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I'm Sam Lee and have worked at Tutor/Mentor Connection for 6 weeks.

I made the file intro.pdf which introduce myself briefly, so update right now. 

I'm so glad that I work with you :)






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Testing an important part in SDLC

Software testing is an investigation of the code and overall product functionalities of the system done to make sure that a high quality of product is developed. There are various approaches to software development of which the most common approach is normal waterfall model or the SDLC approach.

The normal Software SDLC process includes the following process -

  1. Requirement Gathering/Planning phase - In this phase the goal and scope of the software is determined. Then as per the goals and aims of the software, requirement is gathered and well documented. It is important that testers are included in this phase itself so that critical points of the application are well understood in the begining itself.
  2. Design - In this phase the function specification created in the requirement gathering phase is converted into design of the code
  3. Implemetation - In this phase code is written using documents of requirement gathering and design phase
  4. Intergration and Testing - Once all the modules of the application are coded, they are integrated and then test is performed on the code to make sure that it is working properly. This is when issues are reported by the testers and regression testing is done.
  5. Release - This phase is final release phase of software where the final code is released after testing and debugging.
  6. Maintenance - In this phase code maintenance is done depending on enhancements.

Testing is a very critical part of the sofware development. Be it as small project like development of websites or integration of big systems involving complex datastructures and databases, improper testing or no testing can break the product.

Most of us experience use technology on a day to day basis. We experience lack of proper testing when we see bugs in our daily use of technology when we see messages like - "Link not found", "Improper input" etc when we use websites. These are all results of improper code and lack of testing. Whenever a code is developed for a non-commercial purpose it tends to become raw and untested which results in a software failure. A detailed approach and well defined SDLC cycle is very important when developing a product. There are various ways testing can be performed. Testing can be manual as well as automated.

Although crucial to software quality and widely deployed by programmers and testers, software testing still remains an art, and due to limited understanding of the principles of software. The difficulty in software testing comes from the complexity of software: we can not completely test a program with moderate complexity. Testing is more than debugging a code. The purpose of testing can be quality assurance, verification and validation, or reliability estimation or just a user perspective of usage. Be whatever the purpose of testing is, it should be taken into consideration very seriously.

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      Good morning. First of all, let me apologize for not making ant posts the past few weeks. I've been under the weather during the holidays. BUT NOW I'M BACK! I was watching the news Monday night, and I saw a story about the last family to move out of the Cabrini-Green housing projects. Most people in Chicago now think that all former tenants of Cabrini-Green have been placed in sufficient housing, away from the immediate area. This is not entirely true. Although the vast majority of former tenants were given vouchers to move into sufficient housing, most are still right here in the Cabrini-Green area where they were born and raised. And contrary to popular belief, they're still living near or at the poverty level. Some have gotten jobs, but they're only minimum wage or slightly higher. The others are still surviving on the checks they receive from Social Security or Public Aid. 

      Which is why I'm writing this article. If the statements I've made in the last paragraph were not true, Cabrini-Connection would not be needed in this area any more. There are still plenty of kids that continue to come here seeking tutoring support and mentoring. And that's why we still need your continued support. We need volunteers, computers, school supplies, tables, chairs, and most importantly your financial support. Money helps us to do special things for the kids, and it keeps the heat and the lights on.

      In the upcoming months we will be having fund raising events, but support is always needed. In addition to serving the people of this area, we assist agencies and other organizations throughout the city and suburbs. So please assist us in any way that you can. Thanks. For more information, please read Dan Bassil's article on Cabrini-Green.

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The Benefits of Mentoring

Mentoring a youth can be very rewarding. Mentoring is a way to provide youth with tactics and wisdom so that they are able to succeed and achieve their goals. Below are several examples/statistics of how mentoring can benefit youth and some questions to think about as you are reading through this article.

Mentors help youth start focusing on their future:

*Mentors help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realize them.
*Mentors can use their personal contacts to help young people meet industry professionals, find internships and locate job possibilities.
*Mentors introduce young people to professional resources and organizations they may not know about.
*Mentors can help their mentees learn how to seek and keep jobs.

Remember what it was like looking for your first part-time job? How’d you go about creating your career goals? What helped you when being interviewed for a job? Who do you know that could be a resource for a youth looking at different career fields?

Mentors help youth focus on improving there self:

*Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
*Mentors provide support for students trying new behaviors.
*Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
*About 40% of teenager’s waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision. Mentors provide teens with a valuable place to spend free time.
*Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help young people strengthen their communication skills.

What were challenges you faced when you were a kid? What temptations did you face? How did you overcome them? What activities are you already doing that you can include a kid in?
You bring more than you realize into a mentoring relationship.

Mentors help youth focus on their education:

*Mentors help keep students in school.
*Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
*Mentors help with homework and can improve academic skills.

How did you prepare for tests? What worked well you for studying? What kind of plans did you make for college? How did you prepare?
Are those things that you could share while mentoring?

Take some time to listen to what Colin Powell has to say about the benefits of mentoring.

If you have any questions or want to make a difference in a youths life please contact

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Yesterday I watched a talk on TED which I think is worth sharing to all of you guys who try to work someway to function Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection more effectively, or who participate in this program but have a question mark in their heads thinking if this's worthwhile, or even those who are still hesitating in front of CC T/MC's gateway.

Following are what I find it meaningful in the talk:

1. To draw more people's attention into CC T/MC's program and keep them stay in touch, our current members should build emotional connections with them. It agrees for no doubt that the person who someone cares the most is obviously himself or herself. So in our process, we should help people who take part in our program figure out why they, as individuals, are so important to us, and what kind of relationship can we provide with them to make them feel beneficial and happy. Once emotional connected, we breed their loyalty to this program. They'll be our longterm members since they know we are the people they can always count on.

2. As people who do NOT dare the ordinary, other than pursuit and manage what we can measure, shouldn't we focus on what's intangible, say self-actualization? Following is the pyramid showed by the speaker in his speech, illustrating people's needs in life. At the bottom is the basic tangible things to make us survive. As our needs go all the way to the top, we begin to want to achieve intangible transformation.

True, different people have different ideas about what their own self-actualizations are. Due to the social environment, majority view it as making great fortune or gaining popularity. As the speaker mentions in his talk, most people have been fooled by GDP so that we still wallow in "19th- and 20th-century industrial-era model of success". Now we've spent almost a decade in the 21st-century. Are we still going to stay in an era lowing our standards, viewing the basic needs as our ultimate goals? Maybe it's time for us to think about what is an alternative definition of success, besides money.

This talk provides a plausible answer. We should pursue real happiness.

Found in 1993, Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection prospect its actualization as helping kids from under-privileged families to get as much opportunities of study and work as other children. As a small non-profit organization, holding a big vision like this for 17 years is not easy. But why is this program still alive through all these years? It is the intangible fulfill that brace it. CC T/MC not only gives chances to those youth to compete with others at the same level, but also gives chances to the society not to miss real talents. It creates conditions for others' happiness to occur. It is a habitat of happiness.

3. Then, what is real happiness? Rabbi Hyman Schachtel said, happiness is not about having what you want. Instead, it's about wanting what you have. Many people nowadays spend most of their life time seeking quick success and instant benefits, even though they know they are not able to anticipate it all, or what's worse they themselves don't even really want what they pursuit! On the other hand, there a great number of people who lack of basic opportunities of living, study and work. These people in need are not faraway on the other side of the world, they are just in your neighborhood! In that case, why can't people share? Each takes what he needs so that everyone can have its own real happiness.

I know after reading this, some people may still argue that things won't work as what I said in reality. Because "reality" is something that is usually brutal, ugly and not satisfying. However, I'd say we should always cherish a heart of newborn baby, not with that can we succeed.
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508 Chicago Kids Shot in Just 16 Months

Children cannot focus on learning when they are worried about living. Editorial from Chicago SunTimes March 9, 2009 In this school year alone, 25 Chicago Public Schools children have been murdered. As shocking as that is, that number doesn't begin to tell the real story of how deeply violence is a part of the everyday life of Chicago's children. Try this number out for size: A total of 508 Chicago school kids were shot from September 2007 through December 2008, according to data compiled by the school system and released to the Chicago Sun-Times. That's almost 32 children shot each month. Most of these kids, thankfully, did not die. But the damage is tremendous nonetheless. There is the physical damage, which is awful enough. But the psychological damage can last much longer -- both for the victim and their classmates. Many kids in the most violent neighborhoods of Chicago are paralyzed by fear, and it's hard to blame them. They are thinking rationally. In 130 schools, at least one student has been shot since September 2007. In 15 schools, at least 10 students have been shot. In 12 other schools, at least 5 students have been shot. School officials compiled this data to look for patterns that might help them get a handle on the problem. It was collected under former schools CEO Arne Duncan. New schools CEO Ron Huberman is reviewing and verifying the data. None of these children were shot in school, it's important to note. In fact, Bryan Samuels, the top CPS official who oversaw the data analysis, found the shootings were typically much closer to the victim's home than to his or her school. The median distance from the shooting to the victim's home was 0.4 miles, while the median distance to the victim's school was 1.2 miles. CPS also found that 70 percent of the shootings took place between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. -- outside the hours of the school day and after-school programs. But that doesn't mean schools are not profoundly hard hit. Our public schools can -- and must -- soften the blow of such violence and do more to prevent it. This editorial page believes one answer lies in compelling schools to adopt a radical new approach to teaching -- one that addresses the social and emotional needs of students. In too many Chicago schools, traumatized kids arrive for class each day filled with anger and despair. Inevitably, they disrupt classrooms, slow learning to a crawl and at times become violent themselves. Most schools have little to offer these kids except overburdened social workers and counselors. Instead, as this page has pushed for months now, CPS should implement citywide a well-established, evidence-based approach now being rolled out in earnest in a handful of schools. The model program teaches basic skills that many kids don't get at home, such as how to get along and how to empathize -- skills that research shows improve test scores and behavior. The program provides more intensive counseling to needier kids. Duncan, before moving on to Washington to head the U.S. Department of Education, supported phasing in all or parts of the model into all Chicago public schools by 2011. His successor, Huberman, who has a social work degree, says he is studying the model. We urge Huberman to continue this vital work after a thorough review of its progress this year. An alternative plan has been proposed by state Rep. Monique Davis, a Chicago Democrat and former teacher and administrator. A bill she introduced last month would require schools in violence-prone areas to hire a full-time social worker (most have only part-time help). And, in response to a Sun-Times report last year documenting pervasive fear among kids in violent areas and a lack of opportunities for them to blow off steam, Davis would require struggling schools to offer 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity a day and after-school programming. The concept is good, but we fear the bill is not sweeping enough and, without a clear funding source, could simply be another unfunded, burdensome mandate. In general, Huberman tells us, he is committed to finding a comprehensive way to address students' social and emotional needs -- one of several areas he hopes to tackle as part of a larger response to violence. He is identifying schools that have what he calls a "culture of calm" (respect between adults and kids, no kids hanging out in the hallways) and trying to export that culture to schools that clearly could use it. The new schools CEO also wants to make sure kids get to school safely. With 508 shootings in 16 months, kids on many blocks have every reason to fear walking to school. Those CPS shooting statistics, by the way, do not even include other school-age kids who have been shot. Adding those kids would double CPS' 508 shootings. Huberman, well-known for his love of data, is analyzing shooting patterns, transportation routes, gang turf boundaries and school attendance boundaries. That data will be used to devise safer routes to school for kids in risky areas, with a team at each school monitoring and updating the routes. A plan that wraps all of these elements together will be announced in May, he said. Since September, 25 Chicago Public Schools kids have been murdered. That's one shy of the total for the entire 2007-2008 school year. In December 2008, 34 students were shot. In December 2007, there was just one shooting. If this isn't a crisis, what is? ------------------------------------------------------ Is this a crisis in other cities? What are people willing to do to make programs available in high poverty neighborhoods which can help reverse these trends?
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12637695476?profile=originalThis article quotes Malcolm Gladwell saying "if you want to shine, put in 10,000 hours".

It  goes on to say "The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade mastering their chosen field."


The map at the right shows nearly 180 locations where great leaders are needed to operate volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that are constantly improving their ability to transform the lives of youth and adults.


How many of the leaders and key staff or board members have 10,000 hours of experience learning to lead a tutor/mentor program? 


Our maps show that there are many neighborhoods and zip codes in Chicago and the suburbs with no tutor/mentor programs. How many more are needed? How many more leaders are needed?  How many incorporate the "mentoring to careers" vision of the Tutor/Mentor Connection?  In the 25 cities of the US with youth populations of 100,000 or more, 12637695478?profile=originalhow many more tutor/mentor programs and experienced leaders are needed?


The chart at the right illustrates the K-16 path  young people take to finish school and begin jobs and careers.  What will it take to convince industry, philanthropic and government policy makers that we need systems of leadership development that begin to prepare people to lead tutor/mentor programs in high poverty areas when those people are in middle school and high school!


Imagine service learning programs in city and suburban schools engaging youth in research that enables them to learn about poverty and its impact on learning and aspirations. Imagine if the same programs were providing service opportunities and were teaching youth to make videos, write blogs and organize social media communities aimed at building greater understanding of the challenges faced by inner city kids and aimed at generating a flow of volunteers and operating dollars to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in different neighborhoods.


If students practice this and learn from their service they can log 10,000 hours before they are in their mid-twenties and they can log another 10,000 hours as they move from that stage of life till they depart this worldly existence.


Everyone subscribed to this Ning community can be part of this learning and information sharing and can apply the ideas to building a network of experienced leaders for youth development and social problem solving programs in their own communities.


As Gladwell says, "it is practice, however, that makes perfect. The best way to achieve international stardom is to spend 10,000 hours honing your skills."



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Brief Synopsis of my Experience

Here is my final project for my internship, that breifly demonstrates what I have learned from my experience with Tutor/Mentor Connection.  This is a brief synopsis of what I learned and in what ways I feel that this project can impact the future.  I am greatful for the time I was involved with T/MC and hope to remain connected to it in the future.  The ideas are simple, yet go against the way in what I feel most people think about in terms of how non profits operate and how to address large, societal issues.  I know my thoughts regarding low income communities were almost from a victim blaming perspective, where I did not view the larger system as the force that keeps these individuals disempowered.  Learning to view the world around from this perspective has opened up my eyes on ways to combat this problem that will be more effective, and one key thing I learned is the importance of different nonprofits working together towards a unified goal, instead of working in isolation from each other or even against each other for resources and volunteers.


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A letter to Michael Jackson

Dear Michael Jackson,I think you'll be surprised to receive a letter from a girl, who is from shanghai, China. We were growing up with your songduring our childhood. It was very popular to copy your signature moonwalk on our teenage. There is no doubt that youare our king of Pop. We will remember the day- June 25th.You were an American recording artist, entertainer and businessman. The seventh child of the Jackson family, youmade your debut on the professional music scene in 1968 as a member of The Jackson 5. You then began a solocareer in 1971 while still a member of the group and was referred to as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years. Your1982 album Thriller remains the world's best-selling album of all time,and four of your other solo studio albums areamong the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987),Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).In the early 1980s, you became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African American entertainer to amass astrong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of your music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean"and "Thriller"—widely credited with transforming the music video from a promotional tool into an art form—helped bringthe relatively new channel to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made you an enduring staple onMTV in the 1990s. With stage performances and music videos, you popularized a number of physically complicateddance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. Your distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced manyhip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists across several generations.You're not only a King of Pop, singer,entertainer,artist……You're a great man with love, caring, compassionate. In your whole life, you did a lot of works for charities. and many ofthese charities help special needs children. People mentioned you was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. Thechild in this case admitted the charge was fake because of benefit after you died. I knew you felt lonely and helplessunder the pressure of media attack during that time. Now, you will be peace in the heaven and last forever. We willremember your song, your dance move, your contribution to the society and else.Not so many people can do the one thing in his life, because people always like changing their mind. Some people stillhold their belief and do one thing in their lives. Dan is one of them, who is the president of Cabrini Connections, which Iworked for an intern during this summer. He contributed his whole life building up his tiny wish to help the children.Cabrinin Connections & Tutor/mentor Connection was founded by Daniel F. Bassill. Their mission is to engageworkplace adults in structured activities that make a life-changing difference for youth living in economically andeducationally disadvantaged neighborhoods. I would like to make you know there are a lot of people doing charitieswork for the needs children.I think you won't feel loney in another world because we all remember you in this world.Sincerely,Liye
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We held the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago on Nov. 21. It was hosted by the Chicago Field Museum. Welcoming remarks were made by Dr. Clinton Nichols who has worked at the Field Museum since 2006 as an Urban Anthropologist in the Division of Environment, Culture and Conservation. Dr. Nichols hosted a panel at the conference as one of many new friends that we made during the day. Below are his welcoming remarks: Good morning. Thank you Dan and the Tutor/Mentor Connection for the generous and kind introduction. I want to welcome all of you to the Field Museum of Natural History on behalf of a few individuals: first my immediate supervisor, Dr. Alaka Wali; Senior Vice President of Environment, Culture and Conservation Dr. Debby Moskovits; and the Museum’s President and Chief Executive Officer John McCarter. Some of you may wonder why a natural history would host a conference about tutoring and mentoring programs. This is no surprise to me. For a long time the Field Museum has pushed the boundaries about how a museum uses its collections and research to be part of the metropolitan community. Both the Field Museum and Tutor/Mentor Connection have a deep commitment to creating interesting learning opportunities for young people. At the Museum, these take the form of our exhibits, educational programs to visiting school groups, innovative outreach efforts such as the Harris Loan program. Our Anthropology collections represent the material culture of peoples around the world. But it is worth noting these items manifest tutoring and mentoring. We should enter today’s events mindful that for most of human history knowledge of the world, our place in it, and our relationship to other people was passed down not through schools and universities but in tutoring someone how to fish or farm, how to weave a basket or make a house, and in mentoring someone in how to harness their gifts to mediate conflict, to heal or to matchmake for the benefit of their society. Indeed schools and universities, not to mention museums, are relatively recent inventions in educating. But tutoring and mentoring are markedly different because these actions do not require advanced degrees or qualifications that set a person apart from others. To tutor and mentor a younger person reminds us that everyone possesses knowledge she can share. In this sense the Field Museum is a perfect host for today’s conference. Environment, Culture and Conservation, a scientific division affectionately known here as ECCo, uses an approach that identifies and harnesses the knowledge and organizational assets of local communities in order to improve the quality of life. In the foothills of the Amazon our engagement with indigenous communities has resulted in the dedication of thousands of square kilometers as national parks, protecting these communities’ way of life and diverse plant and animal species. Here in Chicago we have worked to promote cultural understanding through Cultural Connections, a program that brings together educators and the city’s cultural centers and ethnic museums. An initiative at a mixed income housing development has promoted residents’ talents as a way to foster community and to strengthen organizations in the north Kenwood/Oakland neighborhood. Today’s conference is an opportunity for all of us to share best practices in tutor/mentor programs. We will also have the chance to learn about innovative mapping tools that can assist in developing programs in parts of our city where these are lacking. We will also share strategies about how to more effectively inform the public and donors about the importance of our programs. At a moment when we have an unacceptably high drop out rate and an unacceptably high number of students who graduate without the necessary skills to succeed, tutoring and mentoring programs must be part of the solutions to keep our youth engaged in their own education and career development. On behalf of the staff at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection and my Museum colleagues I encourage you to participate in as many workshops as you can. Network with as many people here as you can. I hope you leave today with your head full of ideas, your heart full of enthusiasm, and your pocket full of colleagues’ business cards. And of course take time to enjoy the wonderful exhibits that are second to none in the world. These too can spark new ways tutoring and mentoring our youth.
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In my Tutor/Mentor Blog I use graphics like the one below to illustrate our goal of helping inner city youth grow up over a period of 10 to 20 years. We all start at birth and it takes 20 years to get through the first formal stages of education and into the college, vocational or job stage of our lives. Yet, if you live in high poverty areas, you face more challenges.


Thus, tutor/mentor programs, if they are available, and well supported for many years, can provide extra adult support to help kids in these areas. 12637695478?profile=original


So how can non profit organizations build the support needed to fuel this year to year grow.  I've been following a set of blog articles written by Sean Stannard-Stockton, CEO of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors and I encourage you to read them  yourself.

These articles have helped me understand the difference between donors who give us small grants to support the "transactions" of tutoring/mentoring that we do each week and donor/investors --- who Sean names "Philanthropic Investors".  


"Philanthropic Investors"   invest in the organization, and its leaders, and provide the flexible, long-term support that organizations need to grow from good to great.

Below I've posted some excerpts I took from these Tactical Philanthropy articles. I've added some of my own commentary. Sean's articles were posted over several days, so I  have linked to each article where you can fund the full text that I pulled my comments from.


March 3, 2011

…The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between great and good. We need to reject the naive imposition of the “language of business” on the social sector, and instead jointly embrace a language of greatness.”

…before you become good, there are many stages of growth. Many businesses and non profits never reach the stage of being good because of poor ideas, poor leadership and lack of access to capital to develop their ideas.


Business-like investing means focusing in on the likelihood that an investment in a company will be rewarded by financial profits out of the company that are attractive relative to the investment made. If we simply replace “financial profits” with “social impact” we have a recipe for a successful approach to philanthropy.


I think philanthropy is most intelligent when grantmaking decisions are driven primarily by the questions "In what enterprise?” and “On what terms is the commitment proposed?”


In what enterprise?” means that you don’t make a grant “to support education” but instead focus your attention at the nonprofit enterprise level.

On what terms is the commitment proposed?” means that you make a grant if, and only if, you believe that the social impact generated by the nonprofit enterprise will be attractive relative to the grant that you’ve made.

The investment approach to philanthropy is wholly different from the problem solving approach to philanthropy. This recognition is critical because the two approaches require entirely different methods of implementation.



March 4, 2011

One of the reasons it is so important for us to recognize distinct approaches to philanthropy is because doing so allows us to avoid “debates” that are really only a function of lack of awareness of the different styles. For instance, there has long been a debate about the value of general operating support grants vs restricted grants. But this debate falls away when we recognize the distinction between problem solving strategic philanthropy and an investment approach to philanthropy. The investment style seeks at its core to support the nonprofit enterprise. General operating support is the default choice because it is most useful in supporting the enterprise. But strategic philanthropy seeks to create a solution to a problem on the philanthropist’s own terms. The general operating support grant is only preferred if it best advances the strategic philanthropist’s solution.


Charitable Giving seeks to buy nonprofit program execution that will accrue to beneficiaries. It is classic “buyer” behavior as defined by George Overholser is Building is Not Buying. The Charitable Giver is concerned primarily with the value of the programmatic execution relative to grant size and cares little about the nonprofit enterprise for its own sake.

Philanthropic Investment seeks to invest resources into nonprofit enterprises in order to increase their ability to deliver programmatic execution. It is classic “builder” behavior as defined in Building is Not Buying. The Philanthropic Investor, like a for-profit investor, is primarily focused on the longer term increase and improvement in programmatic execution relative to grant size.

Strategic Philanthropy seeks to buy nonprofit goods and services in a way that aligns with a theory of change defined by the strategic philanthropist. It too is “buyer” behavior, but the funder is primarily concerned with the degree to which the net result of the programmatic execution across their grantees advances the solution that they believe is most likely to solve the problem they seek to address.

Social Entrepreneurism seeks to directly execute programs that align with a theory of change, defined by themselves. They are the enterprise with which the other approaches engage. They are primarily concerned with the net social impact that is a result of their programs.

In the comments section for this article, George Overholser  posted the following comments:

March 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

We might boil it down even further by asking: (1) Who pays for the work?, (2) Who shapes the work? and (3) Who does the work?

“Buyers” pay for the work. They merely exchange money for program execution without asking the nonprofit to change what it does.

“Builders” shape the work. In effect, they say: “You are not equipped to enact our strategy, so we are unwilling to pay for what you already are capable of doing. Instead, we would like you to change what you do. Of course, it is entirely up to you. But unless you make changes, you won’t get the money.”

Organizations are the one’s that do the work. Sometimes they are entrepreneurial. Sometimes they are mature. Sometimes they are their own funders — as in an operating foundation.

Payers/Shapers/Doers = Buyers/Builders/Organizations

All three types are needed. And all three types need to be strategic.

The problem comes when multiple shapers converge upon a single organization. Everyone is being strategic… but unfortunately they don’t necessarily share the same strategy. So the result can be an organization that is shaped, and re-shaped and re-shaped again.

If the organization were well-capitalized, it might be in a position to say no to the chronic re-shaping. (“Sorry, that’s not our strategy, and we won’t go bankrupt by turning you down.”)

If our capital markets were more mature, they would aggregate the capital of like-minded shapers. Through syndicated capital campaigns, an organization’s shapers would be aligned for long periods of time with a single strategic plan.

This captures the goals of the Tutor/Mentor Connection!

But our nonprofit capital markets are not mature. Shapers tend to take turns, rather than pool their resources. For this reason, the organizations fail to stay focused long enough to build the capacities and track records they need to attract type of simple payers (buyers) that won’t try to re-shape them.

If you think about it, “strategic” shapers are actually not being strategic if they allow the organizations they support to be whipped around by other “strategic” funders.

I posted a comment myself .....Dan Bassill says:

March 11, 2011 at 8:10 am

George, thank you for your comments. Sean, thanks again for hosting this discussion.

This sounds like the Abilene Paradox. We all agree that lack of consistent revenue flow keeps organizations from building the strength and capacity to impact problems that are long term, yet aggregating resources and connecting donors around common goals seems to be an unreachable goal.

As a result the Good to Great theme might be summarized to say “they don’t get good, they don’t get great, and the don’t stay great long enough to do good.”

With that said, where can we find forums where different investors are connecting with social entrepreneurs focused on specific social issues? In one of Sean’s post “tutoring” was brought up as a transaction a donor pays for. If this were framed as “helping to raise kids living in high poverty areas” would more investors be interested in helping build the organizational strength needed for many organizations to provide the long-term support kids in many places need to grow up? There are thousands of tutor/mentor programs in the country, each spending scarce resources looking for scarce investors. Where is a forum where investors and program leaders who want to help kids living in poverty can be sharing ideas and working to “aggregate the large pools of capital” needed to support the entire universe of these programs over a quarter century or more?

Who want so help build such a meeting place?



March 7, 2011

The Charitable Giver seeks to buy nonprofit program execution that will accrue to beneficiaries. It is classic “buyer” behavior as defined by George Overholser is Building is Not Buying. The Charitable Giver is concerned primarily with the value of the programmatic execution relative to grant size and cares little about the nonprofit enterprise for its own sake.

There is a sense in professional philanthropy that “philanthropy” is a superior form of “charity”. Philanthropy is often positioned as getting at the root cause while plain old charitable giving only addresses symptoms. I think this is both incorrect and confuses the purpose of charitable giving and strategic philanthropy.

Let’s take the case of a nonprofit afterschool tutoring program that provides services to inner city school children (a case study that George Overholser has often used). A Charitable Giver is a donor who wishes to purchase tutoring services on behalf of the children who will benefit. We call this “buyer” behavior, because the transaction is similar to a consumer who buys afterschool tutoring services for their own child from a for-profit tutoring service. The fact that the service is being bought on behalf of someone else makes the transaction a charitable one, but does not change the nature of the transaction. Both are a purchase of tutoring services.

Now the effective Charitable Giver, like a savvy shopper purchasing things on their own behalf, wants the best value for their expenditures. If nonprofit tutoring organization A provides more hours of tutoring or higher quality tutoring per dollar spent than tutoring organization B, the effective Charitable Giver should seek out organization A.

So the effective Charitable Giver needs to first decide what category of social value they are interested in purchasing (education, environment, arts appreciation, etc) and then comparison shop for the best value for their grant dollars.

This means that the effectiveness of charitable giving is dependent on the success of comparison shopping for the most/best program execution per dollar. For the most part, organizational analysis is not part of the equation, the issue is programmatic analysis. The Charitable Giver should seek the services of a theoretical Consumer Reports of nonprofits, not a Morningstar (investment advice) of nonprofits.

My (Dan Bassill) comment on this.  What this does not account for is the lack of needed services (tutoring) in many areas where they are most needed.  Or, the existing service is not as good as others in different parts of a city, or does not have the capacity to handle more kids than it already serves. A donor who want to buy services in this zip code would be limited to a) supporting a poorly run/small program; or b) not donating at all. The third choice is to help build the capacity of the existing programs in the zip code, or to help start new programs to offer the service. 

Unfortunately, a consumer report of non profit tutor/mentor programs does not yet exist. T/MC has been trying to find funding to do this for 18 years.

Without someone aggregating information showing where the need for a service is, and what providers are in that area, Charitable Givers may gravitate to brand name programs based on reputation, not based on their actual record of delivering the service the donor wants to buy. It also means that good programs go unnoticed, and under funded, so they never become great, or they cannot stay good or great for very long.



March 8, 2011-

When an equity investor in a for-profit or a nonprofit provides equity, their expectation is that the organization can use those funds to grow their organization in such a way that future earnings or social impact will be enhanced.

Whereas the Charitable Giver’s relevant metric is the relative value of program execution compared to grant size, the metric of importance to the Philanthropic Investor is social return on equity. The social return on equity is dependent on the degree to which the nonprofit is able to use the equity invested to expand and/or improve their program execution.

For instance, in the case of the nonprofit tutoring program I mentioned yesterday, the Philanthropic Investor is interested in the degree to which the organization can expand the availability of their tutoring program and/or improve the value of their tutoring services in relationship to the equity provided.

I believe the lack of understanding around the role of equity in the growth of nonprofits is a primary reason why since 1970 only 144 nonprofits have launched and grown to annual revenues of at least $50 million while in the for-profit field, 46,136 organization have crossed the $50 million revenue hurdle during the same time frame.

Philanthropic Investors provide the equity capital needed to create/build the organizations which can offer the best value propositions to Charitable Givers.


In the comment section of this article, George Overholser says:

March 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

The philanthropic investor (Builder) assumes that current capacities aren’t able to solve the problem. And so, their strategy is to become a partner in re-shaping what organizations can do. They partner with the management team, the board, and with co-investors around a single coherent re-shaping plan. In the end, their strategy succeeds or fails depending on whether the organization eventually becomes so compelling that other (charitable giver) funders flock to pay for years and years of high-quality program execution.

Stepping back, you might call this the OPM strategy (Other People’s Money). “If my philanthropic investment works, it will attract other people’s money towards the program I like.” This is analogous to a venture capitalist that helps to build a company that other people (customers) then use to turn money into products and services.

I feel that our greatest opportunity may be for more philanthropic investors to realize that they must work together, and not one after the other, when they support the re-shaping of an organization. This is because it can take years to re-shape an organization. During these years, the organization must stay focused and not be jumping from one funder’s re-shaping agenda to another’s. By being willing to aggregate their capital around a single multi-year strategic plan, the philanthropic investors raise the probability that their investment will be successful.



Sean says in this final article, "Philanthropic Investor is interested in the degree to which the organization can expand the availability of their tutoring program and/or improve the value of their tutoring services in relationship to the equity provided."   


After reading the Tactical Philanthropy ariticles, I received the most recent copy of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. One article is titled "Increasing Civic Reach" and shows how non profits need to recruit board members who have influence, access to power and can help build high level support for the non profit. I think this is an obvious aspiration for any non profit, but most of us don't have the connections to recruit this type of leader, at least not in the context of our single, small non profit organization.


This is exactly what the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been trying to do for 18 years, yet we've not been able to find philanthropic investors in Chicago to support this vision.   I've not yet been able to build the network of leaders, the civic reach, needed to fully implement these ideas.


However, if we were to think of ourselves as a "connection of non profits who share the same vision" of helping kids living in poverty, we are a much larger enterprise and we work to help kids all over the world.  This Ning forum and other T/MC web sites are intended to be a meeting space and work space where we can work together to create a better operating system of support that helps each of us have the philanthropic capital needed to build strong organizations that grow to be good, then great, and can stay great for the 20 years it takes for kids to go from birth to work.


I hope you'll read this, and add your own time and talent to helping us shape this new operating system.

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There's funding for programs to mentor and get students off the streets into more supportive environments.Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:"In response to the violence, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools Ron Huberman last month announced a safety and security strategy that will target nearly 10,000 high-school students identified as at risk of becoming shooting victims. The project will connect some of them with mentors and part-time jobs in hopes of keeping the teens off the streets. The $30 million annual cost of the program will be paid for by federal stimulus grants.The most at-risk students have poor academic performance, miss more days of school and are more likely to be homeless and in special-education programs than other students, according to the report.The analysis found that about 80% of the shootings involved students at 38 of 89 high schools in the district.The 200 students assessed as being in the "ultra high risk" category were deemed to have greater than a 20% chance of being shot over the next two years. An additional 1,000 students had between a 7.5% and 20% chance of being shot, and an additional 8,500 had a 1% to 7.5% chance of being shot.The program aims to provide at-risk students with jobs, mentors, counseling services and to replicate the less-tense atmosphere of schools with less violence, Mr. Huberman said. The plan also aims to station police and school security personnel along certain streets to provide students safe passage to school. Those passages are not in place yet."Violent Deaths Shock Chicago Into ActionOfficials Move to Identify at-Risk Children, Implement Programs to Make Classrooms, Neighborhoods Safer* Comments (114)By DOUGLAS BELKINWSJ October 7, 2009The videotaped beating death of a 16-year-old boy who wandered into a street brawl is focusing attention once again on how dangerous it is to be a teenager in Chicago.The city is instituting a program to monitor and help the thousands of students it considers at risk of violence. The high murder rate has marred the city's image, and some have speculated that it played a role in Chicago's loss in its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.Chicago brawlAn image from a video of the Sept. 24 attack on Chicago's South Side that left Derrion Albert dead. Four teenage boys have been arrested.U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are expected to meet with local elected officials, students and parents Wednesday in Chicago. The trip signals that President Barack Obama's administration may be taking a more active role in seeking solutions to a violence problem that has left 45 students dead in the past 12 months.Derrion Albert, 16 years old, was beaten to death seven blocks from his school last month. A recording of the attack was posted online and widely viewed. Police have arrested four teenage boys in connection with the incident.Between September 2008 and September 2009, 398 Chicago students were shot, said Monique Bond, a spokesman for the district. So far this school year, four students have been slain.In response to the violence, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools Ron Huberman last month announced a safety and security strategy that will target nearly 10,000 high-school students identified as at risk of becoming shooting victims. The project will connect some of them with mentors and part-time jobs in hopes of keeping the teens off the streets. The $30 million annual cost of the program will be paid for by federal stimulus grants."This is costing a tremendous amount of money, but for this group of students we believe are at substantial risk of being shot, we don't have a choice," Mr. Huberman said.The high murder rate was an embarrassment to the city as it pursued a bid to host the Olympics. A satirical campaign for an Olympic mascot of a chalk outline of a dead body -- such as those found at crime scenes -- earned widespread local attention in the run-up to the International Olympic Committee's vote for a host city. The Rev. Jesse Jackson speculated that the wide circulation of the beating video could have influenced the decision to drop Chicago in the first round of voting last week.Mr. Huberman, a former police officer who was named CEO seven months ago, said the security plan was created by analyzing profiles of all the students shot over the past five years.The most at-risk students have poor academic performance, miss more days of school and are more likely to be homeless and in special-education programs than other students, according to the report.The analysis found that about 80% of the shootings involved students at 38 of 89 high schools in the district.The 200 students assessed as being in the "ultra high risk" category were deemed to have greater than a 20% chance of being shot over the next two years. An additional 1,000 students had between a 7.5% and 20% chance of being shot, and an additional 8,500 had a 1% to 7.5% chance of being shot.The program aims to provide at-risk students with jobs, mentors, counseling services and to replicate the less-tense atmosphere of schools with less violence, Mr. Huberman said. The plan also aims to station police and school security personnel along certain streets to provide students safe passage to school. Those passages are not in place yet.Mr. Albert was heading home from school when he walked into a fight between two groups of students; one from the Altgeld Gardens section of the city -- where Mr. Obama was once a community organizer -- and the other group made up of students from the neighborhoods closer to the school.The shaky video of his slaying shows a swarm of teenage boys in a melee that suddenly zeros in on Mr. Albert as he is hit on the head from behind with a long, wooden railroad tie. Mr. Albert falls to the ground, stands up and is punched by a second boy. He falls again, and when he rises a third boy hits him on the head with another plank.On Tuesday a pile of stuffed animals and flowers memorialized the spot where the teen fell.
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12637697094?profile=originalFor anyone who missed the conference and might be interested, these were my opening remarks. 


Stay busy, stay prayerful...stay out of trouble!     maxine


Good morning How is everybody doing? Glad you could make it
Well I guess I’ll just dive in
As you have read or maybe just heard, I am Maxine Williams, the coordinator of the FunDay School tutoring program.
But what you do not know is why I am standing up here speaking instead of one of the other many capable and accomplished people in this room.
Let me try to connect some dots for you...
unfortunately...starting with a grim newspaper clipping from the Chicago Tribune
“Three days after the shooting, at a wake in the school gym on Friday, members of Congress, state senators, and the Mayor were among the people who stood in line in the cold outside, then filed past the coffin, which was strewn with flowers.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at the funeral. He called for gun control and it brought cheers from the mourners. "And his demands that parents take responsibility for their children brought foot-stomping agreement and deafening applause,"
In the conference announcement that Dan sent out last month, he made reference to a CBS 48 Hours program that discussed crime, violence, gangs and drugs in Chicago and how they were destroying our youth...figuratively and literally killing them.
Even though he suggested that we watch a video of the program, Dan also declared that we’ve heard this before and challenged us to think about what can be done to combat this destructive behavior that has taken place for decades.
I could sense Dan’s frustration and understood it well....because...
That CBS program featured Hidiya Pendleton, a promising 15 year old girl who was gunned down on the south side a few months ago...but...the newspaper clipping that I read was from 1984, when the nation’s top high school basketball player at the time, 17 year old Ben Wilson, was gunned down on the south side
Yeah, that means, this stuff has been going on much too long and somebody has got to do something about it. And, to paraphrase Rev. Jackson “We are Somebody!”
Okay, here is where I fit in.
That CBS 48 Hours program featured an open air drug market with drugs being sold and used and violence taking place on the property of a baptist church on Chicago’s west side.
After reading Dan’s announcement, I reminded him that a successful mentoring/tutoring program had been operated from that very church on that very corner. That program was our very own little FunDay School, which was started by the Sun Rise MB Church as an outreach to the youth of our community.
I am here to tell you about some of our experiences and provide evidence that tutor/mentor programs like FunDay school and the ones you represent, do make a difference.
The corner of Kilbourn and VanBuren in K-town is almost deserted on Saturday mornings. The only traffic I saw (while trying not to see it) when I arrived at 9:45 am was skeletal images staggering in and out of the alleys and drivers pulling up to the curb to make exchanges with hooded young men on the corners. I’d sit in my car until others arrived for the day’s session...all the time noticing someone in a 3rd floor window... hoping that they didn’t think that I was watching what was going on while I watched them watch me. That was my predicament every other Saturday morning as I waited to go inside my church to set up for FunDay School. My presence did not disrupt their flow. Even after others arrived, we stood at the door so kids from the block could see we were in session and we watched them walk to the church. The dealers were not afraid of women or young volunteer tutors. Several times, we had to call for male back up, so the hooded young men would leave from in front of the church so we all felt safer. At the end of the session, regardless of the weather, the children had to stay at the back of the church until a parent came for them or we walked them home. There was no going out the front door.
This is what and how we overcame when we started the FunDay School tutoring program at my church about 10 years ago. We started slow but we did not give up. We knew it was up to us and people like us to do something to protect our children from these conditions and plant the seeds that would prepare them for a future with better conditions. Our persistence paid off. Once volunteers and parents committed to arriving on time...or early, I was only by myself for a few minutes...and I was given a key to unlock the door rather than wait on a church officer. And God even sent me a bodyguard. The little boy from across the street watched out of the window for me...and came running out to help me with my bags and make sure I got in ok. He then went in the back to set up tables and chairs and lay out the books and supplies for the other kids.
It wasn’t just us church members who overcame. We had volunteer tutors of all ethnicities and ages. Of the police thought... nothing good could come out of the west side of Chicago, so they would pull our volunteers over and frisk them, as suspected drug buyers. (Funny, when I was sitting there by myself, I‘d never even see a squad car.)

But that did not deter the volunteers, they kept coming and we made up special id cards for them so they could “pass go,” if the police stopped them.
We did not run the drug activity away completely. But at least they cleared the corner when we were in session.
I won’t go into a lot of detail about our actual program. It is probably similar to others represented here...but I want to impress upon you that we needed to be there for our children. They needed us. My bodyguard had been a timid little boy who the gangs picked on. But he had the courage to come out and protect me. Of course, I am sure his grandmother watching from the window added to his courage.
Think about it this way. Somebody will be there for the kids. If it isn’t the right somebody, there is a greater risk that those hooded guys on the corner also known as “the wrong somebody” will introduce them to the false courage or false bravado found behind guns and violence. It is that false bravado that not only caused the physical deaths of 15 year old Hidiya Pendleton in January and 17 year old, Ben Wilson almost 30 years ago... but... it ruined the lives of
- 15 year old Omar Dixon,
- 17 year old William Moore,
- 18 year old Michael Ward and
- 20 year old 1Kenneth Williams;
Ward and Williams are on their way to long jail terms for Hidiya’s murder;
and Dixon, after being sentenced to 30 years for Ben’s 1984 murder, is now serving a 40 year sentence for another murder....he spent the prime of his life behind bars...he is now 43 years old and is not expected to be paroled before 2041, when he will be 71 years about a destroyed life
You did not recognize their names. But they were names of the young men that pulled the triggers...the ones that the wrong somebodies got to.

As tutors and mentors our jobs are to teach, reach and direct girls and boys toward positive possibilities. At the risk of being redundant, I repeat, most of you are professionals in this field. I do not have to tell you how to do it. I am just reinforcing the fact that it must be done.
What we do is all about the kids. Mentoring is about setting an example. My bodyguard had courage because his grandmother and I had courage. And even though that person was watching me from the 3rd floor, the grandmother watched me too. And, since many of us are from faith-based organizations, I can say this....guess what, God was watching all of us.

Ok I’ve tugged at your heart strings about the little church that could. Dan asked me to put more about FunDay School on the T/MC blog. You may read more about it, if you like.
But, the bottom line is “it only matters... if it matters.”

What I mean is, did our program make a difference? The answer is YES.

My bodyguard is now an outgoing 16 year old, probably the tallest person in our church and is doing very well in high school. He is just finishing his sophomore year but played the last two years on the varsity basketball team and he is being scouted by colleges. His mentor was a lawyer with the State of Illinois. One young lady who was a marginal student with a poor attitude just finished her junior year at Northern IL University where she is getting very good grades and has developed much better personal skills. She was paired with a financial analyst who had recently graduated from DePaul University Business School. We’ve got two other alumni at Eastern IL University. I have known these young people all of their lives. I know they all benefited from the tutoring and mentoring they received.
In case you think I am making all of this up, I’ve got a young man with me here today who just finished his first year at Concordia University in River Forest, just west of Chicago. He is an accounting major and a   wide receiver on the football team. He is going to introduce himself to you and share a few words.
But, before I yield, I’d like to drop a shameless plug.

The young man about to speak is looking for a summer job. Think about him if you have or know of any employment opportunities.

Also, he can probably add valuable perspective to your session discussions.


Thank you for listening.


At Dan's urging I did mention some specific obstacles that caused us to take an extended hiatus.  I talked about slow parents and how we motivated the kids in order to motivate the parents.   We gave stars for being present before a certain time.  We did a chart and promised a prize to the 2 kids with the most stars.  The kids made a pont of keeping up with their stars.  We gave points for bringing school work and more points for book reports.  I put the book reports in our church bulletin which made the parents and children proud. The kids made black history reports in February.  We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a fiesta featuring a pinata.   the last 15 mins of each session they were allowed to play fun, educational games. We went to plays and Rush football games.   The tutors loved the football games.  We had the city bring the moonwalk at the begininng and end of each school year.  Basically we promised fun and tricked them into attending and learning while we had fun.


But we were done in by inconsistent tutors after a few years.  Most of the volunteers knew each other.   That was great for recruitment but they were young so when dating and other issues caused problems for them, we paid the price for it.  Also, we only had so much space dedicated for our sessions.  If we used the upstairs or sanctuary, discipline became a problem and there was fun but no learning.   Also, several times,  other church events caused us to cancel our sessions.  It became hard to stay on track.


it really is a triangle in which the 3 parts feed off of each other.  The kids, tutors and parents have to buy into the plan.  i know you don't need a child's permission.   But if they are all attitude, they will run the tutor away.  The same for if parents don't arrive on time with a child and the tutor sits idle when he/she could be home sleeping, doing errands, nails, the lawn.  But if a lovesick tutor is pining or absent, the child will not learn anyway.    And, alas, what is a poor coordinator to do when any of this happens?


PS   Sam starts working at the Chicag Waffle and Chicken restaurant in Oak Park next week!

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Prep To Succeed Volunteer ACT Tutoring Program

                                                      Prep To Succeed


     Along with grades and academic class load, a high school student’s ACT test score plays a major factor in determining college admission.  Many qualified students could improve their chances of getting into a better college with a higher ACT test score, but they do not always have the resources that can help them succeed. Many students from more affluent areas have access to individualized tutoring and find their scores improve greatly with this addition. Prep to Succeed will provide individualized ACT tutoring to students in the Chicagoland area who would not have access to this level of tutoring otherwise. The program will begin in January, 2014, to prepare students for the April ACT exam.

     To qualify for tutoring, which will be provided free of charge, students must be in the top level of their class, as these are the students who are most likely to benefit from additional help. Improved ACT scores will provide them with access to better colleges and increased financial aid opportunities. Prep to Succeed will work with individual high schools and mentoring programs to identify which students to assist. Tutoring will focus on the subject matter of the test as well as more general test taking skills.

     Prep to Succeed is planning to tutor 10-20 students this year. Hopefully, in the future we will be able to assist many more students.

     The tutors will be volunteers Our ideal tutors will be college education students or students who scored well on the exam, but other interested individuals will be considered. Tutors will undergo a training process prior to working with the students.


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Social Network Analysis Project Team

Success in today’s economic climate is largely dependent, among other things, on the strength of social networks. A strong social network increases efficiency and competitive advantage of an organization by enabling information exchange within the organization. Social network analysis (SNA) tools are used by organizations to analyze large amount of data stored in their databases and map relationship among them based on shared features. These tools also provide a better understanding of the organizational structure, like who reports to whom, or interaction among different project teams etc.

Here’s an example of how such a tool can be used to map the evolution of the social network within the SNA group of Tutor/Mentor connections (T/MC). It also shows how different people are taking the lead in the SNA group to keep the project moving in order to achieve the goals of T/MC. Inflow social network analysis software training was held at T/MC on 25th February 2010. The first map (Figure 1) shows the interaction among the members of the SNA group before the training in February. In this map, we can see that Dan Bassill is directly connected to most of the members of the group. So, he is the central hub of the network.

I have used a scale of 0-4 to show the strength of relationship between the members in
the SNA group. The definition of the scale is as follows:

0- no interaction.

1- have met at the Ning site but not in person.

2- met only at the InFlow training.

3- met more than once after the InFlow training.

4- have a regular/ongoing relationship.

In addition, the members of the network are color-coded according to their responsibilities.

Figure 1

After the SNA training, everybody got connected to each other with Dan being the central hub (Figure 2). The strength of relationship between the members of the SNA group has also increased after the SNA software training

Figure 2

This map ( Figure 3) represents the people who will be working on theSNA project after the training. We have hidden the nodes of the people who won’t be working on the project. At this stage of the project nobody has taken the lead.

Figure 3

Jonathan and Ahmed left the SNA group few weeks after the training and two new members Karina and Kalyani joined the group. The following map (Figure 4) shows the interaction among the members of the SNA group after introduction of two new members with Katie and Anne currently being the project leads.

Figure 4

This is the current network map ( Figure 5) of the SNA group after the inflow software training of the new members. Here everybody is connected to each other with Anne and Kalyani being the project leads.

Figure 5

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A few months ago I read this Civic Enterprises report, titled  Untapped Potential: Filling the Promise of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Bigs and Littles they Represent.  If you're a current or former BIG, or have experienced the feelings outlined in this report from your involvement in a different mentoring program, I encourage you to read this report (PDF), and add your talent to our efforts.</p>

According to this report, "Youth who are part of the mentoring provided by Big Brothers, Big Sisters do benefit in a variety of ways, but many face "challenges of ruptured families and unsafe neighborhoods, bad influences from adults and peers in their lives, and schools marked by low expectations and insufficient student supports". These challenges are greater obstacles to successful youth development and movement to college and jobs than what a single mentor alone is able to overcome."

Many of the BIGs feel that their experience has motivated them to do more to mitigate these challenges. This report summarizes those feelings and suggests strategies that Biggs could take.  Many of our volunteers at Cabrini Connections experience the same feelings. I'm sure this is true in many other programs, too.

<b>As your read this, I encourage you to read the collaboration strategies on the site.</b> If you're one of those
BIGs who wants to do more to help these kids, join with us in events aimed at building greater public awareness, better understanding of tutoring/mentoring strategies, and a greater flow of operating dollars and volunteers to all of the neighborhoods, and programs, where kids and volunteers can connect.

Here are some highlights of focus group discussions with more than 557 adult volunteers (Bigs) and 400 youth (Littles) :

Overall the "Big" experience profoundly changes the volunteer's perspectives on the lives of at-risk youth. More than four out of five
BIGs (84%) said their experience has changed the way they look at
the challenges that at-risk youth face a great deal, or a fair amount.

Over half of the
BIGss surveyed (56%) said they worry that their Littles are not getting the education they will need to support themselves as adults.

More than one out of three (37%) of
BIGs said that not having enough to do after school was a barrier to their Littles' future success.

Seven out of 10
BIGs said that kids having more access to positive role models like coaches and teachers (73 percent) and role models like BIGs (69%) would improve childrens' chances for success a lot.

Four out of five
BIGs *82%) said their experience as a BIG leaves them feeling like they wish they could do more to h elp their Littles and children like them.

Seven of 10
BIGs (69%) said that they would definitely or consider helping encourage more adults to help disadvantaged children in some way

Four out of five *82%) believe that
BIGs working together can make a very significant or significant impact.

BIG said, "Why go to the government.? This country isn't designed for that. It's about all of us volunteering and making it a better place."

More than 78% said that encouraging other individuals to become more involved in directly helping children was more important than working to change public policy.

<b>there were more than 245,000 active mentors involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2009. </b> Think of how many have been involved over the past 30 years!

Imagine if just a small portion of these volunteers took on some of the leadership and organizing roles suggested in this report, or suggested in the Leadership and Collaboration strategies suggested by the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

It does not matter what city you live in. You can connect with each other, and with us, on this forum, or on forums you create. Let's put the potential of this report into action. Let's start now.

Visit and support the Chicago volunteer recruitment efforts of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Visit and take a lead at bringing Bigs and BBBS programs from all over the Midwest to the May or November Tutor/Mentor Conferences held in Chicago.

Visit http;// and see how you can map locations of tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, or your own community, and use the maps as part of an outreach campaign intended to help more volunteers connect with kids in well-organized programs in Chicago and
throughout the country.

<b>Finaly, read the leadership ideas on the and enlist your business, college, faith group, professional group and/or hospital network as leaders and resource providers to this mobilization.</b>


Together mentors from many mentoring programs can do more to help inner-city kids have the support network they need to overcome the challenges of poverty. Let's connect in 2011 for the benefit of these kids.

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