New Initiative Launched to Expand Opportunities for African-American Boys

The California Community Foundation has announced the launch of a multimillion-dollar initiative to expand educational and employment opportunities for African-American teenage boys in Los Angeles.

Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Black Men (BLOOM) will support youth between the ages of 14 and 18 through a four-pronged approach: job and educational programs that expose African-American teen boys to new and interesting vocational and educational paths; grants to community-based organizations serving African-American boys; communications that help foster a more positive environment in which African-American teens are respected, encouraged, and treated as potential assets in the community; and advocacy to address unfair practices that result in too many African-American teen boys becoming entangled in the criminal justice system.

Funding, job opportunities, and other support for youth will be contributed by a variety of other partners, including the Automobile Club of Southern California, Operation HOPE, and the James Irvine, Union Bank, and the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation.

CCF also announced the inaugural round of grants through the initiative. Grant recipients include the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, Community Coalition, the Los Angeles Urban League, Youth Justice Coalition, and Youth Mentoring Connection.

"BLOOM is new and bold, and it's overdue," said Carl Ballton, president and CEO of the Union Bank Foundation. "The initiative aims to begin improving education and job options — normal opportunities for most L.A. residents — for one of the most vulnerable, misunderstood, and underachieving segments of residents: Black teenage boys who have had a run-in with the legal system."

"Los Angeles' Community Foundation Announces Bold, New Initiative for Black Male Youth." California Community Foundation Press Release 05/03/2012.