Tuesday, October 22, 2019

What If This Market Analysis Tool Were Used to Support Growth of Youth Programs

Below is a screen shot from a Business Market Analysis Case Study posted by ESRI this week.  I encourage you to open the link and see how Walgreens uses this tool to determine where to place new stores.

Open link and view this market analysis tool
UPDATE:  10-24-2019 - here's a different example of using GIS mapping to support fund raising efforts. Read both articles then the rest of this blog article.

Imagine having this tool available to social sector intermediaries like the Tutor/Mentor Connection.  In early 1993 when a volunteer from IBM was introducing me to Geographic Information Systems I saw interactive uses of mapping as planning tools and understood their potential to visually communicate.

Between then and 2009, with the help of volunteers and a few donors, I was able to mimic some of those tools in the types of maps and map platforms we created to help support the growth of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, but was never able to get the full suite of tools, nor the executive commitment to use these in efforts to engage corporate resources in helping tutor/mentor programs grow in areas served by different companies.

See map in this story

At the left is one of the map stories we created in the 1990s. This has all of the elements of the ESRI tool, except it is not automated. We show specific parts of Chicago, tell a story of a shooting, talk about the poverty that is a root cause of much of the violence, and talk about assets in the area (businesses, faith groups, colleges, hospitals) who could be helping tutor/mentor programs grow in that area.

Imagine having that story told with a GIS tool like the one ESRI is showing. Imagine the story being told by a corporate CEO or Mayor of a big city!   I can imagine it. I've not been able to make it happen!

Browse through this set of articles, written since 2008, to show how Tutor/Mentor Connection (now Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC) has been attempting to use maps.
view map & list of programs here

The one unique feature of the T/MC work is that we've been collecting information about non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in the Chicago region since 1993, and our efforts aim to draw volunteers, donors and ideas directly to each program, to help each constantly improve.

T/MC goes beyond technical assistance and showing "how" to recruit and/or raise money. T/MC has helped build public attention and recruit and raise money for these programs since 1994. 

And T/MC uses maps to try to ensure a distribution of k-12 programs in every high poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region.

If you know of others using maps this way, please share it in the comments section.


Since 2011 the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been led by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (which is a one person - Dan Bassill (me) - operation based in the Chicago region). Here's a 2019 article showing what I've been trying to do and showing help needed to re-build my capacity to do this work.

These maps could be any major city in the world, not just Chicago. That means a  university, business and/or civic organization from any place in the world could spend time learning what the Tutor/Mentor Connection/Institute, LLC  has been building then offer to adopt, and rebuild, the strategy to apply in their own city and to share with other cities.

Any company could be using ESRI tools as part of this ROLE OF LEADERS  commitment, to support the growth of youth serving organizations in areas where they do business, and/or where customers and employees live.

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin.  Let's explore this possibility. 

In the short term, please make a contribution to help me continue to fund this work.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Link between poverty, segregation and education performance

In my Twitter feed today was a post that pointed me to this article, titled: An analysis of achievement gaps in every school in America shows that poverty is the biggest hurdle.  The article draws upon data that is available in this Stanford Opportunity Explorer map.

Below I'm showing three map views that I created by zooming in on the map.

The blue shades show "students' scores, in grade levels, relative to the national average (grades 3-8, 2009-2016)". This is explained in the table in the lower right corner of the page.  Click on the "more info" link and a panel opens on the left side of the page with a set of questions and answers.

National View of Opportunity Explorer
Then I zoomed in to look at the Chicago area where I've focused on helping volunteer-based, non-school tutor/mentor programs grow since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  At this level of detail  you can see individual schools, which are color coded to show how they perform vs the national average.

View of Chicago region - Central/South

Then I zoomed in more to focus on the central part of the city.  For reference, look at this map which we created more than 10 years ago, showing the Illinois 7th Congressional District. You can see how this district stretches from Chicago's lakefront to the far West suburbs and that there are areas of high poverty in the middle and South part of the district (note: this is 2000 census data). 

7th Illinois Congressional District
Now look at the third map that I created using the Opportunity Explorer.  I'm focusing on the same area as the 7th Congressional District. You can see the difference between more affluent areas (green) and greater poverty areas (blue).

This map covers much of the 7th Congressional District
Now look at the map below, showing the 7th Congressional District, which was created using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which a team from India built for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2008 using money we'd received from an anonymous donor. (This team first introduced themselves to me in 2007 by rebuilding our Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS) page - on a pro-bono basis!)

7th District view using Program Locator - click here

The Opportunity Explore is a great resource.  However, I wish it had overlays showing Congressional or State legislative districts, so voters could build an understanding of the segregation, poverty and school performance within their district and hold elected leaders accountable for generating the resources and mobilizing the leadership needed to improve the lives of those living in poverty.  

Unfortunately the Tutor/Mentor Connection was not able to attract new funding after 2008 due to the financial crisis, which also affected the volunteers from India who were helping us. In 2011 this led to the strategy being discontinued at the non profit I founded in 1993, which led me to form the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (also 2011) to try to keep this resource updated and available.  

It is available. It's not updated. However if you explore it's features, it's loaded.  For instance, in the upper right I've pointed to an "enlargement" button which expands the map to your full screen. That enables you to look closer at the information on the map, including the green stars, representing non-school tutor and/or mentor programs in the map area.  

Data platforms - click here
The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator is not the only resource people can use. It is one of the few that overlays non-school tutor/mentor programs and is intended to support leaders working to fill neighborhoods with a wide range of k-12 youth programs.

I point to a wide range of data platforms in this concept map. I'll add the Stanford Opportunity Explorer today.  These can be used to understand issues and create map-stories that share your understanding with other people, mobilizing the talent, dollars and votes needed to change conditions shown on the maps.  

View more stories on this blog showing uses of maps, and view stories on the Tutor/Mentor blog, also using maps. Imagine such stories appearing on thousands of web sites and blogs, created by students, volunteers, policy makers, elected leaders, etc.

I'm looking for partners at universities, businesses think tanks and/or other non-profits who will spend time learning what I've been trying to do and then invest and adopt, updating the Program Locator, and rebuilding strategies that I'm no longer able to lead as well as needed, due to lack of support.  

If I can get the attention and investment from just one of the growing number of billionaires in the world, this entire strategy could be relaunched, using their name and influence. Share this article, and perhaps you can help me reach these people. 

This link points to social media platforms where we can connect.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Factors that affect learning - interactive map

In a Twitter chat today I learned about a new map by Brookings.edu and the @hamiltonproject. I show it below. Visit this article to read about the map and learn how to use it.

Open map - click here
You can zoom into the map and enlarge it to focus on different places around the USA.  I zoomed into the Chicago region and created the map view shown below:

Open map - click here

Each dot on this map is an individual school.  So I zoomed in even more to focus on one school, which I chose at random.

Open map - click here
The blue circle focuses on Daley Elementary School, where student chronic attendance is 18.2%, which you can see if you put your icon on the red dot. 

The red circle focuses on the wider area around this school, where most students live.  I've been trying to coach schools, businesses, faith groups, hospitals and others to fill the red circle with a wide range of volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning organizations so kids come to school more prepared to learn and leave with networks that help them into jobs.

I've been trying for 20 years with limited success. I keep trying. 

Below is another map, created in 2017 from the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which my organization created in 2008 (it's not been updated since 2013).

View Program Locator - click here
On this map I show layers of information, that includes existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area, as well as assets who could be helping programs and schools help kids, such as faith groups, businesses, hospitals and universities.  The map shows who is in the same geography, thus who has a reason to help.

Most of the map platforms that show data, don't do what the Program Locator was intended to do. And, I've not had the resources or partnership to keep updating the Program Locator, or to keep adding to its features.

Chicago programs
In 2016 I created a new map platform, which is kept updated. See it here.  Unfortunately  this does not have the layers of information, or search features of the program locator. You can zoom in and put your mouse over a green icon to learn who that program is.

It's not enough to just point to where kids need help. We need to  help build a support system of people and organizations who devote time, talent, dollars and votes over many years to help kids grow up.

If you'd like to know more, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.  If you'd like to make a contribution (not tax deductable) to help me, click here.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Understanding Racial Diversity in USA

Below is one of six maps shown in a Brookings.edu article titled "Six Maps that Reveal America's Expanding Racial Diversity".

Run your pointer over the maps and you'll get data for every county showing the percent of each racial group in that county.

In theory you would expect a greater percent of minority elected officials, at the local, state and federal level, in those areas showing high concentrations of African American and Latino populations. 

Take some time to read the full article. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A Bridge Too Far? My Vision Since 1993.

This is one of many maps you'll find on this blog and on the Tutor/Mentor Blog which zoom into a Chicago neighborhood and tell a story of "why" kids and families need more help, "what" help is already in that area, if any, in the form of organized volunteer based tutor and/or mentor programs; and "what assets" and leaders share the geography and could be doing much more to help change the conditions and improve the lives of people who live there.


click to enlarge
I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993 and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (T/MI) in 2011 to support the growth of well-organized youth tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty areas of Chicago. This graphic shows four strategies that I've followed since they were developed in 1993.

While we accomplished much and built a hug resource we've never had consistent funding or significant leadership support from Chicago business, political, philanthropic or other sectors. Thus, what we wanted to accomplish is far less than what has been needed.

Data collection and GIS mapping have been at the heart of T/MC work since 1993. This graphic shows what the T/MC has been trying to do and what has not ever been accomplished.

Annual cycle of Tutor/Mentor Connection mapping. Click to enlarge 
We've built a list of youth tutor/mentor programs, organized bi-annual conferences to bring leaders together, organized events to draw volunteers and donors to programs, generated considerable attention from local media, built a social media presence and more.  It's been too little to change the overall range of poverty in Chicago, but has had a positive affect on many individual lives.

I created this Wiki Page to show what we were trying to accomplish. Feel free to read it and offer your help.

When we started building a mapping capacity, and on-line program locator, the goal was that we could do more to support the fund raising capacity of programs in different parts of the city.  There were three goals that never have been reached.

click here to view
1) There is a growing mountain of data showing levels of poverty and inequality in Chicago and the world.  In the concept map shown at the left I point so some of these data platforms.  The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator used some of that data and like other platforms enabled people to zoom into small areas to look for the availability of tutor/mentor programs in small areas.

My vision was that we could create a form that would be accepted by grant makers, to show the need for tutor/mentor programs serving different age levels in different zip codes and/or community areas.  Right now every program has to build their own case statement showing why it is important for their program to receive funding. Some have greater talent to do this than others. It's a redundant process. Thus, creating a form where you'd only need to enter a zipcode or community area, plus the age group you serve, and the type of program you offer, should generate a report showing that you are needed in that area.

It would lower the cost to individual programs and give grant makers a consistent way to help them decide where to provide funding and who to support in each area. 

click here to view

We got partially there in 2004 when we launched this on-line searchable program locator form.  However, the maps that this produced did not show demographic information or indicators such as poorly performing schools or violence.  The Interactive Program Locator that was built in 2008 provided this information. However, there was no "easy to use" narrative generated in a "form" that could be printed that someone could pull from the site and use in a grant proposal.

The financial melt down starting in 2008 led to this work being discontinued in 2009 and to updates being discontinued by 2013.

So this is one bridge that we never were able to cross.

2)  Motivating programs to provide data for the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and keep it updated has always been a challenge. One way we partially overcame that was to have our annual survey included in the grant guidelines of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Lawyer's Lend A Hand Program. About 40 out of our list of nearly 200 programs submitted applications each year from 1995-20003 which I could use to update the list. However, that was too few and too time consuming for my small staff. Thus as we built the interactive portal in 2004 we developed an on-line form that programs could use to add themselves or update their data (not working since 2013).  However, this still did not provide "motivation".

click to enlarge

My answer is shown in this PDF. The graphic at the right is part of it. As on-line fund raising portals grew since the mid 2000s I felt that we might create a portal that would work with the Program Locator maps, to encourage donors to support programs in different parts of Chicago and give media a resource to use in developing stories following incidents of violence, reports on schools, reports on gangs, etc. 

On one level, we could draw from the list we were maintaining to give donors info to create the platform. However, on another level we felt that as programs began to generate donations, and learned to use the site to build their own campaigns, we'd create greater motivation to keep their data updated.  We could even organize events at different time in each year to draw volunteers and donors to the platform.

This is another bridge that has not been crossed. This has never gotten further than me putting the idea into this PPT and sharing it on my planning wiki.

click to enlarge
Media stories continue to remind us that some people in Chicago and other cities live with fewer resources and fewer opportunities than do other people.  Thus, there's still a need for organizations that provide a bridge, connecting youth and families to resources and connecting people who don't live in poverty with people who do.

3) The final bridge - As we developed the Tutor/Mentor Connection in the 1990s we felt we could generate income to support our continued operations and innovation by making it available to other cities and offering our expertise to help them use it. When I formed the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC that continued to be the goal.  However, that has not happened.   Now my goal is to find people who will take time to understand what I've been trying to do and will want to take ownership and carry it into the future.   One idea that might offer promise is to make the code for the Program Locator and any new platforms freely available on GitHub, so it could be more easily applied in other cities, and to other causes.  That might attract more developers to help build in the features I've not been able to construct, and to keep updating it as technology and needs change.  Having parallel portals in every major city of the US and the world would certainly contribute to greater visibility and greater traffic, and thus a bigger flow of donations through the portal and the maps to individual tutor/mentor programs in different places.

That's always been the goal.  So far it's still a bridge to far to cross.

Does any of this interest you?  I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. Let's connect.



Monday, July 1, 2019

Collective Mapping - Resources

I've followed the From Poverty to Power blog for a few years because of the informative articles. The image below is from an article on Collective Mapping, posted today.

#PowerShifts Resources: Collective Mapping - click here

If you browse through past articles on this blog you'll find many examples of how I've attempted to use maps to show where volunteer based tutor and mentoring programs are most needed, where existing programs are located, and ways people can help those programs grow.

I've depended on volunteers and inconsistent donations to create the maps and map platform you see on this site.  My goal for the past few years and going forward is to find people who will use my history as a template for building new versions of my mapping and apply them in cities across the world.

At the same time, I've been creating a web library showing ways people are using #maps and showing platforms and technology that can be used. This cMap is one way I share that information.

Open this cMap and visit the mapping platforms that I point to.
I use maps in articles on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, to draw attention to areas with high poverty, or high violence, where long-term youth tutor/mentor programs are most needed. If you read these, please share.  However, another way to read these is to use them as templates for your own articles, focusing on  your own cities, if you're not from Chicago.

To  have an impact, thousands of people need to be telling stories using maps, not just myself or a few people. 

You can connect with me on one of these social media sites

If you want to make a small contribution to support my work, click here.