Foundations and nonprofits are generating innovative solutions to improve life outcomes and decrease disparities for Black men and boys. The case studies presented here highlight strategies, successes, and lessons learned.
Kapor Center for Social Impact & College Access Foundation of California: Bay Area Students Are College-Bound
The goal of the College Bound Brotherhood is to increase the college readiness, enrollment, and graduation of African-American young men in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Brotherhood is a partnership between the Kapor Center for Social Impact and the College Access Foundation of California.
Since the Brotherhood initiative was launched at the Kapor Center (formerly the Mitchell Kapor Foundation) in 2008, it has had three components: 1) grantmaking to college readiness organizations (mostly after-school programs); 2) a free, searchable online database listing Bay Area college readiness programs; and 3) two annual events, a conference to educate and prepare young Black men and their families for college and a ceremony for any graduating Black male student in the Bay Area attending college in the fall.
In its latest incarnation, unveiled in 2013, the Brotherhood will additionally initiate a learning community of college readiness practitioners and educators, a scholarship fund for college-bound African-American males, tech tools and resources, and alumni/college persistence tracking.
Strengths and Successes
- The College Bound Brotherhood has a strong network of around 150 college readiness and educational enrichment programs, which are listed in its online directory for easy access.
- The initiative receives regular input from young Black males through its Brotherhood Leadership Advisory Council—a cohort of 17 young Black men—to inform its program work.
- As a partnership between a smaller family foundation and a statewide education funder, the Brotherhood is able to make an impact at the local level, while also being connected to the broader national movement of Black male achievement.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
- Grant partners, particularly those that are Black community-focused and led, have a difficult time getting support from larger, more traditional philanthropic institutions. The Brotherhood’s model provides seed funding for exemplary core members, with the goal of leveraging that support so that other funders can join in the work. The Brotherhood also provides in-depth advising resources to the learning community to help build organizational development.
- There are many facets to promoting Black male achievement. Through the Brotherhood, the Kapor Center and College Access Foundation have chosen to focus on college degree attainment, recognizing that it is just one slice of a larger issue.
- Initially it was difficult for the Kapor Center to lead efforts to form a learning community among grant recipients because of an innate funder-recipient power imbalance. The two partner foundations are now working with an intermediary organization, the Marcus Foster Education Fund, to facilitate the learning community of peers.