Mentors for Charities Special Pilot Program

  • The Mentors for Charities project was developed by Dr. Patrick Caragata, a former Board and club member of the Rotary Club of Brisbane, over a three year period beginning in early 2013.
  • Caragata is the founder of Rapid Ratings International in New York City, a software-based global risk ratings, analytics and research firm that produce s ratings for thousands of firms in 110 countries.
  • His motivation was that there is a large hole in the centre of the social infrastructure for each community as a result of the gradual erosion of the influence of religion, religious organisations, extended and nuclear families, and neighbourhoods over the past 50 years. This is compounded by constraints on government donations to charities given fiscal deficits.
  • The result has been more human suffering that is not being attended to or adequately attended to, including suicides, drug and alcohol addiction, single parent families struggling with their burdens, families struggling with special needs children, street kids with no hand-up etc
  • These obstacles to building better social capital in communities and, and in its absence, to preventing their distressing consequences, are daunting, but effective efforts can be made to help in addressing them if the business community, through Rotary Clubs, offers effective assistance.
  • Amidst the competition among charities for funding assistance there will be many winners and many losers. Many of the losers are smaller charities that provide valuable services but which are not good at presenting their case or competing against larger charities for available funding. This presents many opportunities for Rotary.

 

Constructing a Mentors for Charities Programbestlife_foundation

The key ingredients or steps in our development of the program were:

  • Extensive discussions with charities, universities, senior government officials and ministers to talk about problems the weakness of social capital to help the needy
  • The identification of core objectives: to enhance the efficiency and productivity of struggling charities by offering competent insights about potential opportunities for improvement
  • Careful development of the core messages
  • A slow and careful effort to explain to club members the objectives of the program
  • The identification of acceptable, needy charities by an independent authority so that there are no conflicts of interest (in our case the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust provided valuable referrals)
  • The willingness of the charities to invite Rotary in to assistaunties_uncles_qld
  • Competent managerial talent among Club members
  • Extensive discussions with two charities selected by the Mayor’s office from a long list
  • A request to each charity to present a summary of their strengths, weaknesses, needs and opportunities
  • A conference at which all the charities were introduced to the Rotary Club of Brisbane and to Rotaract members and then made presentations
  • A request for mentor volunteers from the Rotary Club of Brisbane to lead a team to review the charity
  • Extensive discussions with Rotaract Rivercity (http://www.rotaractrivercity.org/contact/) of Brisbane