Monday, April 29, 2013

Maps showing most segregated cities in USA

Business Insider has posted maps showing the 21 most segregated cities in the US.

My hope is that leaders will use maps like these and those on this blog and the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to develop strategies that draw volunteers from beyond these neighborhoods into ongoing tutor/mentor programs that help build bridges connecting youth and families to ideas, opportunities and resources beyond these highly segregated areas.

You can also see these maps on Flickr at this link.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chicago youth program funding - Create Competition to DO GOOD!

A slick new web site has been created to mobilize resources from the business community to fight the rising violence in many inner city neighborhoods. The Mayor is raising a pool of $50 million dollars to fund new initiatives that expand the number of youth reached. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago on the Tutor/Mentor Institute blog.

On the Get IN Chicago web site is a map showing neighborhoods eligible for funding from the first round of this initiative. I created a map from the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, showing levels of poverty, locations of poorly performing public schools (from 2008) and locations of non-school tutor/mentor programs that I've been able to identify.

While the neighborhoods targeted for funding certainly have a need for youth serving programs, there are other neighborhoods that also need these programs, including areas of the suburbs that don't come under the Mayor's umbrella, but certainly are affected by high poverty, gangs, drugs, etc.

If you look at the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator map, you'll see that there are not a lot of existing tutor/mentor programs in the areas where funding is targeted. If you look at the web sites of existing programs, you'll also find that too few show comprehensive strategies, theory of change, or multi-year history of success. That means new and inexperienced programs will compete for this money, and that it will take time for these programs to grow to be great in how they influence youth habits, or how they build a cadre of loyal volunteers. That won't happen in a few months. Hopefully in two to three years when these programs are maturing, the money will still be there.

However, what happens to other programs in areas outside of this funding? Are companies going to just switch funding from programs they have been supporting to new initiatives the Mayor is supporting? Can we really expect them to put $50 million in new funding into this sector? A newly released 2013 Non Profit Finance Fund survey shows that non profits are already struggling financially. Without a flow of operating dollars to sustain current efforts, new money for expanded efforts sits on an empty shell.

The city and suburbs need a long-term strategy that mobilizes operating and innovation resources for many programs and supports volunteer, youth and donor connections for many years. It's needed this for more than 20 years, not just in the past two to three years.
This strategy needs to use maps to support the distribution of resources and growth of programs. It needs to be based on libraries of information showing what programs are doing in different parts of the country, not just Chicago. And it needs to be supported by on-going public involvement advertising, education, evangelism, involving leaders from many sectors. I created this strategy map many years ago to show my own commitment to helping youth from the Cabrini Green neighborhood move through school and into jobs and careers. It shows a need for many leaders and many volunteers with different skills. It could be on the web site of any youth program, or on the web site of the Mayor and any business leader.

To me, that's the role of elected leaders. Use your influence to motivate leaders from every sector to adopt long-term strategies that help all kids in Chicagoland move through school and into 21st century jobs and careers. Use your web site to give recognition to leaders who adopt this strategy and showcase those who seem to do a little better than others every year. Create a Chicagoland competition to DO GOOD and compete with other major cities to show that Chicago leaders can do more good than they can.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CPS School Closings - Map Analysis Needed

In today's Chicago SunTimes a story showed the walking route between King Elementary School, 740 S. Campbell, to Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy, 3030 W. Harrison. In the printed edition of the SunTimes a map was included showing King at one side of a rectangle and Jensen at the other, with potential routes kids might take from King to Jensen, and potential hazards to kids shown along the routes.

Since I'm a map fanatic, and I've done maps of school areas in the past, I thought that there was more to this analysis than what was being presented. Thus, I used the Chicago Public Schools Locator web site (which is quite good). I created the analysis below: I don't know how CPS elementary school districts are drawn, or from what distance around the school kids are drawn. However, I drew a circle around the two schools in the SunTimes article. (One question I had was that in the SunTimes article the receiving school at 3030 W. Harrison is Jensen, yet on the CPS locator the only school at that address is Bethune. Is the CPS locator up-to-date?)

If you look at the circle around the two schools, and you look at other elementary schools in the area, you might want to ask a few questions, such as:

a) The students who live in the area West of King would could be within 4 blocks of Jensen, depending where they live. However, students living South, North or East of King would have to travel even further than the 8 blocks shown in the Sun Times article.

b) With other elementary schools potentially closer to where some of King's students live, is CPS really planning to divide kids from closing schools among several different schools, not just the "receiving school"?

c) CPS has mapping capacity. Do they map the home addresses of students to determine the attendance pattern for every school, or to understand transit routes, bus routes, etc.

Using map analysis tools like this it might be possible for CPS, parents, community activist, political leaders and others to make better decisions about what schools kids should attend, as well as what non-school resources are in the area around every poorly performing school in the city.

As a vocational education program, CPS and City Colleges of Chicago could be teaching youth in area high schools to create maps and do map analysis stories like this. Businesses in Chicago who provide mapping services could provide technology and mentoring. Why not?

See more of the map stories on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog.

Monday, April 8, 2013

How Geography of Poverty has Changed in Chicago since 1950

This Chicago Magazine article has animated poverty maps showing the change in poverty distribution in the Chicago region since 1950. Those who work for social justice, equal education opportunity, etc. should be using maps like this to plan ways to distribute volunteers and dollars into places where poor people are moving, while keeping resources flowing in places where large concentrations still live. See how Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC use maps to mobilize resources that support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region.

Program locator -

Map Gallery -

Tutor/Mentor Institute blog articles - here and here