The Skillman Foundation has announced a $2 million commitment in support of efforts to expand opportunity and improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color in Detroit as part of the White House's My Brother's Keeper initiative.
The commitment includes a two-year, $750,000 grant to the Campaign for Black Male Achievement — $500,000 of which will be dedicated to coordinating My Brother's Keeper projects in Detroit. Following the launch of the national initiative last February and the release of a Blueprint for Action (61 pages, PDF) by the My Brother's Keeper Task Force in May, Detroit became one of a hundred cities that took up the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge to implement a coherent cradle-to-career strategy at the local level to ensure that all youth have a chance to achieve their full potential.
"The success of Detroit is directly tied to its young people," said Detroit mayor Mike Duggan at a gathering to form a working group that will produce a joint report with policy recommendations within three months. "The My Brother's Keeper program is vital, especially in a city like Detroit that is 83 percent African American. With the president's leadership and the support of the Skillman Foundation, we will do our part to make sure Detroit youths have access to opportunities and the support they require to reach their full potential."
"We know that this is possible," said Skillman Foundation president and CEO Tonya Allen. "We've seen it happen in our neighborhoods, where graduation rates for African-American males have risen 15 percent since 2008. We have many strong partners working on these issues in Detroit. We need an alignment across agencies, neighborhoods, and programs — a shared urgency. Today is a big step toward that alignment. We have accepted Obama's challenge, and now the real work begins."