In February 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, a coordinated national effort to improve the long-term outcomes and life trajectories of men and boys of color, who are most severely impacted by racial disparities. In response, local policymakers, community stakeholders, businesses, education agencies, and foundation leaders participate in the MBK Community Challenge by committing to improving the supply of reform interventions and prioritizing the implementation of actionable strategies in cities across the country.
The East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) has been active in existing African American Male Achievement (AAMA) initiatives prior to MBK. In fact, EBCF’s collaboration with Urban Strategies Council, Partners in School Innovation, and the Oakland Unified School District in the African American Male Achievement Initiative – formed at the School District in 2010 as an effort to address the striking disparities in educational outcomes for young Black males. Additionally, we worked with the Level Playing Field Institute to create the SMASH (Summer Math & Science Honors) Prep Academy, for African American male 6th-to-9th graders in the Oakland Unified School District.
Currently, EBCF is one of only two community foundations west of the Mississippi to support an African American male donor circle, The Brotherhood of Elders, whose members volunteer and pool their financial resources for the improvement of men and boys of color. In April of 2014, EBCF and this donor circle co-sponsored an event to galvanize individuals and nonprofit organizations around the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. In May of 2014, EBCF participated in the MBK in California Listening Session with White House representatives to solidify local perspectives on the best ways to enable boys and young men of color to reach their full potential. We also hosted U.S. Secretary Julián Castro at EBCF, where he met with young men and boys from the Oakland community.
The White House announced the MBK Community Challenge in September 2014, to encourage communities (Cities, Counties, Suburbs, Rural Municipalities, and Tribal Nations) to implement a coherent cradle-to-college and career strategy aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people, with the following objectives:
- All children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
- All children are reading at grade level by third grade.
- All students graduate from high school ready for college and career.
- All students have access to postsecondary education or job training.
- Improve access to jobs and valuable work experience.
- Prevent youth violence and provide second chances.
President Obama’s MBK Community Challenge
- Accept the President’s challenge with a designated staff contact and
announce acceptance of the challenge with a press release or media statement.
- Convene a “local action summit” to build an MBK community with key stakeholders.
- Conduct a policy review and form recommendations for action. Submit a report with recommendations for action on selected areas of focus (see MBK Milestones), data tracking standards across public agencies and community partners, and recommendations to institutionalize the work.
- Publicly launch a plan of action, next steps, and timetable for review, including protocol for tracking data, benchmarks, and timelines for review.
The City of Oakland has accepted President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and has completed step one.
On August 25, 2015 we take step two, with a local action summit convening at Oakland City Hall, sponsored by The Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf in partnership with The East Bay Community Foundation, and supported by Assemblymember Rob Bonta.
This half-day convening, by invitation only, gathers key organizations serving men and boys of color to commit to a collective community effort, specifically:
- All children enter kindergarten ready to learn and reading at grade level by 3rd grade
- All students graduate from high school ready for college & career
- All students have access to postsecondary education or job training
- Improve access to jobs and valuable work experience
Explore EBCF’s involvement with men and boys of color:
U. S. HUD Secretary Julián Castro Visits EBCF on MBK
The Brotherhood of Elders Donor Circle and EBCF Host MBK Event