The writer is vice president of customer service and public affairs at OPPD. He is a board member of Partnership 4 Kids.
In what charitable work could you invest the equivalent of $1 today and expect a social return on investment down the road of approximately $18?
According to study results published recently by the Boston Consulting Group in Canada, the answer is mentoring programs.
The mentees in the study were forecast to make significantly more income, pay more taxes, give more charitably and develop life skills and “personal well-being” at levels unmatched by peers who did not have mentors in childhood.
It’s the kind of collective impact hoped for by individuals and nonprofit organizations willing to join forces in issue- specific networks like the Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP), especially when program funding aimed at reversing the cycle of poverty is at its own premium.
It is time for our community to focus our efforts more intentionally. In our effort to improve educational outcomes for Omaha children raised in poverty, we need strong community support for the change agents and for the research-based solutions.
The Midlands Mentoring Partnership umbrella organization is in a unique position to initiate creative problem-solving through a larger network of nonprofits working together to make a powerful impact on young lives.
Their collective work was on display recently at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce when 12 nonprofits jointly announced plans to pool resources to recruit 500 new mentors in Omaha over the next three months.
One of the most exciting parts of this collaboration is that it is not only the nonprofits stepping up to tackle a complex social problem. The ambitious campaign to recruit mentors also is supported by the business community through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and the policy-making community by Mayor Jean Stothert, City Council members, state legislators and public school board members.
David Brown, president and CEO of the chamber, said it well at the event when he described how, in Omaha alone, lost earnings from high school dropouts total $494 million and lost tax revenues total $186 million. He added that mentoring increases a youth’s likelihood of having good school attendance, receiving a high school diploma and continuing to postsecondary education.
The key question now is: What can we do as a diverse community of talented people to help realize these collective impact efforts?
Here’s an answer: We can decide now to give four hours a month to change someone’s life. Then we can call a committed organization of our choosing such as MMP, 100 Black Men of Omaha Inc., Ally Mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, Girls Inc. of Omaha, Hope Center for Kids, Kids Can Community Center, Ollie Webb Center Inc., Partnership 4 Kids, TeamMates Mentoring Program, Release Ministries and Youth Emergency Services, and make it happen.
Go to MentorOmahaNow.org today, click on Mentoring Programs, find the one that’s right for you and join us.