As I read this post about Tactical Philanthropy blogger-turned-advisor Sean Stannard-Stockton, I got to thinking... that sounds just like Daniel F. Bassill, President of Tutor/Mentor Connection
. Nathaniel Whittemore writes:
This new [philanthropic advisory] firm is in many ways shaped by opportunities that Sean created for himself by sharing his thoughts about the industry in public, and encouraging people to challenge him, provoke a conversation, and contribute their own ideas. This is the power of the internet in today's world, and I wish nothing but success for those who use new tools to push their fields, whatever they may be, to important new places.
Dan has continually pushed the Tutor/Mentor field to new places for 35 years. Dan blogs, discusses, maps, and tweets with a vision that, because of the work he and others do, more youths born in poverty will start jobs and careers by age 25, and more volunteers will make a lasting commitment to tutoring and mentoring.
So if Dan were to start his own Tutor/Mentor advisory firm, what might it look like? Well, perhaps it already exists. The Tutor/Mentor Institute gathers and organizes all that is known about successful non-school tutor/mentor programs and shares that knowledge to expand the availability and enhance the effectiveness of such services to children in inner city Chicago and other impoverished areas.
New programs have started and existing programs have improved based upon T/MI resources. Dan is always available for consultation by e-mail or phone, and all of these services are available for free. It may not be that way for long, though. T/MC is in financial trouble and may not make it through the new year.
Therefore, we need to think of ways to monetize T/MC services instead of relying on capricious grantmakers to fund the entire organization. I encourage people to think of T/MC as an advisory firm like the one Sean Stannard-Stockton is starting. T/MC offers valuable consultancy on the Internet, over the phone, and in-person (if you're in Chicago). In the business world, companies pay good money for valuable consultancy because it improves their productivity and effectiveness.
We hope that tutor/mentor programs see our value and, within their means, can make a donation to keep T/MC alive. We also hope that donors viewing this relationship will see its value as well. An investment in youth is an investment in the next generation, and we are all interconnected. "High risk youths who are kept out of trouble through intervention programs could save society as much as $2 Million a youth per lifetime," says Mark Cohen, professor at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. Every child who is helped by a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program to become a tax-paying adult represents a savings and an investment.
In the space where society recognizes the importance of family and schooling, it must also include out-of-school time. Without a holistic approach, we do a disservice to many at-risk youth.
I appreciate your willingness to engage with these ideas and I appreciate your support of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Thank you.
In July 2011, nearly two years after Bradley wrote this article, the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC was created by Dan Bassil. It's aim is to do all of the things we've not been able to do under a non-profit umbrella because of inconsistent and inadqeuate philanthropic investement. However, as a social benefit organization we continue to seek contributions of time and dollars from individuals who have supported us as a 501-c-3 non profit. We still don't make enough money to cover expenses and we're committed to reinvest funds raised into the work we do to help non-school tutor/mentor programs reach more youth in high poverty neighborhoods with on-going, mentor-rich programs. Are able to offer you satisfaction from your contribution but not a tax deduction. If you value the role we play then we invite you to support us just as Bradley was inviting you to support us two years ago.