One Year Follow-up Report On My Brother’s Keeper Shows Progress

Earlier this year, the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a one-year progress report to assess the initial year of the Presidents’ Initiative.

My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) was officially launched by President Obama in February of 2014 to increase awareness and consequently public/private funding for boys and young men of color. Prior to the President’s call to action, influential organizations such as Open Society Foundations and Atlantic Philanthropies were already doing work around the issue.

The task force laid out three goals to assess the progress of MBK: Improving state and local engagement; promoting private sector action; and public policy review and reform. Following are highlights of the report’s findings.

State And Local:

  • Nearly 200 mayors, county executives, and tribal leaders across 43 states have agreed to review local public policy, host action summits, and implement locally tailored action plans to address opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color.
  • More than 60 superintendents of the largest urban school districts have pledged to develop aligned strategies in education.
  • Communities such as Chicago, Boston, Albuquerque, Fulton County, Ga., Lansing, Mich., Newark, N.J., Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, and Philadelphia are actively engaged in the planning stages for their MBK efforts.
  • New York City, Indianapolis and Houston are in the MBK implementation stages.

Private Sector Commitments: In the past year, more than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources have been independently committed to advance the mission of MBK. These include investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms and school redesign.

  • Emerson Collective is launching a competition to find and develop the best designs for next generation high schools. Together, they will contribute $56 million for this effort. The first Request for Proposals is scheduled to be released in September 2015.
  • College Board is investing more than $1.5 million for “All In,” a national  program to ensure that 100 percent of African American, Latino, and Native American students with strong “advanced placement (AP) potential” enroll in at least one matched AP class before graduation.
  • Becoming A Man (BAM) and Match, comprehensive mentoring and tutoring programs, announced $10 million in new funding to support their expansion as well as a large-scale study on their long-term effects conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Urban Education Lab.
  • AT&T announced an $18 million commitment to support mentoring and other education programs as part of the company’s Aspire initiative, which is focused on high school success and workforce readiness for students at risk of dropping out of school.
  • The NBA is launching a public service announcement and campaign in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to recruit 25,000 new mentors over the next five years.
  • Citi Foundation made a three-year, $10 million commitment to create ServiceWorks, a national program that uses volunteers to help 25,000 young people in ten cities across the United States develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. committed $10 million to expand its mentor and training program, The Fellowship Initiative, to Chicago and Los Angeles along with a new, expanded class of Fellows in New York City.
  • UBS America announced a five-year, $10 million commitment, to improve college success among under-resourced populations. 

Public Policy: Over the past year, the task force found that the administration has expanded and reformed some federal programs to better outcomes for boys and young men of color.

  • Social Innovation Fund, under the Corporation for National and Community Service, awarded $18 million in grants to organizations with programs that plan to address My Brother’s Keeper milestones.
  • DOJ launched the National Mentoring Resource Center in January 2015 to provide and support mentoring programs with research and practice tools, along with training and technical assistance to improve the quality and effectiveness of youth mentoring across the nation.
  • In December 2014, DOL announced the $100 million American Apprenticeship grant solicitation, which encourages applicants to demonstrate strategies to employ and train underrepresented populations in apprenticeship, including young men and women of color, people with disabilities, low-skilled populations and veterans. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, OJJDP made grant awards to four organizations for over $41 million through the National Mentoring program.
  • In September 2014, DOJ announced the launch of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice – an effort that combines research, technical assistance, and innovative strategies to help repair and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

For more information on the My Brother’s Keeper movement, click here to read the report by the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s task force on MBK and click here to read a report looking at philanthropic support for the movement by the Foundation Center, along with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. 

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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at