Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards $5 Million to Improve Health, Success Rates of Young Men of Color

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards $5 Million to Improve Health, Success Rates of Young Men of Color

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced grants totaling $5 million to ten organizations working to improve the health and success of boys and young men of color.

Awarded through the foundation's $9.5 million Forward Promise initiative, which was launched in 2012 to improve outcomes for African-American, Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and Native American boys and young men, grants of $500,000 over thirty months will be used to fund school discipline approaches that do not push students out of school, early interventions that focus on dropout prevention and increasing middle school retention and high school graduation rates, mental health solutions tailored to young men who have been exposed to violence and trauma, and career-training programs. The initiative also awarded a two-year, $700,000 grant to the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C., to promote federal, state, and local policies that yield sustainable gains for young men of color and remove systemic barriers to their success and well-being.

Studies have found that boys and young men of color are more likely to grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods, and attend schools that lack basic resources. According to RWJF, 44 percent of Latino males and 46 percent of African-American males do not have a high school diploma, while Latino youth are two times more likely and African-American youth are five times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system than their white counterparts.

"So much of our health is shaped by forces beyond the doctor's office that are rooted in where we live, learn, work, and play," said RWJF program officer Maisha Simmons. "Far too many boys and young men of color become disconnected from school and work opportunities, undermining their ability to live healthy lives and strengthen their communities."

For more information on the grantees, visit the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Web site.