Newly spun off by the Open Society Foundations, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement has announced new initiatives in support of organizations working to improve life outcomes for African-American boys and young men.
Marking its official launch as an independent leadership organization on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at an event in Detroit, CBMA announced partnerships to connect skilled volunteers to organizations in the field, match African-American youth with mentors, and bolster the capacity of CBMA members. With support from the Skillman Foundation and Root Cause, for instance, the campaign is working with online skills-based volunteer platform Catchafire to launch CBMA.Catchafire.org, through which Detroit-based CBMA members can post their project needs and access Catchafire's network of twenty-five thousand registered volunteers. Catchafire and CBMA aim to complete a hundred projects in Detroit by the end of 2015 while expanding the program to other cities.
In addition, on Monday the campaign launched "MLK Mentor Day," a joint initiative with the National Cares Mentoring Movement and the Black Star Project to offer high-quality mentorship opportunities and support for young African-American males in cities across the U.S. and Canada. The effort is part of a broader strategy aimed at ensuring that fifty thousand African-American boys are in safe, structured mentoring relationships by year's end.
Established in 2008 as an initiative of OSF, the campaign has teamed with foundation and nonprofit partners to launch the Institute for Black Male Achievement; created the Black Male Achievement Fellowship with Echoing Green; was instrumental in paving the way for the White House's My Brother's Keeper initiative; seeded the creation of Cities United to engage mayors in developing policies and programs aimed at reducing violent deaths among African-American males; and helped launch BMe Community.
"[T]he field of black male achievement is stronger today than it has ever been and will require greater support to maximize the opportunities before us," Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO Shawn Dove said in a letter to the field. "CBMA will now implement the activities of the Institute for Black Male Achievement with a primary focus on building capacity, communicating strategically to help shift national and global narratives around black men and boys, and expanding our network in ways that will more deeply connect and support leaders and organizations like you to be successful."