'My Brother's Keeper' Progress Report Outlines Cross-Sector Engagement

According to a new report, the My Brother's Keeper initiative launched by the White House in February 2014 to expand opportunity and improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color has made progress in all three of its focus areas.

Compiled by a White House-appointed task force, the One-Year Progress Report to the President (61 pages, PDF) details how the initiative has advanced efforts in the areas of state and local engagement, private-sector action, and federal policy review and reform. For instance, nearly two hundred cities, counties, and tribal nations in forty-three states have accepted the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge and, in partnership with community-based organizations, are working to design and implement cradle-to-college and career-action plans. Among other things, MBK Communities receive technical assistance to develop, implement, and track the progress of their plans from federal agencies and independent organizations with related expertise.

The report also highlights the actions that foundations, nonprofits, social enterprises, and businesses have taken to advance the initiative, with more than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources committed, including investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms, and school redesign. In addition, sixty-three school districts have signed on to the Council of the Great City Schools' pledge to improve educational outcomes for all students, including boys and young men of color. Recent actions also include a commitment of $13 million from Prudential to support technical assistance for MBK Communities as well as impact investments in social enterprises working to eliminate barriers to financial and social mobility, and an NBA public service campaign in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership aimed at recruiting twenty-five thousand new mentors over the next five years.

The report also found a greater focus by the federal government on investments in evidence-based interventions. They include the Department of Labor's American Apprenticeship Initiative and the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe, as well as public-private partnerships such as Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps, and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. In addition, the Departments of Education and Justice have issued Correctional Education guidance to help ensure that incarcerated youth have the full protection of existing laws and benefits, while other federal agencies have advanced efforts to collect quality data on boys and young men of color and their peers.