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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Dropout Crisis at CPS Demands Quick Action - What's the Business Response?
By tutormentor2 @ 3:27 PM :: 6737 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Conferences and Training Opportunities, Research and Advocacy

In the Feb. 27, 2007 Chicago Sun Times, the feature editorial focuses on the high drop out rate for Chicago Public School Students, and demands action from CPS to solve the problem.  I wrote about this on my blog and I hope you'll read the article and pass it on.

I want to focus on is the opportunity that the business community has to help solve this problem.  On February 13th, a CEO Summit on Volunteerism was held in New York City.  Jim Morsch, Chair of the SunTimes Judge Marovitz Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth Program, was an attendee.  Jim summarized what took place and his comments are posted below:


CEO Summit on Corporate Volunteerism

Jim Morsch, Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP,

Chair, Exec Committee, SunTimes Judge Marovitz Lawyers Lend a Hand to Youth Program ( ) participant, observation:

  • The goal is to have corporate America donate $1 billion worth of volunteer hours over the next three years.  
  • Deloitte and Target are going to do $50 million in volunteer hours themselves; Intel has pledged $1 million in volunteer hours to celebrate its 40th Anniversary this year.
  • The movers and shakers behind the movement, besides those companies, are the Case Foundation, Taproot Foundation and the Points of Light Network.  The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation is involved
  • They are trying to replicate the pro bono culture and tracking that the legal community has used for years.  It is fairly clear how this can be transferred to other professional service firms who charge or at least track employee time by project but more difficult for other corporations.
  • A consensus is out there that giving money will not fix the profound problems being addressed by community service organizations as (1) there is a limit to the amount of money out there, (2) money neglects building infrastructure and skills at CSO's, and (3) it is more effective to teach CSO's how to fish than to simply hand them fish.  Another way of saying this is that corporations think they have more human than financial capital to throw at societal problems.
  • Skilled volunteerism, matching a company's expertise with a particular community need, is what many corporations prefer because it enhances their employees' skills, puts out the right message about the company, and is more likely to lead to better, long term results.  The example given was a securities firm does not want to be out building homes for Habitat for Humanity and would rather that pro bono work be left to carpenters while they find a way to drive financial capital to homes for the poor.
  • Most corporations do not have formalized pro bono programs, policies or tracking systems and are just getting started with their programs and have no accurate idea or what is being done pro-bono wise in their companies.
  • An attractive approach to corporations is to give them a problem to solve (i.e., drop-out rate in Chicago schools) rather than simply ask for their money or volunteers.
  • The issue of supporting start-ups versus well establish CSOs is a live one, with lots of companies asking for guidance on how to choose between start-ups and make sure they use the money and volunteers provided well.  Corporations are saying that we are not giving away money and volunteers any more simply because a CSO is involved in a good cause or even has a good idea if it cannot deliver results.
  • A follow-up meeting will be held in Chicago in mid-April with Mayor Daley hosting (invitation only).


On May 29 and 30 the T/MC will host its 29th Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference since May 1994.  We want to engage the busienss community in solving the drop out crisis and turn it into a workforce development and diversity opportunity.  We want to engage corproations and their leaders and employees as partners in a long-term stragey that makes volunteer-based tutoring and mentoring programs available to youth in every high poverty neighborhood of every big city in America. 


I'm recruiting speakers and workshop leaders now and one way for business to be involved is to organize workshops where they share their expertise in marketing, planning, communications, team building and technology with non profit organizations, while they learn from us and each other new ways where they and their employees can become strategic partners of tutor/mentor programs and owners of this strategy.


Email or call 312-492-9614 if you'd like to discuss the CEO Summit, the role of mentoring in a workforce development strategy, or other ways to become involved with the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

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