Eleven Leading Philanthropies Announce Steps to Expand Opportunities for Young Men of Color

Posted June 5, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Newsrelease expandopportunitiesforymoc 2014

Rec­om­men­da­tions and ini­tial fund­ing com­mit­ments set stage for long-term effort to ensure suc­cess in health, edu­ca­tion and employment

Eleven of the nation’s lead­ing phil­an­thropies — includ­ing the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion — today announced a bold plan of action to max­i­mize the poten­tial of the pri­vate sec­tor to improve life out­comes for America’s boys and young men of col­or. The plan is bol­stered by $194 mil­lion in ini­tial invest­ments in key ini­tia­tives, includ­ing pro­grams to enhance school learn­ing envi­ron­ments and reduce the over­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of young peo­ple in the jus­tice sys­tem. These invest­ments build on exist­ing efforts by foun­da­tions to expand edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, increase access to tech­nol­o­gy and build path­ways to jobs and eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties in under­served communities.

The eleven foun­da­tions include Casey, The Atlantic Phil­an­thropies, Bloomberg Phil­an­thropies, The Cal­i­for­nia Endow­ment, Ford Foun­da­tion, John S. and James L. Knight Foun­da­tion, Kapor Cen­ter for Social Impact, Nathan Cum­mings Foun­da­tion, Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions, Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion and the W.K. Kel­logg Foundation.

We can­not reach our full moral and eco­nom­ic poten­tial as a coun­try if we do not change the tra­jec­to­ry [for our boys and young men of col­or],” reads the report enti­tled, A Time for Action: Mobi­liz­ing Phil­an­thropic Sup­port for Boys and Young Men of Col­or. To do so, we need not change our young peo­ple so much as change the way we engage and sup­port them.”

Read the exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry of A Time for Action

Auda­cious Goals and Bold Solutions

A Time for Action lays out a vision to increase oppor­tu­ni­ty for boys and young men of col­or and ben­e­fit the entire coun­try. While it focus­es on sys­tems, poli­cies and prac­tices to improve life out­comes for young men of col­or, the rec­om­mend­ed actions also help to cre­ate the con­di­tions for chil­dren and young adults to thrive, regard­less of race, eth­nic­i­ty or gender.

The report high­lights four key areas where col­lec­tive action by the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor will make the most sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence: health, edu­ca­tion, career and jus­tice. This includes cre­at­ing school envi­ron­ments to help boys and young men of col­or learn to their full poten­tial and stay on track to grad­u­ate, along with tools to help fam­i­lies pro­mote healthy devel­op­ment from an ear­ly age.

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. Our approach may be tar­get­ed, but our vision of oppor­tu­ni­ty will ben­e­fit all Amer­i­cans,” said Robert K. Ross, Pres­i­dent and CEO of The Cal­i­for­nia Endowment.

Rec­og­niz­ing how boys and young men of col­or make valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to the nation’s pros­per­i­ty, the plan also empha­sizes the impor­tance of advanc­ing a more accu­rate and pos­i­tive nar­ra­tive about boys and young men of col­or. It calls for end­ing the neg­a­tive por­tray­als and stereo­types that blame these young men when they face lim­it­ed options.

Oth­er focus areas high­light­ed by the foun­da­tions include: pro­mot­ing youth lead­er­ship and empow­er­ing young men to lead change in their own com­mu­ni­ties; mobi­liz­ing peo­ple, poli­cies and insti­tu­tions at the local com­mu­ni­ty lev­el to facil­i­tate place-based” sup­port of young peo­ple; and expand­ing the use of data and research to fos­ter inno­va­tion and spread the most effec­tive solutions.

Ini­tia­tives and Investments

To help real­ize their vision and put these rec­om­men­da­tions into action, var­i­ous mem­bers of this group of foun­da­tions will be col­lab­o­rat­ing on sev­er­al ini­tia­tives. The fol­low­ing ini­tial invest­ments are expect­ed to take place over the next three years and rep­re­sent the first stage in a long-term phil­an­thropic com­mit­ment to invest in solu­tions that pos­i­tive­ly change the lives of boys and young men of color: 

  • Mak­ing All Com­mu­ni­ties Places of Oppor­tu­ni­ty: More than $21 mil­lion to cre­ate a pool of match­ing funds to help local com­mu­ni­ties reduce dis­par­i­ties and improve life out­comes for boys and young men of col­or.
  • Cre­at­ing Safe, Sup­port­ive, and Engag­ing Learn­ing Envi­ron­ments in All Schools: $55 mil­lion to accel­er­ate efforts to reduce sus­pen­sions, expul­sions, school-based arrests, and juve­nile courtre­fer­rals in ele­men­tary and sec­ondary pub­lic schools and in pre-schools.
  • Rethink­ing Jus­tice for Young Adults: Over $81 mil­lion to pro­mote reforms in the juve­nile and crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to reduce the unnec­es­sary con­fine­ment of young men of color.
  • Ele­vat­ing New Nar­ra­tives for Boys and Men of Col­or: More than $26 mil­lion to pro­mote pos­i­tive and healthy nar­ra­tives that affirm the val­ue of all young peo­ple, includ­ing young men of color.
  • Invest­ing in Field-Build­ing, Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment and Move­ment-Build­ing: Over $11 mil­lion to make the Cam­paign for Black Male Achieve­ment (CBMA) an inde­pen­dent enti­ty that can serve as a mod­el for how to build capac­i­ty and lead­er­ship to bet­ter sup­port young men of color.

Look­ing Ahead

In the com­ing months, the foun­da­tions plan to share more research and rec­om­men­da­tions for how gov­ern­ment, cor­po­rate lead­ers, non­prof­it groups and the phil­an­thropic com­mu­ni­ty can work togeth­er to secure a stronger, health­i­er future for boys and young men of col­or. They also will pur­sue addi­tion­al pri­vate, local, state and fed­er­al part­ner­ships to improve the poli­cies and sys­tems that can have the great­est impact in improv­ing out­comes for our young men and their families.

As lead­ers and car­ing adults, we have an impor­tant role to play in cul­ti­vat­ing the curios­i­ty and tal­ent of our young peo­ple and remov­ing the obsta­cles that stand in their way,” said Patrick McCarthy, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. By help­ing our young peo­ple reach their full poten­tial, we as a nation can reach ours.”

The Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions is pleased that Damon Hewitt, a senior advi­sor at the Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions, served as the project leader of a team of staffers from all 11 foun­da­tions to devel­op this impor­tant report and its recommendations.

This was a grat­i­fy­ing effort to see all 11 foun­da­tions come togeth­er to do some­thing that could be trans­for­ma­tive,” Hewitt said. This is an impor­tant first step on a much longer journey.”

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