Increasingly, foundations are partnering with local, state, and federal government to address the challenges facing Black men and boys. These cross-sector partnerships leverage resources and raise awareness to advance policies and create initiatives that benefit Black males and their communities.
New York City: Young Men’s Initiative (YMI)
The Young Men’s Initiative is New York City’s comprehensive effort to address disparities between young African-American and Latino men and their peers. The initiative, which targets policy and agency practice reform as well as piloting new programmatic interventions, is a three-year $127 million partnership between the City, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Open Society Foundations, with more than half of the funds invested coming from philanthropy.
The initiative focuses on policy reform and programs in education, employment, health, and justice, with a focus on mentoring across each area. The City closely measures and evaluates the success of all of the program investments and policy and agency practice changes to ensure successes are learned from and taken to scale, while programs and policies facing challenges are revamped or discontinued.
- Expanded Success Initiative: Works to increase the number of Black and Latino young men who graduate high school college- and career-ready, and works to open newly-designed schools with an explicit focus on young Black and Latino men’s success.
- Mentoring for REAL (Resiliency, Education, Attendance, Leadership): Provides school- and community-based mentoring to Black and Latino male high school students who have either had contact with the juvenile justice system, have previous school suspensions, or are at risk of school suspension.
- Progress reports: School performance reports now measure Black and Latino boys against their peers.
- School discipline: Strategies now promote the successful reentry of suspended students back to schools.
- Work Progress Program: Subsidizes wages paid to young adults placed in short-term jobs through community-based organizations where they receive services.
- Young Adult Internship Program: Provides short-term paid internships, job placements, education or advanced training, and follow-up services to young adults who are not in school and are not working.
- Executive Order 150: City agencies are now mandated to provide information about IDs to clients in order to encourage all young New Yorkers to obtain government-issued identification to ease the process of applying for employment.
- Cure Violence: Mobilizes communities to reduce and prevent youth violence, utilizing young men as “credible messengers” to deliver an antiviolence message in partnership with public hospitals in high-violence areas.
- CUNY Fatherhood Academy: Helps dads finish school and plan for college, providing fathers with parenting classes, English and math classes and GED prep, and job training.
- NYC Dads: The City’s first-ever Fatherhood Services Coordinator is tasked with helping fathers become more active in the lives of their children, coordinating efforts across 14 agencies.
- Sex education: Comprehensive sex education for all middle and high schools is now as part of the mandated health curriculum.
- Community Education Pathways to Success: Provides reading and writing classes for young adults on probation who are not yet ready for the GED examination.
- Justice Corps: Brings young adults involved in the criminal justice system together with their communities to identify and address unmet community needs, providing participants with meaningful and reparative service to their communities, internships, and job and educational opportunities.
- Ban the Box: City employers are now barred from asking job-seekers about criminal convictions during their first interview, or on any preliminary application documents.
- Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON): People on probation now meet with their probation officers in community settings, collocated with community organizations providing the kinds of services and opportunities young people need.