U.S. foundation funding in support of programs and organizations working to improve the life outcomes of African-American males totaled $45.6 million in 2013 — down from $64.6 million in 2012 — but increased to $61.4 million in 2014, a report from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) and Foundation Center finds.
According to the 2017 edition of Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys (36 pages, PDF), the fluctuations in funding explicitly designated to benefit African-American men and boys might be due, in part, to large grants awarded for targeted initiatives by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in 2012 and/or 2014. The report also found that support for boys and men of color as a broader population group — at least a portion of which likely benefited black men and boys — continued to grow steadily, from $42.5 million in 2012, to $50.9 million in 2013, to $62.7 million in 2014.
In terms of issue areas, the report found that education continued to receive the largest share of funding explicitly designated for black men and boys in 2013 and 2014 (56 percent of combined 2013-14 grant dollars), followed by human services (including youth development, 44 percent), and public safety (including legal services, 23 percent). And while program development was the most common support strategy (59 percent of grant dollars), 41 percent of the grant dollars tracked supported policy, advocacy, and systems reform — a significant share, given that only 13 percent of overall foundation grantmaking supported those strategies.
In addition, organizations in the South received 45 percent of 2013-14 grant dollars, up from 26 percent in 2012, followed by organizations in the West (24 percent), Northeast (23 percent), and the Midwest (8 percent). The largest funders during the period covered by the report were OSF, with $26.3 million, including $10 million in support of CBMA’s transition to an independent nonprofit; WKKF, with $17.9 million, including $15 million to the New Venture Fund to address the school-to-prison pipeline for black and Latino boys; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with $5.8 million, including support for its Forward Promise initiative, launched in 2012.
Based on interviews with foundation, nonprofit, and government leaders, the report also highlights foundation initiatives in support of black men and boys on the national, state, and local levels; organizations that have helped build the movement for black male achievement; and shared approaches, including efforts to change the narrative, investing in local communities, authentically engaging black men and boys and their communities, making an impact on policies and systems, and working intersectionally — for example, with movements aimed at improving outcomes for African-American girls and women, black communities broadly, and/or all communities of color.
"The philanthropic community has a crucial role to play in improving life outcomes of black men and boys and addressing the stark challenges they face in navigating the fine line between promise and peril," said Shawn Dove, chief executive of CBMA. "These findings demonstrate a hopeful continuation of investment across philanthropy and other sectors to advance black male achievement, as well as promising practices and strategies that cities across the country are using to reverse the disparities and inequities disproportionately impacting black males. We urge more philanthropic leaders to step forward and commit to supporting the great work happening at the policy level and on the ground to uplift black men and boys."