[COMM-ORG] query: getting funders to change processes
Discussion list for COMM-ORG
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Feb 19 17:01:38 CST 2010
[ed: thanks to Dan for responding to Amy's query.]
From: "tutormentor1 at earthlink.net" <tutormentor1 at earthlink.net>
I have led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago for 35 years,
and as a non profit since 1990. From 1975 to 1990 I also was a retail
advertising manager for the Montgomery Ward Corporation, where my jobs were
to prepare advertising that drew customers to all 400 of our stores every
The constant battle, and frustration, to keep donor dollars coming to our
non profit so we could do consistently good work, led me to create the
Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 based on my experiences in advertising.
Starting in 1993 I created a master database, and library of information,
showing all of the different organizations providing volunteer-based
tutoring and/or mentoring in non-school locations in the city of Chicago.
I published this as a directory and sent it to businesses, foundations and
non profits, encouraging them to all use the same information.
I also began to plot the information on maps, showing the entire city, the
demographics of poverty and locations of poorly performing schools, and
locations of existing programs. We also created maps to follow media
stories, so if the front page talked about a shooting in one neighborhood,
we could create a map showing if there were any tutor/mentor programs in
We moved this to the internet in 1998 and you can see the program locator
at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net and the strategy at
The goal is to help programs do good work, and do a good job of showing
what they do on their web sites and blogs, while educating the consumer
(donors, volunteers, leaders) about the need for these programs in all
poverty neighborhoods, and the need for consistent funding in order for
that to happen.
We've never had much money to do this so it's not as well known as it needs
to be. However, if you search Google for "tutor mentor" our sites come up
more than once on the first page.
Our hope is that other cities duplicate what we do, and partner with us in
doing it, so that collectively we can create more traffic every day to web
hubs that point volunteers and donors to all of the places where they are
Since you're in Madison, it would be great to connect.
800 W. Huron
Chicago, Il. 60642
Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> [ed: please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with responses to Amy's
> query. a bit from me below.]
> From: "Amy S. Mondloch" <amy at grassrootsleadershipcollege.org>
> Hello all—
> Thanks everyone who gave me feedback on my last question. Here’s another
> Here in Madison, like other communities, many nonprofits receive at
> least part of their funding from the city or county government. Every
> year roughly the same thing happens. City and county governments
> threaten cuts, nonprofits scramble to each defend their piece of the pie
> and they are either successful or not. Last fall a coalition of
> organizations here changed that process a little bit. We got together
> and put pressure on the mayor and county executive to restore funding
> across the board to the nonprofits being cut. On the city level we were
> very successful, less so on the county level but we are on the radar at
> both the city and county level.
> Now, we’re figuring out how we want to move forward. The organizations
> involved understand the adage that “an injury to one is an injury to
> all” fits our situation really well. We’re trying to figure out a lot of
> things and are looking for other models. Who out there has pressured a
> funder (governmental or nongovernmental) to change their practices?
> Who’s had success and how? Who’s failed and why? We’d really appreciate
> stories and suggestions that you can share.
> Everyone A Learner, Everyone A Teacher, Everyone A Leader
> a proud member of Community Shares of Wisconsin
> now accepting applications for the spring semester at
> Amy S Mondloch
> Executive Director
> Grassroots Leadership College
> 1321 E. Mifflin St. Suite 201
> Madison, WI
> phone: 608-441-0085
> fax: 608-204-0835
> amy at grassrootsleadershipcollege.org
> [ed: I've been part of two projects working on funder's influences. The
> first was two decades ago, when I was part of a participatory action
> research project, with Dave Beckwith and a bunch of others, studying
> first the needs and resources of community development organizations in
> Toledo and then the funding priorities or the area foundations. The
> first study provided some of the energy for a coalition, along with
> Dave's and others' really smart organizing, and the second study
> provided the leverage to ultimately bring $2 million into Toledo to
> support those organizations. The second project was more recent, in
> Toledo, and looked at funders' research needs. I can't point to dramatic
> outcomes from that project, as I left shortly after for Madison, but one
> of the things it pointed to is that most funders are no better at
> gathering the research needed to develop solid priorities than small
> nonprofits are. That suggested to us the possibility that funders'
> priorities could be swayed by good research coupled with good organizing.]
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