Daniel F. Bassill | Chicago Reader

Recent Comments

Re: “The Obama Foundation throws a summit

Obama Foundation has potential to model a form of support for social engagement different than anything else that exists. To do that it needs to find a way to be a meeting place, not just for 500, but for 500,000 and more, which means it needs to create a platform like eBey that encourages people to log in and share links to the work they are doing and the ideas they have, and encourages people with time, talent, and lots of dollars, to also log in, and look for people and projects to support.

With 19,500 applications, and only 450 young people in attendance, and who knows how many of the other 19,050 following on-line, the Foundation is already a step behind in meeting this vision. Traditional philanthropy and government funding is a competition where there are a few winners, and mostly losers. Yet all those who did not attend may have great ideas that need to be supported.

Obama and others with his type of visibility can call on investors, donors and volunteers, on a daily basis, to connect with those who have ideas for creating a better world. Will they do that?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Daniel F. Bassill on 11/05/2017 at 3:08 PM

Re: “The deeper issue for Chicago schools

I've supported volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs for over 35 years because the connect people who don't live in poverty in on-going relationships with youth and families who do. In programs where volunteers are well supported and stay involved for multiple years, many of the volunteers become much more involved, and much more likely to reach into their own business, family, alumni networks to bring other people into their programs, thus increasing the number of people who are working to help young people move through school and into jobs and careers.

There are too few of these programs in Chicago and they are poorly distributed. Look at the Interactive map at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/I… and you can see the distribution of about 170 different non-school tutoring and/or mentoring organizations. I've been collecting this information and sharing it since 1993 with the goal that media, political and faith leaders, business and philanthropy would use the maps as part of an on-going marketing effort intended to build and sustain mentor-rich non-school programs in all high poverty parts of the Chicago region. So far, that's not happening to any great extent, which means that efforts are fragmented and program growth is uneven.

With the Internet I can share this on a single web site and anyone, including young people, can write about the information and mobilize volunteers and donors, to help individual programs in different neighborhoods, or help programs in all neighborhoods. Anyone can borrow ideas from existing programs to help others improve, or to start new programs where there now are too few, or none at all. This is not a short term strategy but one that can lead to stronger support systems for kids in high poverty neighborhoods if led by many people over many years. Browse the http://www.tutormentorexchange.net to see the ideas and resources available (free) to support such involvement and leadership.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Daniel F. Bassill on 03/10/2013 at 11:28 AM

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