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A Personal Introduction to Social Networks

Consistent with TM/C's emphasis on social networking, I created my own network of affiliations using CMAP. This is rough in comparison with others who've posted theirs, but it's a start. From here, I'll start making connections among the various affiliations, digging even deeper into the ways in which they relate and exposing even more nodes of interconnection.

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Change We've Been Waiting For

In his September 8 blog post , Dan put Mayor Daley's historic decision not to run for reelection in the context of tutor/mentor interests throughout the city. During his over 20-year tenure, Daley enacted educational reforms such as the adopt-a-school initiative that, while laudable, weren't far-sighted enough. Daley's myopic focus on school performance worked to the detriment of a more holistic, community focus. But Daley isn't alone in his short-sightedness. According to PolicyLink, the Senate voted to fund President Obama's comprehensive, cutting-edge Promise Neighborhoods initiative--a policy that seeks to address the issue of educational reform by involving both in-school and out-of-school resources--for only $20 million next year, a full $190 million short of the President's request.

Compare the stutter-step pace of the Senate and the Daley administration to companies such as IBM and Google. While Congressmen offer harangues and diatribes about failing schools on C-Span, private companies are stepping into the state's funding chasm, bypassing the red-taped committee meetings, and providing money to community organizations whose operating procedures comform to what is swiftly becoming the new paradigm in educational reform--but what is really something that Dan Bassill, along with a few other change agents across the country, began thinking about decades ago. For instance, IBM's Smarter Cities website promotes ideas such as an "educational continuum" to move children from grade school into careers, a concept that isn't much different from the Harlem Children Zone's "pipeline" concept or Tutor/Mentor Connection's "7 Success Steps", shown here:


But private funding on the level that must be maintained in order to perpetuate programs such as Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago, Harlem Children's Zone in Harlem, and KIPP Academy in the South Bronx--all programs that emphasize cultural and environmental factors as primary determinants of academic success, not just teacher performance or per-pupil funding or classroom size--into the long-term future, is still at the level of germination.

While commumity organizations must do their parts to seize the moment at a time when private companies are starting to warm to the causes of social responsibility and public-private partnership, it will be up to us as citizens to bring the government up to speed with the paradigm shift that's occuring on the ground. Call your your local Congressmen and -women and tell them that by cutting funds for Promise Neighborhoods and forward-thinking legislation like it, they're not just cutting the budget. For millions of children across the country, they're cutting hope.

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I've led Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993. That was well before the internet became such an important tool. I've used computers to organize and communicate my ideas since around 1980. Thus, much of what I've created in the past is stored on floppy disks that may never be opened again.

Most of our ideas show the role of an intermediary, or third-party leader, who brings together people and ideas in places that connect directly with youth living in high poverty, who would not have this help if someone did not make it a life-long priority to take on this T/MC type role.

In the past couple of weeks I've browsed back through some of my old files, just to remind myself of ideas that I had put on paper, letters I had written, and people I had tried to connect with. Some of these ideas had almost been forgotten as new ideas replaced them. Some were still relevant, and might become realities today if given some new attention.

Many of these focus on engaging the time, talent, and resources of universities, and their alumni.

In the Groups section on this forum we have many sub groups. One is a Northwestern University group. Another is a University of Michigan group. Another is an Acacia Fraternity group, which has chapters on more than 20 university campuses. All have the same goals of engaging people who have something in common, in team-based efforts that help us help inner city kids to careers.

In the Northwestern group I've posted an update showing how we have many alumni on our staff, who are writing blogs showing what they do, and how others are involved. I also added links to three documents that I had created almost 10 years ago, showing steps that might lead to university engagement.

We'd like to see groups from every university forming and using these ideas. We'd like to see more people from NU, Michigan and Acacia in the groups we have now, trying to make the ideas a reality, taking ownership of the T/MC vision so it's not depending on just myself, or a few other people.

You don't need to host your group on our Ning site. Deanna Wilkerson of Ohio State University has set up a group on this site.

What we do want to do is make sure there are connections between these groups, so people and ideas can be shared from place to place, enabling us all to constantly innovate new and better ways to use our assets and resources to make a positive difference in the world.

You can find more ideas to support university involvement in these links

* business school connection

* service learning ideas

* Tutor/Mentor Connection ideas/pdfs

Please join us, or share your own link. We can do more by working with each other than by working in silos, or even, against each other.

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The Future of Wealth

In Harvard Business Review’s September issue, there’s an article—“A New Alliance for Global Change”—that predicts nothing short of a paradigm shift toward a new business-nonprofit partnership: “Collaboration between corporations and CSOs [citizen sector organizations] has reached a tipping point: It is becoming standard operating procedure.”

After stumbling into the New York Times’ Economix Blog today, I saw this graph under the headline “Corporate Profits Near Pre-Recession Peak”

As you can see, second quarter earnings for 2010 are hovering around the third quarter 2006 level, despite the Labor Department’s disappointing announcement that the jobless rate rose to 9.6% this month. If Harvard Business Review is correct in its assessment of the nascent partnership of corporations and CSOs, then this seemingly paradoxical news shouldn’t make me wince that much. It would suggest that the current quarterly success of corporations reflects, if only in small measure, the concurrent success of organizations such as Cabrini Connections and TM/C. But is this the case, yet?

I attempted an answer in the attachment: The Future of Wealth.pdf

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