Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Uses of maps to plan business involvement

This article was first written in 2009 by Mike Traken, who was the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) map maker from 2008-2011. I've updated it for 2016.

Mike wrote, "I decided to focus on clearing up any possible confusion as to what we do at the T/MC. Because the work that the T/MC does is really complicated, multi-faceted, and potentially confusing at first.  What exactly does the T/MC want to accomplish? You can read about it... you can listen to us talk all day long... but maps give a visual to grab onto, and it's effective."

"Tutor/Mentor Connection" (TM/C) doesn't work with the kids directly in any single neighborhood (although from 1993-2011 it was part of a single program called Cabrini Connections).   Instead, it keeps a database of ALL T/M Programs operating in Chicago. . T/MC acts as a central directory where parents can find a program that specializes in their kids' needs (location, age group served, etc.)

But more! T/MC is looking to share ideas, goals, and strategies among all programs... an exchange of ideas - to ensure that existing programs maximize their growth/potential with their particular group of kids. Many documents geared toward this sharing these ideas exist in the T/MC's forums and in their web library - through the Tutor/Mentor Institute. Additionally, T/MC occasionally organizes a semi-annual conference to bring as many people together as possible to exchange ideas and information in person.

But more still! T/MC analyzes the program location data to determine where programs do NOT exist - where, among the most impoverished, high-need areas... where kids are lost in school and running the streets - do we need leadership in creating NEW T/M programs? What resources out there can host and/or finance these new programs... and what resources are available for getting the word out to people who do not even know these programs exist?

This is where maps are extremely helpful. This is what I do."

So, below are a few maps that Mike created, along with his description of the maps. Mike wrote:

First, the location of all Baptist Churches in Chicago. Notice how many are concentrated in high-poverty, high-need areas:

These churches and their congregations may not have the financial support needed to support the existing programs. But they would make great locations for NEW programs in neighborhoods where the school system is failing the children, and where these students desperately need additional tutoring and mentoring. And the church leaders here can broadcast the message to unknowing parents in the congregation, and make them aware that T/M services exist for their children's benefit.

Here's a map showing Lutheran Churches:

Of course, there are Lutheran congregations in high-poverty areas too - and these can serve many of the same functions as the Baptists. But, those in more affluent areas might want to help in other ways too. Perhaps members in the wealthier suburbs who commute, using highways that slice through the high-poverty areas, can take some time each week to volunteer as a mentor. Perhaps their places of employment have philanthropic money budgeted and would like to help contribute financially.

Of course, we here at T/MC have mapped the locations of many other Christian denominations, as well as the locations of Jewish, and Non-Judeo-Christian faiths. Mike simply chose these two as examples.

Next, is a map which illustrates how political leaders can organize resources in their districts, using the Illinois 14th Senate District map.

(click on the map above to see "full-sized")

This map shows the location of universities and hospitals which might have faculty/employees/students/leaders who want to work in a hosting, donating, or informational capacity... to support the kids who reside in the 14th district. Of course, we're not intending to single out the 14th district. This is just one district chosen to exemplify how the TM/C maps can help leaders in a given community organize their efforts to support tutoring and mentoring.

Ultimately the benefit is for everyone. Educated kids who get off the street, take a vested interest in a democracy, help participate in our local economies, and ultimately become leaders themselves... In many communities, some kids are afraid to leave their house, as the Sun-Times reports, due to the rampant frustration, hopelessness, and crime. The TM/C creates maps to supplement the negative news stories, looking for solutions through available resources in communities where crime is featured in the media:

(click on the map above to see "full-sized")
Sounds great, doesn't it? Who would oppose helping kids, families, and communities in need? 

Mike wrote, "When I first got here, I assumed maybe the business community would be a little removed and cold toward programs that do not immediately affect their bottom line.

I was wrong. Companies like CVS have a strong philanthropic presence in the community:"

So do many, if not all, of the Fortune 500/1000 companies in town:

And elite groups/organizations of professionals, such as lawyers:

Law firms, businesses, other professionals - many see that investing in the area's impoverished communities can help build new markets, replenish struggling markets, and groom new employees, for the benefit of the local economy and in the fight against crime. These organizations are invaluable sources of desperately-needed revenue, volunteers, and information-sharing for T/M programs everywhere. TM/C wants to create new partnerships and inspire more participation among professionals/businessmen everywhere.

Browse articles written from 2008 through mid 2011 that show more examples of maps and how they can be used.

Unfortunately, due to the financial crisis that started in late 2007 and still has a negative impact, the Tutor/Mentor Connection was not able to continue to fund the map making position after 2010 and new maps like these have not been created since then.

In addition, the on-line program locator, created in 2008, which has been used to make maps like the ones shown below, has also not had funding since 2009, thus it's not been updated and some features no longer work..

Since 2011 this blog has shared map stories created using the Program Locator, and has pointed to new map platforms hosted by others, which can also be used to make map stories.  It would be a great project for a company, and company team, to adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection and become a partner with the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, so these resources can be updated, and made available in cities across the world.

If interested, let's connect. Find me on Twitter @tutormentorteam or Linkedin or Facebook.

No comments: