Foundations Announce Plan to Expand Opportunity for Young Men of Color

Foundations Announce Plan to Expand Opportunity for Young Men of Color

Working in parallel with My Brother's Keeper, a White House initiative designed to expand opportunity for boys and young men of color, eleven philanthropic organizations have announced a plan of action for the private sector to work with the public sector to achieve that vision.

Outlined in a report entitled A Time for Action: Mobilizing Philanthropic Support for Boys and Young Men of Color (executive summary, 12 pages, PDF), the plan is supported by $194 million in initial investments from the California Endowment, Atlantic and Bloomberg philanthropies, and the Annie E. Casey, Ford, Knight, Nathan Cummings, Robert Wood Johnson, Kellogg, and Open Society foundations, along with the Kapor Center for Social Impact. The report identifies barriers to success for young men of color in four key areas — health, education, employment, and the juvenile and criminal justice systems — and offers recommendations for dismantling those barriers, as well as cross-sector strategies for promoting youth leadership and empowering young men to effect change in their own communities; changing harmful stereotypes about boys and young men of color; facilitating "place-based" efforts to support young people; and building a "pipeline" of data, research, and innovation to advance the most effective solutions.

Key initiatives and funding partnerships announced in the plan include $21 million in initial investments to create a pool of matching funds to help local communities reduce disparities and improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color; $55 million over three years to accelerate efforts to reduce suspensions, expulsions, school-based arrests, and juvenile court-referrals; $81 million to promote comprehensive reforms in the juvenile and criminal justice system aimed at reducing the disproportionate and unnecessary use of confinement; $26 million to promote positive and healthy narratives for and about boys and men of color and to minimize the effects of implicit bias; and $11 million to spin off the Campaign for Black Male Achievement with the aim of having it serve as a model and intermediary for additional field building.

The President's Task Force on My Brother's Keeper released its own blueprint for action at the end of May in which it outlined a set of initial recommendations for the White House.

"We cannot afford to leave a generation of young people behind, especially when we know there are solutions that are within our reach and that could make a meaningful and lasting difference," said Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of the California Endowment. "Our approach may be targeted, but our vision of opportunity will benefit all Americans."