Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cabrini Connections Art Festival, February 8, 2008

For the past two years students and volunteers have been meeting every Monday evening to create art projects. You an meet these students, see the art and learn about the art festival at http://www.cabriniconnections.net/art_festival/artfair.asp

The arts, video and technology clubs are part of the success steps strategy of Cabrini Connections. In this process they are mentored by additional volunteers beyond the one-on-one tutor they meet with on Wednesday or Thursday. They are exposed to new experiences, which can lead to aspirations for careers that they might not have known about without this activity. One of our alumni is attending an art school now because of his many years of involvement in the art club.

Another group has been meeting on Tuesdays, on weekends, and other days, to create a video documentary about the changes taking place in Cabrini Green. This exposes kids to another form or art and communications, and another network of volunteers and career aspirations. Here's a list of videos created by teens and volunteers in the past, which you can see on YouTube or Google

The art and documentary will be shown and sold on the weekend of February 8, at an art festival to be held at the Palette and Chisel, 1012 N. Dearborn Chicago IL 60610, on the weekend of February 8th. The event will start at 5:30 PM on Friday, Feb 8th, with the auction running until 8:30 and the event ending at 9PM. The artwork will be on display starting February 2nd until Monday the 11th. The web site of Palette and Chisel is http://www.paletteandchisel.org/

Volunteers needed:
We're looking for people who will help with the Art Festival on Feb. 8, 9 and 10. Email Nicole White at nicolewhite.cabrini@gmail.com if you can help.

We're also looking for video and film industry volunteers to take on leadership roles with our video group so that we can continue this project in the summer and the 2008-09 school year. Email Dan Bassill at tutormentor2@earthlink.net if you'd like to learn mroe about this.

As you look at the photos of our students and read more about Cabrini Connections, I hope you'll reach out into your networks on Facebook, Linked In, MySpace and at your college or busienss, to tell the story of what we do, and your involvement, so more people become volunteer and donors, and more people attend the festival on February 8. Here's a pdf showing what we mean by connecting your network.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank you to donors and volunteers

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection was incorporated as a non profit organization in February 1993. We had seven volunteers and no money, or source of income, at that time. We only had a long history of tutoring second to 6th grade kids at the Montgomery Ward headquarters, and a commitment to helping 7th graders from that program get continued help so they would be starting jobs and careers some day. We also had a vision of filling a leadership void, to help programs like Cabrini Connections grow in all parts of the Chicago region.

Each year we have raised money from a variety of donors to help do this work. Montgomery Ward was our major donor and supporter, providing free space, utilities, etc. and an annual $40,000 grant, from 1993 through 2000. Since then we have rented space, and paid all of the utilities and operating expenses, costing nearly $70,000 per year.

In 2000 we reported income of more than $500,000 to support our work, including in-kind donations. Between 2001 and 2006, income has ranged from $350,000 to $375,000, which means we've been operating with much fewer resources (especially due to the deduction of expenses for rent/utilities each year).

Thanks to the help of many volunteers who have supported Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, we've continued to serve teens in Cabrini Green, and serve tutor/mentor programs throughout the Chicago region.

In 2007 our operating expenses were $380,601 (non audited). $152,114 was for the Cabrini Connectons tutor/mentor program. $147,119 was for the T/MC. $81,000 was for fund raising and general administrative expenses.

Thanks to several unexpected 4th quarter 2007 gifts, we were able to report revenue, including in-kind, of $475,380 this past year, nearly a $100,000 increase! The increases came in the form of an anonymous gift of $50,000 (to be spent on T/MC GIS/Program Locator work); a $30,000 grant from the SunTimes Marovitz Lawyers Lend A Hand to Youth Fund (to support T/MC); and an in-kind donation of $28,000 for work on the T/MC Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS).

While these donations provided the increase that propels us into 2008, more than 20 corporations and foundations provided gifts ranging from $1,000 to $30,000 and more than 300 individuals gave gifts ranging from $10 to $5,000. Among our corporate and foundation donors were:

2007 donors:­ The Chicago Department of Children and Youth ($40,400). HSBC North America ($30,000), SunTimes Marovitz Lawyers Lend A Hand ($35,000); The Polk Bros. Foundatio($25,000); The Circle of Service Foundation ($10,000 from 2006 challenge grant); Prologis Foundation, $10,000, BlueCrossBlue Shield of Illinois and McMaster-Carr Supply Company ($7,500 each); Hewitt Associates Foundation, $6,000; The Siragusa Foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, the Dr. Scholl Foundation, ($5,000 each). Deluxe Corporation, $4,000; Cabrini Connections was a beneficiary of the 2007 Kellogg Business School Manager¹s Ball, held in April ($10,400). The organization¹s annual golf benefit was held in July, with gross receipts of $61,000. Five event sponsors gave $5,000 each (Legacy Mortgage, Merrill Lynch Capital, Wintrust Financial, First Bank of Oak Park, and National City Mortgage).

We have already started 2008 with a major donation of more than $50,000 from the HSBC Global headquarters in London. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection was selected as one of six charities in the world who will receive an end of year grant given by the company in place of sending holiday cards.

The fund raising success we have is the result of the work of more than 100 volunteers, from the Cabrini Connections program, the Tutor/Mentor Connection, our Board of Directors, and our advisory council. While many reading this blog are aware of some of the volunteer roles with Cabrini Connections, I encourage you to visit our Technology Wiki and view the list of volunteers supporting the T/MC and our technology strategies.

Our success is also because many people who have been volunteers, leaders and donors in the past, are still making contributions to support us for the present and the future. Of our 2007 individual donors, 53 made their first contribution between 1993 and 1996. Three of our donors were volunteers with the Montgomery Ward program between 1973 and 1975 when I first became involved. Friends and family or many volunteers and directors have been donors and volunteers ever since we created Cabrini Connections.

You can review our 2006-07 Annual Report here. Once we've audited 2007 we'll create a similar report and put it on line.

Through the Internet my hope is that we can reach out to the 500 teens and 700 volunteers who have been part of Cabrini Connections since 1993, and we can reach further back to 1965 and reconnect some of the more than 4000 volunteers and 4000 youth who were part of the original Ward program from 1965 to 1992. This is a huge community of talent and potential leadership that we seek to mobilize to support volunteer-based tutor/mentor activities at Cabrini Connections, and throughout the city, state and country.

While the bulk of new 2008 funding will be directed to the Tutor/Mentor Connection, the result of this new funding will be more support for Cabrini Connections students and volunteers, as well as more support for tutor/mentor programs around the city, and in other places where leaders use our web site as a resource.

We are in the process of interviewing candidates for the Administrative Coordinator position, and have applied to have a 2008-09 Public Service Fellowship from Northwestern University (Nicole White is the 2007-08 fellow). I thank everyone who has contributed time and talent over the past year, and the past 15 years, to your efforts.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Thank you to Mentors

January is National Mentoring Month, and a time to thank all of the people who have been mentors to help others in the life journey.

At Cabrini Connections we have nearly 100 volunteers and each deserves thanks for the time they volunteer as tutors/mentors, leaders, fund raisers, board members. It takes this entire team to make a this program work, not just those on the front lines as one-on-one volunteers.

However, as you reflect on National Mentoring Month, I encourage you to read the mentoring stories on the MENTOR web site. Think about all of the people who have mentored you. Our volunteers have been mentored. Our alumni were mentored, and many continue to be mentored by the adults they met when they were young, and by others who they meet now.

Visit the Alumni Update links and you can read stories of former Cabrini Connections students. We'd like to build a list of stories, like on the MENTOR.org web site and can do that if student and alumni will take a moment to submit and article.

I spend several hours every day mentoring people who are trying to build programs similar to Cabrini Connections, as well as the business and professional and university leaders who could do more to support the growth of mentoring, as a career development process, if they were more strategic in the way they use their time, talent and organizational resources.

And, I'm mentored by many people, in Chicago and from around the world, who provide information, ideas, support and friendship.

Thus, we alll have someone to thank as we reflect on what National Mentoring Month means. A writing activity for this week's tutor/mentor sessions at Cabrini Connections might be working with your student to develop a joint essay to thank all of the people who have been mentors to each of you. You can post stories about your mentor on the National Mentoring web site, and you can submit them for this blog.

Happy Mentoring Month to all of you.

Dan Bassill
Cabrini Connections
Tutor/Mentor Connection