Amidst current racial tensions in the United States and the ever-shifting social and political landscape, the report analyzes foundation funding explicitly targeted to improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys. The report also examines strategies and milestones in the field of Black male achievement and how philanthropy can build on this work for stronger coordination and greater impact.
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
312 Sutter Street, #606
San Francisco, CA 94108
Louisville Stands Up for Black Male Achievement
By Anthony Smith, Director for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, City of Louisville, KY
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” — Muhammad Ali
Louisville is proud to have been the host city for Open Society Foundations’ Rumble Young Man, Rumble convening for the past four years. Shawn Dove, CEO for Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) selected Louisville because we are the hometown of the greatest of all time — Muhammad Ali and the Muhammad Ali Center. Ali’s six core principles and the mission and vision of the Ali Center aligned perfectly with the goals for the Rumble Young Man, Rumble gatherings. In the spirit of Ali, Louisville is uniquely positioned to courageously accept Shawn Dove’s challenge to become the epicenter for Black Male Achievement.
The RYMR convening has served as the building block for Louisville’s Black Male Achievement movement. Since March 2013, local leaders have been have engaged in at times difficult conversations about what it means to be a Black male in our city and what changes need to be made to ensure every young Black man and boy has the support and tools needed to achieve their goals. The conversation started when we decided to respond to the National League of Cities’ request for proposals for “City Leadership to Promote Black Male Achievement.” Our Mayor, Greg Fischer, was invited to join Cities United, a national partnership to eliminate violent-related deaths of African-American males. Mayor Fischer was also an early acceptor of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and has hosted community meetings to talk about the importance of this initiative.
We have been able to use our involvement in these national initiatives and the backdrop of the RYMR to create the Louisville Cities United Collaboration (LCUC) — a collaborative of over 60 community and faith-based organizations working to reduce violent-related deaths of African-American males, increase educational and employment outcome for young Black men and boys, and change the narrative — we want folks to know their whole story. The Louisville Urban League, Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, and the Mayor’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods provide leadership for the LCUC.
Out of this collaborative, we have created a place based strategy called “Zones of Hope”. Zones of Hope are designed to restore a sense of place and connection for some of Louisville’s most “disconnected” neighborhoods, families, and young Black men and boys. Zones of Hope are built on four core objectives:
HEART: Family & Community Wellness (Healthy in all aspects, participation on every level)
Increase involvement of young Black males within the family unit and the community on all levels
Improve economic, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, social health on family & community level
Cultivate the concepts of compassion, common humanity, and life affirming associations, and the belief in positive outcomes
Engage with neighborhood churches/houses of worship to offer services to single mothers who are raising young males who need mentors/role models
HEAD: Academic Readiness & Achievement (K-12, post-secondary and beyond)
Increase Black male involvement in the educational process as parents, educators and mentors
Increase school readiness and academic excellence among Black males
Increase number of Black males pursuing and acquiring post-secondary training and education
Decrease the number of Black males experiencing disciplinary school exclusion through suspension
Establish learning centers in 10 neighborhood churches/houses of worship
HANDS: Career Readiness as a Life Investment (Developing expertise that has market value)
Increase employment rate among Black males
Provide opportunities to expose young Black males to various workforce environments
Create more “second chance” employment initiatives for those with felony backgrounds
Create culture of recognizing and appreciating one’s own skills, creativity and talents and the value those talents
Perfecting skills and talents
HOPE: Restorative Justice (Mending community harm, reinstating pathways to balance and prosperity)
Promote responsibility but adopt more non-punitive methods, focusing on prevention and restorative justice
Coordinate and align “re-entry” with diversity in rehabilitation (jobs, avenues for artistic expression, etc.)
Enhance job readiness via volunteer training opportunities, corporate partnerships, etc.
Work with neighborhood churches/houses of worship to pursue alternative sentencing programs and services for young juveniles
Additional highlights from 2014 include:
Launched Zones of Hope in September. During our Weekend of Hope, supported by Casey Family Programs, over 300 people learned about our new program. Since the launch, we have hosted monthly meetings in each Zone.
Received a $226,400 grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation to build out our Zones of Hope
Co-hosted Rumble Young Man Rumble IV. This was Open Society’s 4th year hosting this in Louisville at the Ali Center.
Hosted a Zones of Hope Holiday Feast at Baxter Community Center, where about 200 people came out. This will be an annual event.
Expanded the “Street Academy” from one to four schools, increasing boys served from 25 to 100
Hosted ACT Boot Camps, College Application, and Financial Aid/FAFSA workshops
Hosted two “Take What You Can Tote” events in partnership with the 15th District PTA and the Mayor’s Office, targeting Zones of Hope neighborhoods. Over 850 families were served.
In partnership with KentuckianaWorks, created “Coding @ the Beech”, a 15-week coding class for high school boys of color from the Russell and other Zones of Hope neighborhoods
We have seen progress as we work to create better outcomes for our young Black men and boys, but we know there is much more work to be done. In 2015 we must create more opportunities for them to engaged and informed, and we must find more resources to continue to build out our efforts.
When we say Louisville will be the epicenter for Black Male Achievement, it does not mean that we believe we have it all together. It means that we are willing to share what we know in a safe space that will create opportunities to improve our efforts in ways that create better opportunities and outcomes for our young Black men and boys.