Foundations Put African-American Men and Boys on the Map, Report Finds

While nearly every major indicator of economic, social, and physical well-being shows that African-American men and boys do not have access to the opportunities they need to thrive, philanthropic support for black men and boys has risen steadily, from $10 million in 2003 to $29 million in 2010, a new report from the Foundation Center and Open Society Foundations finds.

According to the report, Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys (40 pages, PDF), education has been a top priority among foundations supporting African-American men and boys, garnering 40 percent of grant dollars between 2008 and 2010. "This report vividly portrays a stark reality that has haunted this country for far too long," said Foundation Center president Bradford Smith. "But it also provides solid data and compelling stories that illustrate what America's foundations are doing to turn the tide."

The report, which was commissioned by OSF's Campaign for Black Male Achievement, establishes baseline numbers against which future giving can be compared and describes several initiatives launched with philanthropic support to address structural barriers and improve the lives of African-American males nationwide. In New York City, for example, Open Society founder George Soros and Mayor Michael Bloomberg each contributed $30 million toward a local program aimed at improving the life outcomes of African-American and Latino males, while in California the Los Angeles-based California Community Foundation created the only major philanthropic initiative in the nation focused on African-American youth involved in the juvenile delinquency system.

"It is my hope that this report will motivate other philanthropists and foundations to invest in efforts to improve achievement by African-American men and boys," said Soros. "This is a generational problem that demands a long-term commitment."