Tutor/Mentor Connection: Leaders in Nonprofit GIS!
I recently interviewed Dan Bassill, president and founder of Tutor/Mentor Connection, a well-respected organization in Chicago that provides extensive mentorship-related resources as well as an online community for tutor/mentor program educators, facilitators, fundraisers, policymakers, and other interested parties. Dan has long been a supporter of the use of GIS and online mapping in a nonprofit/community context, and T/MC was providing interactive online maps years before the "Mashup Explosion" of this decade.
A few parts of my interview with Dan really jumped out at me. Sometimes it can seem as if projects are making maps for the sake of making maps, but Dan is quite clear about the challenges of getting community organizations to properly use maps in support of their mission and the activities they pursue:
However, creating the maps is just one part of the T/MC mapping strategy. Finding ways to increase the number of people who actually use these maps to build better understandings of issues and broader collaborations among community assets (business, faith groups, colleges, hospitals, political, etc.) is a bit more challenging.
With T/MC maps in hand, community leaders, and individuals can then start looking for solutions. With a birds-eye view, they can visualize where tutor/mentor programs already operate in relation to poverty, crime, community assets, and poorly-performing schools. They can then analyze where community resources might come together to help students onto career paths, ultimately bringing money back into the impoverished community. In this way, our agenda offers a potential solution for people concerned about the news they see.
Check out the interview - the folks at T/MC are definitely all-stars in the use of nonprofit GIS and online mapping tools!