While nonprofit and government initiatives in and foundation support for the field of black male achievement have increased steadily in recent years, corporations, faith-based organizations, and other constituencies need to be more deeply engaged in those efforts, a report commissioned by the Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement argues.
Based on interviews with fifty leaders in the social, academic, government, and business sectors, the report, Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement (72 pages, PDF), maps the landscape of work in the area of black male achievement and offers recommendations for strengthening the field going forward. For instance, the analysis found that in 2011 foundations awarded $40.4 million in grants of at least $10,000 in support of black male achievement. More recently, national and local government initiatives such as My Brother's Keeper, a public-private partnership launched by the White House, have highlighted the need for policy reforms, cross-sector collaboration, and the strategic use of data. At the same time, other constituencies, including the corporate and faith sectors, remain untapped resources with respect to work designed to improve the life outcomes of African-American men and boys and should be urged to support scholarships and employment opportunities for black males, do more to address civil rights issues, and focus on raising awareness of social justice issues.
"The barriers to success that black men face have been in plain sight for decades, so it is particularly heartening to see a movement taking shape that is specifically crafted to address these challenges and change the odds for one of the most disenfranchised populations in America," said Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, in the report’s afterword. "We are moving in the right direction, but we need to keep in mind that our commitment must be for the long haul."
Building on the 2012 study Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys (40 pages, PDF), the new report adds to a growing suite of resources at BMAfunders.org.
"This report provides a snapshot of the breadth and depth of engagement in the field of black male achievement in this pivotal moment," said Seema Shah, director of research for special projects at the Foundation Center and lead author of the report. "Our hope is that it contributes to ongoing efforts to boost strategic collaboration and invites individuals and organizations from every sector and area of the country to see the role they can play in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys."
(Photo credit: Urban Prep Academies)