The competition seeks to boost the impact of community-based solutions that have been effective in improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color while building the capacity of communities to expand opportunity. In March, the alliance will send a request for proposals to the nearly two hundred and fifty communities that accepted President Barack Obama's 2014 MBK Community Challenge. Communities applying through the RFP process will be asked to choose an evidence-based model related to youth violence prevention or mentoring that they would like to replicate or scale over the next two years, and the winning communities will be provided with experts to support planning, implementation, and infrastructure development. Selected organizations in those communities also will be able to access matching funds to hire a full-time local project lead and receive planning grants of up to $500,000 to jump-start initiatives, build their capacity, and attract additional resources and partners.
More than $1 million of the nearly $4 million the alliance plans to invest in the effort will be earmarked for Chicago, where a local nonprofit will be selected as part of the inaugural competition cohort. Other Chicago nonprofits will be eligible for mini-grants of up to $50,000, and the alliance will work with city and community leaders to strengthen the overarching work of MBK in the city.
"Four years ago, President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper initiative and, since then hundreds of communities have stepped up and shown up for their boys and young men of color in extraordinary ways," said Michael D. Smith, director of MBK Alliance and Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundations. "We are excited to let these communities know the Obama Foundation remains committed to their success and provide some tools and resources to help them accelerate the pace of impact and inspire action nationwide."