The White House releases a progress report on the initial year of its My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which focuses on providing the resources for at-risk African American male youth and men to succeed.
The movement was initially started several years ago by the Open Society Foundations and influential state and local government associations like the Nat’l League of Cities.
The federal efforts started in February 2014, with the interagency task force leading federal decision-making and 11 foundations providing $200 million in funding through various programs. The task force’s three My Brother’s Keeper goals are to: (1) improve state and local engagement; (2) promote private sector action, including independent nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate action; and (3) conduct public policy review and reform. The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force: One Year Progress Report to the President finds much progress on these three goals.
State, local governments embrace effort
The MBK Community Challenge is a cornerstone of the White House’s effort. It encourages counties, cities, towns and tribes to execute plans to ensure that all young people can achieve their full potential.
Since late September, the task force finds nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the challenge. Within six months of accepting the challenge, these communities commit to review local public policy, host action summits, and start implementing their locally tailored action plans to address opportunity gaps. These community partnerships are provided with technical assistance to develop, implement and track plans of action from both federal agencies and independent organizations with related expertise.
Private-sector commitments continue to grow
The report finds the amount of private commitments from foundations, businesses and social enterprises has grown to $300 million in grants and in-kind resources. These include investments in safe and effective schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms and school redesign.
- The Council of the Great City Schools coordinating the leaders of 63 of the largest urban school systems in the country in a pledge to change life outcomes by better serving students at every stage of their education.
- Prudential committing $13 million to support technical assistance for MBK Communities as well as impact investments for innovative for-profit and nonprofit social purpose enterprises that eliminate barriers to financial and social mobility.
- The NBA 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.
Policy being streamlined
The task force has encouraged and tracked implementation of its recommendations outlined in the initial 90-day report issued in May 2014. The task force identified the following key milestones where funding should be targeted:
- Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn.
- Reading at grade level by third grade.
- Graduating from high school ready for college and career.
- Completing post-secondary education or training.
- Successfully entering the workforce.
- Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances.
The task force’s efforts have led to greater focus on federal investments that support evidence-based interventions. Examples include:
- The Labor Dept.’s American Apprenticeship Initiative and the Nat’l Guard Youth ChalleNGe, which harness federal resources to create clearer pathways to success by helping youth build both work and life skills.
- Public-private partnerships, such as Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, School Turnaround AmeriCorps and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, working with the Corporation for National and Community Service to engage underserved youth in service that has the potential to transform their lives and the communities they serve.
- The Education and Justice Depts. issuing correctional education guidance to help ensure that incarcerated youth have the full protection of existing laws and benefits.