources accessible to every tutor/mentor program, increases the availability of such programs in every poverty neighborhood and increases the flow of volunteers, dollars, media attention, training and business partners directly to programs.
This means that money contributed to the T/MC for developing the infrastructure described in this proposal generate results in excess of the value of the original contribution. While these technologies are all integrated in the T/MC’s current actions, none are fully funded, meaning the organization depends on borrowed volunteer time to innovate and sustain these concepts.
A visit to the www.tutormentorexchange.net web site will quickly demonstrate that the GIS mapping has tremendous potential, but that it’s current version is not as interactive, intuitive or easy-to-use as it needs to be to attract repeat use by the many stake holders who would value this service.
The current budget of the Tutor/Mentor Connection is less than $250,000 per year, which is raised from individuals and a variety of corporate and foundation donors, as well as from fees charged for T/MC Conferences. To fully implement the technology vision we have described will require additional contributions and social investment of $500,00 per year, for three to five years.
The specific timeframe for completing the initial development of the infrastructure depends on the success of current fundraising efforts. We invite you to take a lead role, by contributing part or all of these funds, or by helping the T/MC organize a network of donors who will fully fund this project. As Margaret Mead was quoted in saying, “It only takes a few dedicated people to change the world.”
Thank you for taking the time to consider this invitation. For more information or to schedule a meeting with Daniel F. Bassill, President and CEO of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, call 312-492-9614 or ten.knilhtrae|2rotnemrotut#ten.knilhtrae|2rotnemrotut
The T/MC began developing a library of tutor/mentor program information in 1993. It began piloting actions to draw attention to this information and encourage idea sharing and collaboration among tutor/mentor programs in 1994. However, the T/MC did not begin to integrate the Internet into its actions until mid 1997.
Since then, the T/MC has developed a variety of innovate, Internet-based strategies to mobilize public involvement and to distribute essential resources into tutor/mentor programs in every poverty neighborhood of Chicago. A search on Google under the key words "tutor mentor" results in T/MC web sites appearing in the first five out of more than 150,000 listings.
The T/MC seeks to “quicken the pace of its progress” and is seeking grants and social investment of $500,000 per year for three years (total $1,500,000). These funds will support project management, knowledge collection and analysis, programming, software and hardware acquisition and will help the T/MC stretch the application of these technologies in its on-going commitment to expand the availability and quality of comprehensive mentoring-to-careers programs in Chicago and in other major cities.
T/MC will share its learning and innovation with its corporate partners and the non profit community, making them available to tutor/mentor programs, community networks, and education, health and human service networks, throughout the nation. These components include:
• ON-LINE TUTOR/MENTOR LEARNING NETWORK – Knowledge is the T/MC's greatest asset. We seek to create an internet based learning and information sharing system that draws from the best technology of businesses that are already building “knowledge libraries” and creating “just in time” access for any user. The organization seeks funding and partnership from IT organizations to create a database-driven web engine that supports this vision.
• COLLABORATION - The T/MC has used its knowledge of tutor/mentor stakeholders to create an information sharing system that encourages the transfer of good ideas from one program to many programs, while encouraging stakeholders to connect in face-to-face and virtual forums with each other, and with the T/MC's library of "best practice" information. T/MC seeks funds to add state-of-industry collaboration tools to its technology offerings, along with staff to facilitate the interactions of organizations and information.
• GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SERVICES (GIS) – See GIS plan at http://tutormentorinstitute.wikidot.com/project:geographic-information-systems-interface-with-data. The T/MC has piloted the use of maps and charts to create a visual information system that speeds understanding of complex issues and leads to a more consistent distribution of resources to all places where they are needed. T/MC seeks funding to transform its’ initial experiments with on-line mapping technology into a powerful service that will support public awareness efforts, graphically depict the need for resources in specific neighborhoods throughout the nation, support business involvement and investment decisions, and draw critically needed resources to tutor/mentor programs throughout the region.
• PUBLIC AWARENESS/VOLUNTEER DONOR RESPONSE – The T/MC has grown from an idea to an organization that recognized throughout the world as a resource for tutoring/mentoring leaders. This is the result of an on-going public awareness strategy that uses the knowledge and maps the T/MC creates to draw visibility, volunteers and dollars to all neighborhoods where tutor/mentor programs are needed. Your support will enable the T/MC to lead a 2011-2015 slate of events and actions that increase the number of visitors to the Tutor/Mentor Learning Network and draws an increasing number of volunteers and donors to every program in the Chicago area.
• EVALUATION - T/MC has piloted on-line documentation and journey-mapping tools that show the impact of a virtual network such as the T/MC, as well as the long-term impact of tutoring/mentoring on youth and volunteers who participate in such programs. The database tools created by the TMLN will be used to make the evaluation systems interactive. This means that once an action is logged into the system, a user can see its impact on the accumulative actions of many people to create a desired outcome. This is a process that has application and value in any enterprise. The next few pages show how each of these supports facilitate the development of an entire universe of tutor/mentor programs in a defined geographical area, such as the Chicago region.
ON-LINE TUTOR/MENTOR LEARNING NETWORK !!
Knowledge is the T/MC's greatest asset. We seek to create an internet based learning and information sharing system that draws from the best technology of businesses that are already building “knowledge libraries” and creating “just in time” access for any user.
T/MC gathers additional information from various stakeholders that is intended to help T/MC better describe variety of tutor/mentor programs that exist in Chicago, the different organizational structures and mission statements, the needs of programs, sources of funding, etc.
This information is intended to feed into on-going planning that provides solutions to problems shared by many programs, as well as a convergence on goals shared by a majority of stakeholders. The T/MC has built an on-line library that records more than 60,000 visits each year and has piloted the use of interactive databases to collect, organize and share information that any stakeholder can use at any time in any part of the world.
Additionally, there are numerous independent activities within the network, like fundraising & benefit events, recruitment campaigns, email marketing, newsletters and a large web presence. These activities support the day-to-day functions of Cabrini Connections and the TMC network along with propagating its message, goals and philosophies to general public.
It is evident that the current existing systems cannot satisfy many of TMC network’s growing needs. To enhance these systems to meet current and future needs requires significant re-engineering. An enterprise application that meets TMC’s needs as a whole is clearly needed to improve accuracy, streamlining key processes, and meet future business growth. Funds from are requested to support the work of an IT project team that will create a web-based enterprise system that meets the current and future TMC requirements and allows all stakeholders of TMC network to connect in an information gathering, analysis and sharing platform.
Collaboration among people and/or organizations involved in similar activities is not a new idea. Still, the leaders of most small non-profit organizations usually spend most of their time focused on necessary, short-term activities – things that need to be done in order to keep the organization functioning for another month or so.
In order to address this problem, the T/MC will expand on its current offering of site-based meetings and training events and create a virtual forum. This forum will allow program staff, board members, funders, potential funders, volunteers and young people receiving tutoring/mentoring services to meet and discuss their programs, their needs, and their ideas twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Some meetings will take place for short periods of time, such as in eConferences which the T/MC began piloting in May 2004. Others will be active on a continuous basis for anyone who wants to participate, such as the Ning and LinkedIn groups which the T/MC hosts.
With this grant we will also expand the use of on-line surveys to determine the mix of tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region, the priorities of such programs and the most critical needs. Using Group Decision Support System (GDSS) technology and professional facilitation, we seek to engage stakeholders in discussions of these issues that lead to more frequent shared actions that solve persistent problems. For instance, at this link, you can see surveys that have been completed by more than 180 people. In these surveys, a majority of participant indicate that finding human capital (staff and volunteers) and finding dollars, are the two most important priorities.
The T/MC already is responding to the first issue by leading a Chicagoland Volunteer Recruitment Campaign. It has had an impact on the second need by helping groups like the Lawyers Lend A Hand form and raise money for tutor/mentor programs. Now T/MC seeks to draw business and professional partners, as well as tutor/mentor program leaders into web-based meetings where participants can participant more frequently because they can participate on-line at different times and from different places.
The T/MC will use the virtual forums, traditional face-to-face meetings and GDSS to engage staff, youth and volunteers of tutor/mentor programs, board members and funders in web-based meetings, workshops and conferences. Participants will share technical assistance, best practices, and other information necessary for the operation of effective tutor/mentor programs. The T/MC will also make this service available to support the interaction of youth and volunteers in single tutor/mentor programs, and to connect youth from one program with youth and volunteers in many programs.
At http://my.cabriniconnections.net/ a pilot system is in place that intends to build an on-line community of Cabrini Connections stakeholders. As youth and volunteers learn to network, share information and solve problems using this meeting place, we expect them to build a loyalty to the system that will keep them using it for many years into the future. We also expect that they will expand the network of adults who are helping them access college, jobs and career opportunities.
The result will be that youth born in poverty who have few adults in their community who can open doors to jobs and careers, will have a virtual network of adults who work in many different industries and who are willing and able to open the doors to careers for youth they have mentored for one or more years. One of the technology projects that this grant will support, is a Social Network Analysis project, in which we will map the networks of youth as they join Cabrini Connections, then show changes in that network over a period of 2, five and 10 years after the youth joins.
Creating this community and making it available as a connection between the rich and the poor can be a powerful strategy for closing the divides that separate people in this world from each other and from hope and opportunity. By piloting these systems in our own www.cabriniconnections.net program we can test them, improve them, and then share them through the Tutor/Mentor Connection with other programs in Chicago and throughout the world.
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SERVICES !!
The T/MC’s use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a unique and effective method to generate public awareness of the need for tutor/mentor programs. It is also a tool that any leader can use to assure a better distribution of such programs throughout a geographic area, such as the Chicago region.
By placing a Tutor/Mentor GIS on the Internet, the T/MC supports the involvement of any stakeholder in any tutor/mentor program in the area. The T/MC has already placed a pilot version of GIS mapping on its web site, making it possible for any volunteer, donor, or parent in Chicago to query the system and access information about existing tutor/mentor programs.
The T/MC has also created an on-line data entry system that enables programs to enter and update their own data and an interactive GIS that enables viewers to zoom in on specific parts of the region, or look at sections of the T/MC database (such as programs serving high school youth, or programs that only offer tutoring).
The T/MC also hopes to make it possible for corporations and foundations to use this service to evaluate their own volunteer involvement and grants distribution in areas where they do business.
By creating such a service and making it available to others at low, or no cost, the T/MC is enabling others to benefit from such a system without paying the full cost of creating and maintaining it.
In the GIS maps, the T/MC overlays its data regarding the availability of tutor/mentor programs with public data and provides information in a visual manner that is not available from any other source. Using these maps, the T/MC can show the change in the availability and distribution of tutor/mentor programs over time, or to graphically depict conditions that reflects a need for tutor/mentor programs. It can also leverage the public awareness generated by negative news reporting, to draw potential volunteers and donors to neighborhood programs and knowledge networks where they can become part of a solution.
The T/MC has, for example, created overlays showing under-performing schools, high concentrations of poverty, and locations of youth-on-youth violence, to generate public support of tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods where maps show multiple indicators of need.
The T/MC also creates overlays showing businesses, hospitals, universities and churches in the city as a means of building networks of support for tutor/mentor programs in any single neighborhood. The GIS project will have another benefit, as well.
Because the maps must be created, the T/MC seeks to create a Youth Apprentice Learning Program, engaging teens who participate in the Cabrini Connections program, and teens in city and suburban high schools, or other tutor/mentor programs. Such a program will teach young people to create GIS maps, web pages, videos and art, while at the same time will teach them to uses these skills as tools in building public involvement in tutoring/mentoring programs.
By teaching teens to use technology to solve problems, we empower them with skills they can use throughout their lives, while enlisting them in the T/MC's campaign to increase the availability of tutor/mentor programs throughout the region. T/MC Maps and a Program Locator can be searched to find specific tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region can be found at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net
Examples of how others use a GIS can be found in the Directory Section of [http://www.tutormentorconnection.org]. These are examples that the T/MC seeks to emulate in its own applications.
MARKETING AND CREATING PUBLIC AWARENESS AND INVOLVEMENT !!
The final innovations in this system will include features that encourage volunteers and donors use the Tutor/Mentor Learning Network and T/MC maps to make choices of where they volunteer or where they contribute dollars.
Just creating an interactive T/MC knowledge system would be a valuable service to hundreds of tutor/mentor programs and thousands of businesses, foundations and volunteers in the Chicago region. However, T/MC also leads a campaign that seeks to increase visits to this information, so that it results in a growing number of volunteers and donors supporting tutor/mentor programs in all parts of the region. Funding from this grant will also support the 2005-07 T/MC calendar of public awareness, networking, training and volunteer recruitment events. Through the T/MC's Knowledge Network, we aim to help leaders and employees from every industry become involved with tutor/mentor programs in all parts of the Chicago region, not just at Cabrini Connections. Furthermore, using the collaboration tools we've described, we aim to support the growth of networks of volunteers who share experiences and exchange ideas in an on-going process that transfers best practices into programs throughout the Chicago region. T/MC is already working toward this goal by supporting the growth of a Lend-A-Hand Program at the Chicago Bar Association (www.lend-a-hand.net) and supporting the growth of mentoring programs at the University of Chicago Hospitals and at Siani Health Centers in Chicago. The public awareness, evaluation, collaboration and GIS services provided by the T/MC demonstrate how the T/MC is developing an infrastructure on multiple levels - a technological infrastructure, a social networking infrastructure, a financial infrastructure, and a training/staff development infrastructure. This infrastructure will support and expand tutor/mentoring everywhere rather than in a single geographic area or program site. Consequently, contributions to the T/MC will ultimately touch all participants of tutor/mentor programs nationwide, expanding the boundaries of philanthropy by generating enormous results for every dollar spent.
Virtual organizations and collaborations, such as the T/MC, often find it difficult to evaluate the services they provide. Usually this reflects a lack of resources or expertise on the part of the organizations involved. Regardless of the cause, the fact that these organizations do not evaluate the effectiveness of their services detracts from their ability to not only improve the services they provide. It also reduces their ability to demonstrate the value of their services. Individual Tutor/Mentor programs have another challenge. Mentoring is a journey that has a different impact on everyone who participates. The impact cannot be measured by test scores, but only by the impact the journey has on each participant. Without the ability to track progress of students and volunteers over a period of months or years, a program finds it difficult to demonstrate the value or impact of it s work. The T/MC has been piloting a state-of-the-art, web-based evaluation systems that tutor/mentor programs throughout the region may use to enhance the services they provide to children. The T/MC used a small grant from the Lloyd A Fry Foundation to create the first stage of an Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS) in 1999 and 2000. The T/MC OHATS seeks to examine five specific questions regarding a virtual organization, such as the T/MC, and its’ effect on the tutor/mentor community in the Chicago area. These questions are: 1. How is the T/MC achieving its’ mission? 2. Is the T/MC a catalyst for change? 3. How does the T/MC distribute its’ effects? 4. Does the T/MC make a difference? 5. What factors contribute to the T/MC’s effectiveness as a catalyst for change? During the 2003-4 school year the T/MC developed a Student-Volunteer OHATS (SVHATS), focused at tracking the journey of individual students and volunteers in a single tutor/mentor program. SVHATS intends to engage all youth and volunteers in the documentation of contacts with each other, while providing preformatted reports that staff and volunteers can use to evaluate and support the tutor/mentor relationship. The SVHATS is also intended to build an on-line community of youth, volunteers and alumni, so that the mentoring available for each youth (and volunteer) continues well beyond the time he/she is an active member of a tutor/mentor program. Once these systems are fully interactive, they will be used in conjunction with other T/MC technology to: 1. Help individual programs understand and improve their outcomes for youth and volunteers. 2. Help organizations sponsoring tutor/mentor programs and their supporters, including funders, to understand and improve how they implement and coordinate programs to produce better services and better aggregate outcomes. 3. Help communities understand and improve the cumulative and aggregate effects of programs and organizations in order to improve community-wide outcomes. The T/MC OHATS has documented more than 500 actions since 2000. These can be viewed at www.tutormentorexchange.net. The Student-Volunteer OHATS (SVHATS) was used by 90% of Cabrini Connections' teens during the 2003-04 school year. One youth documented more than 40 different sessions. See this at www.cabriniconnections.net/feedback.
If funds are received by March 2008, the T/MC will be able to fully integrate its Internet database, volunteer and donor referral and survey tools, and its OHATS systems in time for the August 2008 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign that kicks off the 2008-09 school year. The T/MC will introduce this information during the May 2008 Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference. The T/MC will update information on all 400-plus tutor/mentor programs listed in its database during June-August, and post this in the updated Program Locator to support August - December 2008 volunteer recruitment. By upgrading the OHATS, using funds from this grant, we actually improve our ability to document progress on this and other grants. The T/MC OHATS will demonstrate the impact made as a result of this funding. By August 2008 visitors will be able to view interactive reports showing how T/MC has increased knowledge, increased visibility, increased the flow of volunteers and donors, increased the involvement of business groups, and increased the number of organizations involved in collaboration and information sharing. In addition, we will demonstrate progress by documenting visits to T/MC web sites. With the upgrades that we propose and the additional support for staffing this project, we feel we can move our annual visit count to over 60,000 potential volunteers, donors and tutor/mentor program supporters during the 2005-06 school year.
The infrastructure now being created by the T/MC is specifically designed to promote the development of partnerships and collaborative activities among tutor/mentor programs, business and professional groups, funders, volunteers, youth, parents, and a universe of other services providers who are essential to the education and career-development of youth living in poverty and working poor neighborhoods throughout the nation. The T/MC has built a process that now has more than 100 youth agencies from Chicago and around the United States working together regularly to build capacity for their own programs and for all other tutor/mentor programs. In 1994 half of these agencies did not even know the others existed. Using the Internet the T/MC is expanding this network to include programs and stakeholders throughout the county. At the March 2001 Hospital Youth Mentoring Network Conference, the T/MC demonstrated its goal of enlisting Hospitals as providers and as leaders, in this expanding network. At the SunTimes Judge Marovitz Lend A Hand Fund (supported by Chicago Bar Association/Foundation) demonstrates the impact of the T/MC in Chicago's legal community. During Jan-May 2005 the Technology Department of IUPUI in Indanapolis completely rebuilt the [http://www.tutormentorconnection.org web site, and developed a platform for hosting future econferences. Since 2004 a variety of e-conferences were hosted by IUPUI, the T/MC, and the Digital Workforce Education Society of the City Colleges of Chicago. T/MC has already proven its ability to draw dozens of independent organizations into a focused collaboration that recruits volunteers at one time of the year and shares training information at two other strategic periods. The technology support the T/MC seeks will improve the quality of every interaction, and will not only model new ways to build collaborations, but will offer on-line technology to support the efforts of tutor/mentor networks in Chicago neighborhoods, and in communities throughout America. The entire project is an effort to build a community of interest to promote, support, and improve the provision of tutor/mentor services to low-income youth throughout the country. The T/MC does, however, approach this task in an unconventional way. Rather than lead this community development effort, the T/MC pushes it, providing access to the basic tools that individuals and groups in low-income communities need to undertake their own development efforts. These diverse groups will coalesce around the infrastructure that supports their programs, forming a nationwide network of partnerships, collaborative systems, and coordinated programs.
COSTS AND TIMELINE !!
While these technologies are all integrated in the T/MC’s current actions, none are fully funded, meaning the organization depends on borrowed volunteer time to innovate and sustain these concepts. A visit to the www.tutormentorexchange.net web site will quickly demonstrate that the GIS mapping has tremendous potential, but that it’s current version is not as interactive, intuitive or easy-to-use as it needs to be to attract repeat use by the many stake holders who would value this service. The T/MC has grown the way most small businesses grow. It started with a vision designed to solve a problem. Its leaders have volunteered time and talent and used what every funds could be raised each year since 1993 to convert the vision into an action plan that is now attraction attention throughout the world. The costs for a Tutor/Mentor Connection described in this proposal is $350,000 per year. The T/MC will raise $100,000 to $140,000 per year from individuals and a variety of corporate and foundation donors, as well as from fees charged for T/MC Conferences. To fully implement the technology vision we have described will require additional contributions and social investment of $250,00 per year, for three to five years. The specific timeframe for completing the initial development of the infrastructure depends on the success of current fundraising efforts.
PROMOTING EQUITY !!
The T/MC specifically promotes a non-discriminatory approach to providing tutoring and mentoring services to low-income children and youth. In fact, the T/MC promotes mentor-rich tutoring/mentoring as one of the few realistic ways corporations can teach and encourage diversity throughout an organization. Josette Wright of Ameritech spoke at the 2000 Operation Push conference in Chicago and said; “diversity allows us to solve more problems more efficiently. We get better decisions and outcomes.” The T/MC’s strategy of recruiting volunteers from multiple organizations to serve in site-based neighborhood programs, is a model of an ideal diversity strategy.
One of the rationales for choosing to have the T/MC develop an infrastructure to support tutor/mentor programs rather than simply develop more tutor/mentor programs had to do with the issue of funding and sustainability. T/MC understands that expanding the number of adults who understand poverty and are willing to act to help kids move to careers is essential if funding is to available to expand and sustain services. T/MC sees mentoring as an entry point for adults who live outside the poverty belt. T/MC knows that mentoring puts a “face” and a “name” on poverty through the bond an adult forms with a youth. T/MC seeks to expand the number of adults involved in tutor/mentor programs throughout America, and to convert these volunteers into leaders and change-agents. The T/MC will use its communications infrastructure to create greater public awareness and understanding of the needs of youth and families in poverty, and of tutor/mentor programs that seek to help kids to careers. At the same time, the same technology enables tutor/mentor program leaders, volunteers and staff to share ideas which improve the quality of existing programs, so that each is more able to draw needed resources to itself. By providing infrastructure that diverse groups will use during the development and operation of their tutor/mentor programs, the T/MC is developing a portal through which potential funders can contact tutor/mentor staff and board members. At the same time it using the technology to facilitate coordinated approaches to developing resources to support the programs. Through this process it will create a greater flow of critical operating resources to every tutor/mentor program in every poverty area of the country. Again, the key concept here is not that the T/MC will lead this effort to coordinate resource development nationwide but will provide a technology platform and a model for thousands of leaders to build and sustain total quality tutor/mentor programs. As the T/MC develops and demonstrates the impact of the T/MC in Chicago it expects to be able to lease its applications and contract its expertise to organizations in other cities who have the same needs as Chicago but who do not have a T/MC type strategy in place. T/MC currently is developing such a relationship with IUPUI in Indiana, and is helping leaders in Detroit, Milwaukee, Long Beach, Oklahoma City and elsewhere adopt T/MC strategies. As multiple cities each contribute $25,000 or more annually to support a T/MC strategy in their own communities the Chicago T/MC will develop sustainable revenue to continue to innovate new products and services to support the growth of tutor/mentor programs and support networks. After five years, our dependence on public funding will be dramatically reduced.
T/MC IMPACT AREAS (POTENTIAL SUPPORT FROM OTHER BUSINESSES AND FOUNDATIONS)!!
• Community-BuildingOn a micro-level, the T/MC is an effort use information technology to provide low-income persons with the tools they require to improve their communities through the development of tutor/mentor programs to serve the community’s children and youth. On a macro-level, the T/MC is an attempt to create a national community of interest in support of tutor/mentor programs by providing the technological infrastructure that will make the development of the community possible. This two-pronged approach to supporting the development of tutor/mentor programs is what separates the T/MC from other charitable organizations.
• Community Economic Development: Creating pipelines to careers. The T/MC seeks to engage business volunteers and business leaders in long-term, neighborhood-based strategies, which bring children through school, and into jobs. The T/MC uses traditional events and event-marketing, plus its web site to advocate for this, using charts, maps and diagrams which clearly show that the end-result of any youth development effort should be that the young person is headed toward a job. The technology infrastructure provided by the T/MC is intended to enhance the ability of various stakeholders to meet and share best practice ideas that can originate from anywhere in the world. The mapping tools help people better connect with other stakeholders, while the WebIQ and group decision support collaboration tools enable facilitated meetings to take place via the internet or face-to-face, with a more effective use of time, and a greater ability to reach common ground. The on-line evaluation system makes it possible for various members of any network to report accomplishments, which enables any group to better manage its growth. Initially, these tools are directed at developing and operating comprehensive tutor/mentor programs in these communities. However, T/MC believes that as different groups begin to use these technologies, other social service sectors will also adopt these technologies to better manage their own efforts.
• Education and Civic Engagement The tutor/mentor programs supported by the T/MC call upon adults to spend time assisting children and youth to succeed in academic settings. It thinks “out of the box” by putting responsibility on the non-school community, especially business, to be partners in raising children. T/MC charts illustrate the different experience and expectation base children in poverty grow up with than children of affluence. By mobilizing more adults to serve as tutors/mentors in mentor-rich programs, T/MC helps create support systems, which become partners to schools and families. Research shows that the more comprehensive, and longer-term a program can sustain this support, the more likely a young person will stay in school, avoid negative behaviors, and be prepared for a career. Finally, mentor-rich programs attract diverse volunteers from neighborhoods and lives far removed from areas of concentrated urban poverty and segregation. As volunteers bond with children in tutor/mentor programs they become more aware of the disadvantages of poverty and more willing to become advocates for public policies which level the playing field. With the Internet and the technologies T/MC seeks to deploy, such volunteers can be united, can build better understanding of complex issues, and can become a powerful political force for more effective and long-term public policy. Finally, the T/MC fully embraces a belief that local communities, and local tutor/mentor locations, are best suited to develop programs to serve their own needs. The T/MC’s adherence to this value is demonstrated by the fact that T/MC did not form the traditional hierarchical association structure, with T/MC at the top. Rather, T/MC created an inverted pyramid, with T/MC at the bottom, making a daily commitment to provide resources and support to help each program, and each neighborhood, be more successful in their efforts to build and sustain a wide range of comprehensive, mentor-rich tutor/mentor programs. The infrastructure being developed by the T/MC enables local leaders to develop their tutor/mentor programs, while shining a public light on each program and each neighborhood so that the necessary resources will be available for local programs to innovate and sustain more promising practices.
EVALUATION DESIGN !!
As described in the program narrative, the T/MC is employing an innovative evaluation methodology to document and demonstrate its impact on long-term community change. This methodology, the Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS) is uniquely suited to demonstrate the impact the T/MC has on the development of tutor/mentor programs and the communities in which these program develop. The OHATS will answer the several of the specific questions posed by any evaluator, including how the T/MC impacts community building, community economic development and education in communities that use the infrastructure provided by the T/MC. The initial stages of creating OHATS was funded for a first year of development in 1999-2000. Since then the organization has depended on volunteers to maintain and expand the system. More than 500 actions have been documented that show the impact of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. As T/MC collects this data, it shows its results on-line, to any that would want to borrow from its work. Visit [http://www.tutormentorexchange.net/OHATS/Intro_OHATS.htm] to review reports and see this system in operation. The T/MC will continue to document its actions and demonstrate its impact. However, with additional funds, it will be able to create automatic updates that show the impact of each new action on the overall goals of the enterprise. With additional funding it will be able to enable individual reporters to sort the file of documented actions to demonstrate his or her individual or organizational impact on the total enterprise. Finally, with additional funds, the T/MC will be able to conduct a retrospective of the first 15 years of its growth. This will demonstrate how an intermediary acting like a T/MC can grow from an idea into an institution that has a large, but low-cost, impact on a community as large as Chicago. Such a demonstration will support the case for the T/MC to be duplicated in cities throughout the country.
If this were a blueprint of the new World Trade Center it might be 12 inches thick. This is a blueprint for the infrastructure needed to help kids in every poverty neighborhood of the country move toward jobs and careers. We thank you for reading it and invite you to visit our web sites where you can see this strategy in action and learn more about where you and your resources can best help us achieve this shared vision.
COMPONENTS OF T/MC DATABASE NETWORK –
• TMC Contact History, a database of individuals and organizations that are involved with Cabrini Connections and other tutor-mentor programs in Chicago and throughout the country. • Cabrini Connections management information systems. Includes student and volunteer demographics, enrollment, participation and grade history used for management and evaluation of single tutor/mentor program. Currently captured on Excel spreadsheets.
• TMC Program Profile. [http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/portal2006/login.asp] T/MC collects information from more than 300 tutor/mentor locations, including the Kids’ Connection, annually (using a paper based survey). This data consists of location, contacts and a description of the program. Additionally, the surveys gather a variety of program information, such as: type (non-school or school), age group it serves, number of youth and volunteers, profile of youth and volunteers, etc. T/MC organizes this information by zip code, time of day service is provided, age group served, etc.
• WebIQ Tutor/Mentor Survey – at – T/MC gathers additional information from various stakeholders that is intended to help T/MC better describe variety of tutor/mentor programs that exist in Chicago, the different organizational structures and mission statements, the needs of programs, sources of funding, etc. This information is intended to feed into on-going planning that provides solutions to problems shared by many programs, as well as a convergence on goals shared by a majority of stakeholders. • TMC Geographic Information System (GIS) creates visual reports from data T/MC collects from its surveys and other reports. These maps show distribution of programs, areas where programs are needed, and potential partners in specific neighborhoods. GIS technology has proven to be an effective decision support tool. T/MC seeks to use its GIS to support planning, public awareness and evaluation purposes. See [http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/programlocator/default.asp
• TMC OHATS (Organizational History and Accomplishment Tracking System), an Internet-based system that enables an unlimited number of T/MC members to easily record and report important events and actions that are intended to contribute to the overall success of Cabrini Connections and the T/MC. Preformatted OHATS reports enable mangers to better understand and manage progress toward goals and lessons that are learned from the day-to-day work needed for the enterprise to succeed in its mission. • SVHATS (Student Volunteer History And Tracking System for a single tutor/mentor program). T/MC launched a new version of OHATS in 2003-04 that enables youth, staff and volunteers in a single program to document contacts and actions that lead to success of a single program. This can be viewed at [http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/svhats/default.asp].
• TMC Conferences Database supports participation in May and November conferences . The eConferencing [http://www.tutormentorexchange.net/Partner/CC/Conference/May2005/default.asp feature encourages networking and idea sharing in the months between conferences. Additionally, there are numerous independent activities within the network, like fundraising & benefit events, recruitment campaigns, email marketing, newsletters and a large web presence. These activities support the day-to-day functions of the Kids’ Connection and the TMC network along with propagating its message, goals and philosophies to general public. Upon review of these functional areas it was evident that some of them have technical limitations that either need to be enhanced or re-engineered. Those are:
• TMC Contact History is maintained in a FileMakerPro database. During 2006 this was moved to the organization's server, so it can be accessed from Mac or based users in the Cabrini Connections, T/MC office. Lack of volunteers who are skillful in FileMaker software warrants it to be migrated to a newer ‘mainstream’ database. Also, there is a need to access and update this database with multiple users.
• TMC Contact History does not archive information. Participation in previous conferences, events, Kids’ Connection, etc. is lost when a contact moves without a forwarding address and is removed from the database
• TMC Cabrini Connections demographics and history is largely organized on Excel Spreadsheets. Difficult to pull reports on history of participation and grades. Spreadsheets lack infrastructure to perform complex queries on them for further data analysis.
• In 2006 an on-line system was established so that individual tutor/mentor programs can add or edit their own information. This is at [http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/portal2006/login.asp]. This still requires T/MC staff manual intervention to collect its annual Program Profile from more than 300 programs, update information in the Program Locator, then generate data for longitudinal impact analysis and reports. Since this does not feed the FileMaker Pro database, maintaining the information on the Internet means we need to duplicate effort to update it in the database we use to generate mailings.
• Data can be pulled from the Program Locator database to create new search services such as this Map Locator: [http://webpages.charter.net/jcory17/geotech/zip_pick.htm] The same data enables us to create Google Map views when a search is conducted to find a program. However, manual intervention is required to export data from Contact History to GIS support to enable map creation. Similar Manual intervention is required to support the GIS and Program Locator with the same database and to create map views for public awareness, analysis, or collaboration.
• TMC Conference and events database lacks tracking of participation history of leaders and key participants in conferences and other organizational events
• Duplicate data entry in multiple data collection pools may be prone to translation errors. Also, difficult to keep track.
• Email marketing database is neither scalable nor searchable.
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