CBMA reached a historic milestone, its 10-year anniversary. Originally launched as an three-year initiative of the Open Society Foundations, CBMA is now a nonprofit organization accelerating investments in Black men and boys.
Writes CEO Shawn Dove: “It is a challenge to embrace a celebratory mindset when I consider the paradox of promise and peril still facing America’s Black men and boys. Yes, we have come a long way, but what has gotten us here will not get us there. ‘There’ being our ability to point to a country that lives up to its ideals and is able to declare that it is a Promise of Place where Black men and boys, and all communities of color, are not merely surviving but thriving.”
New Report Finds Increased Investment on Black Male Achievement in Cities Around the Country
Index Scores 50 Cities on Promise, Action Steps
New York, NY – Today, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) released a new report that finds cities have increased investment and action to support Black men and boys in cities across the U.S. Promise of Place: Building Beloved Communities for Black Men and Boys gauges city-level commitment to Black males through a Black Male Achievement City Index, which scores 50 cities according to their promise in helping Black men and boys succeed, and outlines clear action steps to make further strides.
“As CBMA celebrates a decade of working to uplift Black men and boys as assets to our communities and our country, we issued this report to track city-level commitment, investment and action to advance Black Male Achievement,” said Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO Shawn Dove. “CBMA’s core mission is to elevate the local leaders and hometown heroes that are driving this important work forward in their cities. With the field updates, promising strategies, and models of courageous leadership presented in Promise of Place, we are encouraged and emboldened even as we recognize there is still much more to do in improving life outcomes and opportunities for our Black men and boys.”
The second edition Promise of Place finds that, even as support at the national level is eliminated or scaled back, cities are leading the way to champion Black Male Achievement. The new report finds 62 percent higher level of engagement for advancing Black male achievement across all 50 cities included in the index. Detroit and Washington, D.C. remain the two highest scored cities with a score of 95 while Jackson, MS, Seattle, WA, Omaha, NE, and Mobile, AL had the greatest progression in scores since 2015. Cities not captured in the first report—such as Denver, CO, and Yonkers, NY—have since become highly engaged in leading Black Male Achievement efforts.
“We need every resident in every city to thrive,” said Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO. “We will not succeed if we find it acceptable to leave young men, young boys, or anybody behind. In Denver, we have scaled our investments in young men of color as part of My Brother’s Keeper or MBK. We share the vision of the MBK Alliance to make the American Dream available to all boys and young men of color by eliminating gaps in their opportunities and outcomes.”
Increased engagement and support is critical to counter the challenges Black men and boys continue to face compared to other demographic groups. For example, Black men born in 2001 have a 1 in 3 likelihood of imprisonment compared to a 1 in 9 chance of all men; 25 percent of Black children do not graduate high school on time, compared to the national average of 17 percent.
“Homicides remain the leading cause of death for Black males. Violence doesn’t just harm young Black men and boys—violence inflicts trauma on entire families, neighborhoods, and communities,” said Anthony Smith, Executive Director, Cities United. “City-led approaches are needed to reduce the barriers that Black men and boys face and build safe, healthy, and hopeful communities for everyone. We are encouraged by the widespread city-level engagement captured in the new Promise of Place report.”
The new report spotlights high-scoring cities and “Building Block” cities that represent model policies and practices as well as cities on the horizon—municipalities beginning to scale up their investment in Black men and boys. Cities were scored on: demographics; city-led commitment to Black men and boys; membership in the CBMA national network; local presence of national initiatives focused on Black men and boys; and level of philanthropic funding in this sector going to support local organizations.
Browse the Index, interactive national map, and download scorecards for all 50 cities, and
Learn what cities can do to improve life outcomes for Black men and boys.
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN FOR BLACK MALE ACHIEVEMENT:
Established in 2008 as an initiative of the Open Society Foundations, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) is a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys. In 2015, CBMA spun off from the Open Society Foundations as an independent entity that, through a national community of over 5,200 members and 2,700 organizations, empowers and connects local leaders and organizations to share knowledge, resources, and best practices to strengthen the field of Black Male Achievement. Learn More at cbma.org.
See their 2016 Impact Report, which “does not claim results on population-level indicators, but instead tells the story of what our foundations are doing to get there and how they are doing it,” writes executive director Damon T. Hewitt.
“Using key metrics and stakeholder interviews, we profile some notable collaborations and identify the lessons our network and the BMOC field can take into 2017 and beyond—a period we now know will be more challenging than any in recent memory.”
For many foundations, collaboration is key to advocating for policy and practice change. But these kinds of partnerships can be challenging to execute well. “Sticking points,” like conflicts over decision-making power or competition for resources, can derail advocacy-focused efforts and make even the most earnest collaborator wary.
Foundation Center, in partnership with the Atlas Learning Project, recently launched a suite of resources about advocacy funder collaboratives. Built from the wisdom of grantmakers with deep experience in these kinds of collaboratives, the GrantCraft content and IssueLab special collection examine what makes an effective advocacy collaborative and offer ways to overcome sticking points to maximize the potential for success.
The GrantCraft series consists of bite-sized articles based on interviews with experienced funders and includes topics like “What Are the Benefits of Being Part of an Advocacy Collaborative” and “Sticking Points: Personality Conflicts.” IssueLab’s special collection brings together 40+ reports and reflection pieces about multi-party advocacy efforts.
Fourteen local leaders have been selected for a new six-month pilot program to help build the capacity of nonprofits working on behalf of boys and men of color in several counties across Georgia — including Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale.
The Boys and Men of Color Executive Director Collaboration Circle is a joint effort by the Casey Foundation and Foundation Center South to help local leaders build partnerships, network and secure additional funding to develop educational and economic opportunities for this historically challenged population.
“We need to move from identifying the challenges boys and men of color face, to cultivating leaders who are willing to step up and address them,” said Kweku Forstall, who leads Casey’s work in Atlanta. “We hope the Circle will be an avenue for participants to evaluate promising approaches and advocate for much needed changes to the public policies and systems that have kept us from investing in boys and men of color as the assets they are — here in Georgia, and across the nation.”
Casey’s Changing the Odds report highlights many of the barriers boys and men of color face and the root causes in Atlanta, including:
a history of segregation in public housing and zoning;
under-resourced schools and poor learning environments; and
the unequal distribution of jobs and career opportunities.
“Nonprofits supporting boys and men of color often tackle these complex barriers with tight budgets, small teams and limited opportunities for staff to learn, grow and regroup from the many demands that are common to the field,” said Utoia Gabby Wooten from the Foundation Center. “However, we are optimistic that with the right supports behind them, these leaders will breathe new life into Atlanta and help more boys and men of color navigate through life successfully.”
The executive leaders will meet monthly for interactive work sessions to develop strategies for engaging the philanthropic sector and generating revenue, and to create collaborative, community-based programming to close the persistent racial and equity gaps that exist in Atlanta.
The participants will also get the chance to present their collaborative projects to potential funders and compete for a grant of at least $25,000 to pilot their concept beginning in fall 2017.
IssueLab’s new special collection on Race and Policing includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university-based research centers across the U.S., who are taking a closer look at evidence about racial bias in stop-and-frisk policies, traffic stops, and the use of force, as well as at data about differing perceptions of policing.
The collection also includes recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem, including: how to restore trust between police and the community, the efficacy of body cameras, and the need for more accurate and comparable data that can be used to hold police departments to account.
Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing.
It provides detailed findings about what boys and young men of color need in order to help them overcome the challenges and obstacles they face in their day-to-day lives. The report highlights the voices of young men in Oakland, New York City, Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Detroit as they opened up and shared what is on their minds and in their hearts. Among other things, the report focuses on four main areas:
Values: This section explores the personal values of low-income, urban African-American males and the obstacles they face (real or perceived).
Success and Optimal Health: This section aims to understand how African-American males define success, optimal health (physical, emotional, mental, etc.), and understand what they need in order to thrive, rather than merely survive.
Competition/Winning/Skills and Creative Talents: This section aims to understand how African-American males define and value competition. They talked about their personal talents and abilities and how those helped them compete in life.
Existing Resources for African-American Males: African-American males discussed the quantity and quality of resources available to them, both via online/digital tools and in their respective home communities.
Video from the event Unlocking Communities: Ending Mass Incarceration in America.
The path to prison does not begin the moment a crime is committed. For boys and young men of color, the risk of incarceration exists at nearly every stage of life. For example, in some school districts, high school dropout rates are as high as 50 percent for these young men; those dropouts are 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their same-age peers who hold a four-year college degree. Yet our national discourse has not met the growing need to change how we talk about those who live behind bars—and how we as a nation have failed them.
Nearly 2.3 million Americans are currently in prison, and the Prison Policy Initiative reports that nearly 80 percent of them are Black and Latino males—despite making up only 15 percent of the U.S. population. We are at a pivotal moment at which issues of race and criminal justice are inextricably linked in recent headlines. Upon examining the stories of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, or Freddie Gray, and the nameless, faceless young men who don’t make the headlines, one can see that during these young men’s tragically short lifetimes, they were at risk of imprisonment at nearly any moment.
It is in our interest as a nation not only to prevent heartbreaking deaths like these in the future but also to develop a holistic approach to improving the lives of millions of young men just like them. Incarceration is a symptom of a larger disease that is prevalent both before and after arrest and imprisonment occur. Our collective efforts must begin in early childhood, upon entering school, and continue through adolescence to first see these young men as the true assets to this nation that they are and then to support their completion of advanced education, and on through their successful entry into the workforce.
This brings us to what we can do to get there. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a non-profit that we are both heavily involved in, aims to close numerous achievement gaps and disparities in opportunity for boys and young men of color through partnerships with both the private and public sectors. While the Alliance focuses on these supports and interventions from cradle to career, one key recommendation within our larger approach includes offering a second chance to those who have been imprisoned. That will mean providing guidelines to businesses on attracting, hiring, and training boys and young men who are at risk of imprisonment or recidivism.
We will seek the support of the business community to make the rate of imprisonment commensurate with the crimes that are allegedly committed. This will drive the incarceration rate among this population down below the current national average and will ultimately impact 25,000 lives in the process.
These interventions and supports also foster improvement within our nation’s larger economic landscape and social structures. Closing racially-divided income gaps could boost the GDP by up to $2.1 trillion. Improved racial inclusion would boost financial performance in every region of the country, with estimated metro GDP gains ranging from $287 million to $510 billion per year.
Needless to say, mass incarceration is about much more than dollars and cents. We must focus our efforts on understanding and alleviating the circumstances that bring people—particularly young people of color—to imprisonment, and the circumstances they too often face after their time is served.
As described by Charlene Sinclair of the Poverty Initiative during a recent event at the Aspen Institute titled Unlocking Communities: Ending Mass Incarceration in America, “we need an economy that’s built on flourishing people.” In other words, we need an economy that provides equal opportunity for all rather than one that varies based on the circumstances into which an individual is born.
At the launch of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance on May 4, President Barack Obama said it best: “What it comes down to is whether we love these kids. Beyond the dollar amounts and statistics, we risk losing out on the incredible potential of those that may not have been set up for success, or have made a mistake along the way.”
Today, we have a timely opportunity to address the issue of mass incarceration and the critical role of race in our incarcerated population and prison system at large. We must maximize this historic moment in our nation to shift the discourse and resources toward what we must do to prevent and rectify this systemic plague.
That work must begin with each of us believing that we are, in fact, our brothers’ keepers.
Scott Budnick is the founder and president of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles and a film producer. He sits on the California Board of State and Community Corrections, California Community Colleges Board of Governors, and is an Advisory Council member for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.
Shawn Dove serves on the MBK Alliance Advisory Council and is the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys.
The Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) launched a report that tracks and analyzes Black Male Achievement work taking place in cities across the U.S. The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement unveils the BMA City Index, which scores a city’s level of engagement and committed action helping Black men and boys reach their full potential. The report is the first step in a comprehensive strategy by CBMA to advance Black Male Achievement in cities across the country.
Along with the BMA Life Outcomes Dashboard, the report provides key baseline data for cities across the country to help accelerate tangible improvements in life outcomes for Black males. The report also outlines clear action steps to help cities make further strides toward responding to the needs of our men and boys.
The 50 cities selected in the inaugural BMA City Index represent 12 large, 18 mid-sized, and 20 small cities. These cities are collectively home to more than 5.5 million Black men and boys, representing more than 30 percent of all Black men and boys in the United States.
As Shawn Dove states in the report, “To use a financial investment analogy, I would emphasize that this report should be viewed more as a prospectus that shows the future promise and potential return to society from making Black Male Achievement investments in cities, rather than a past earnings report on what cities have accomplished to date. We are simply not there yet. While there are pockets of promise across the country, no city is yet in a position where it can claim victory for its work improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys.”
From Ferguson, Missouri to Staten Island, New York, from Baltimore, Maryland to Charleston, South Carolina, the highly publicized killings of Black men and boys have brought new attention to issues of race and racism in the United States. These events have helped fuel the growing #BlackLivesMatter movement, highlighting the urgency of supporting Black communities broadly, while also lifting up the issues faced by Black men and boys in particular.
In this historic moment, it is more critical than ever to understand what philanthropy is doing (and can do) to support Black men and boys. This event will feature highlights from a new report published by Foundation Center and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The report examines the philanthropic funding landscape for Black men and boys, including trends, activities that are being supported, and active foundations in the field.
A panel discussion among Bay Area foundation leaders will follow, lifting up local efforts to support Black men and boys, lessons learned, and future directions for this work.
Fred Blackwell, CEO, San Francisco Foundation
Cedric Brown, Chief of Community Engagement, Kapor Center for Social Impact
Shawn Dove, CEO, Campaign for Black Male Achievement
James W. Head, President and CEO, East Bay Community Foundation
Seema Shah, Director of Research for Special Projects, Foundation Center
Foundation Center San Francisco
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