Note: This article was written in 2008. Ideas still relevant in 2016.
Dan Bassill writes in his latest blog about one of the biggest challenges faced by non-school tutoring and mentoring programs: A lack of funding for general operations. In fact, Tutor/Mentor Connection (where I work) is in the same building as Dan's T/M program, Cabrini Connections (which works with kids from the Cabrini Green neighborhood)... so I've had the unique opportunity to witness these funding struggles from the front-row.
But funding isn't the only challenge faced by a not-for-profit like a T/M program. Work is also ongoing to recruit talented, dedicated staff and volunteers who will make long-term commitments to being part of such programs.
And while, on occasion, small successes in recruiting and fundraising are celebrated (allowing operations to continue quarter-by-quarter), ideally, programs need to be sustained for years so that relationships can form, and volunteers and business partners can influence student aspirations and career choices.
If only more businesses would invest in tutor/mentor programs, long-term, as part of their own human capital development. Dan explains, "If we can help more kids from poor neighborhoods move to jobs and careers, we diversify the workforce, and help find new workers to replace retirees who will be leaving the workforce over the next 15 years." Furthermore, it stands to reason that kids who gain skills through tutoring and mentoring move onto higher education and careers... escaping poverty... and ultimately having more cash in hand, as consumers, to ensure the growth of local markets for a business' goods and services.
In past blogs, I've looked at how companies like CVS actually do have a strong philanthropic presence in the community. Today, I've created maps that help show how some of the major banks in Chicago might support the growth of tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods where they have branch banks, and help recruit volunteers who travel to and from work via the major expressways, as volunteers, leaders and donors.
Banks whose locations I have mapped include: