A number of initiatives launched over the past several years to help African-American men and boys in school and life are demonstrating success, the Louisiana Weekly reports.
One of those initiatives, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, was launched in 2008 by the New York City-based Open Society Foundations in response to a wave of media stories detailing the plight of African-American males. In the years since its launch, the initiative has been transformed from a three-year campaign to an ongoing program that has awarded $29.6 million to organizations working to increase educational opportunity for black males, improve their job prospects, and strengthen African-American families. "We are responding to long-term systemic and structural barriers facing the African-American community, specifically black men and boys," said the campaign's manager, Shawn Dove. "An adequate response is not a three-year or five-year commitment. An adequate response is generational commitment so that direct services and policy advocacy are bridged."
Elsewhere, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, has been supporting programs for twenty years through its Men and Boys of Color initiative that create opportunities for African-American males. Projects funded through the initiative include a PBS report on the health and education challenges facing African-American boys and the University of North Carolina's Promoting Academic Success initiative, which sought to improve academic success among African-American and Latino children in Lansing, Michigan, and Polk County, Florida.
Other organizations seeing results include the San Francisco-based Mitchell Kapor Foundation, which supports the Young Scholars Program, an initiative to provide high school-age African-American males with leadership development, tutoring, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and financial support. "This year, we are celebrating one hundred and fifty young black men who are enrolling in college this fall," said the program's coordinator, Justin Davis. "[Our annual graduation celebration] is the only event like it in the Bay Area. Last year, it was standing room only. One of the most powerful images was seeing a stage full of young black men who are going to college. It's a great thing to see."