Category: News

Washington, DC - Two years have passed since the President signed a Presidential Memorandum in 2014 establishing the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Task Force (the Task Force), a coordinated Federal effort to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

In response to the President’s call to action, nearly 250 communities in all 50 states have accepted the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge; more than $600 million in private sector and philanthropic grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in low-interest financing have been committed in alignment with MBK; and new federal policy initiatives, grant programs, and guidance are being implemented to ensure that every child has a clear pathway to success from cradle to college and career.

Since MBK’s first anniversary report a little more than one year ago, more than 50 additional communities have accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, including those in seven new states, independent private sector support for grants and in-kind resources has more than doubled to more than $600 million, and more than 80% of the recommendations the MBK Task Force sent to the President two years ago are complete or on track.

Today, the MBK Task Force released its second year report [] and announced a series of new commitments highlighting continued progress. This report tracks progress achieved in the past year on efforts to make a measurable difference in the lives of young people.  These priorities fall into three interdependent priorities articulated by the President: (1) engaging state and local communities; (2) increasing engagement by businesses, philanthropic organizations, and nonprofits; and (3) reviewing and reforming public policy. 

Highlights of collective progress made this year include:

Federal Policy Review and Reform

Place-Based State and Local Engagement

Private Sector Action

MBK continues to inspire a movement of citizens, community leaders, policy makers, corporate executives, and elected officials who are acting with intention to ensure that all youth know they matter and have every opportunity to achieve their dreams.  This report and announcements are a testament to the progress and achievements that have resulted from the President’s leadership in creating MBK.  The Task Force and leaders across the country remain hard at work to drive progress and ambition on behalf of our youth during the third year of this collective effort.

New announcements from the MBK Task Force and federal agencies include:

Summit on Preventing Youth Violence: On June 27-29 in Baltimore, MD, the Justice Department is sponsoring a Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, presented by the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and the My Brother's Keeper Task Force. This national convening will bring together over 600 participants representing more than 30 cities, including many communities that have accepted the MBK Community Challenge. Participants include youth and young adults, public and private organizations, key national and local government officials, and other critical stakeholders.  The participating cities will share effective and promising multi-dimensional approaches to addressing violence that include prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry.  These strategies also emphasize cross-jurisdictional engagements among the justice, public health, education, housing, business, and other sectors.  This year, the Summit will have a specific MBK focus to highlight Milestone 6: Reducing Violence and Providing a Second Chance.  The Summit will be live-streamed and then followed up with webinars that highlight issues of particular significance.

National Service and Social Innovation – The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will invest nearly $11 million to fund AmeriCorps and Social Innovation Fund programs that support My Brother’s Keeper. Over the next three years, more than 120 AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve within communities that have accepted the President’s MBK Community Challenge to help young people reach their full potential. These new partnerships with the MBK Alliance, the Michigan Community Service Commission, the City of Santa Fe and the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other nonprofits in Minnesota are valued at more than $2 million. In addition, CNCS, through its Social Innovation Fund, will invest more than $8.5 million to support nearly 40 organizations focused on providing evidence-based solutions to decrease opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and other vulnerable youth. In addition to those announced today, many other CNCS programs support MBK goals, including United We Serve, the President’s Call to Service, which recently launched, an online search engine to connect Americans to mentoring opportunities.

New MBK Success Mentor Initiative Cities: The MBK Success Mentors Initiative, a partnership between the Department of Education and Johns Hopkins University, is rapidly expanding nationwide to raise student attendance and achievement in our highest needs communities. Today it announced the addition of 20 new MBK Success Mentor cities nationwide – for a total of 30 cities, all of which will gather at the White House and off-site on June 8 for the National MBK Success Mentor & Student Support Summit, part of the Every Student, Every Day campaign to eliminate chronic absenteeism. At full scale, when operating in grades K-12 across districts, the model aims to reach over one million students within the next 3-5 years.  The initiative also includes a national Ad Council Campaign, which was announced in February. The campaign, which is currently being rolled out, will be featured on bill boards, bus kiosks, and social media nationwide to alert parents about the devastating impact of missing just 2 days a month of school.

In just over 3 months, the first group of 10 MBK Success Mentor cities have provided mentors to over 7,400 chronically absent 6th and 9th graders to drive success. This program stems from an evidence-based model that has been implemented in NYC and elsewhere.  The next phase of this campaign will expand to College Success Mentors – where students who qualify for federal work study will be paid to support chronically absent high school students in high need communities near their colleges.

Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Settings Report:  Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a new report that highlights nine states and local communities around the country that are taking important steps to address expulsion and suspension in early learning settings. Their actions range from passing new legislation to restricting expulsions and suspensions in state preschool programs and revising regulations to improve the social-emotional and behavioral supports children in child care programs receive, to investing in expanding coaching programs - such as early childhood mental health consultation- that build teacher capacity in supporting children's development and prevent expulsions. In December of 2014, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education released the first federal policy statement on expulsion and suspension, which issued a series of recommendations to prevent and ultimately eliminate expulsion and suspension from early learning settings. Today, building on the Administration's “Rethink Discipline” efforts and to continue the forward progress to eliminate expulsions and suspensions in early learning settings, a group of more than 30 national organizations, led by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, published a joint statement in support of those recommendations.

New announcements from the private sector include:

Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) Evidence-Based Grants: LJAF is launching a competition to encourage state and local agencies to implement social programs that have been rigorously shown to produce important positive impacts on the lives of young people of color and other at-risk individuals. Consistent with the President’s call in launching My Brother’s Keeper to build on “actual evidence of what works,” LJAF’s Moving the Needle competition will award a total of up to $15 million to help expand such evidence-based programs, and fund rigorous evaluations to determine whether their effects can be successfully reproduced so as to make significant headway against poverty, educational failure, violence, and other critical problems.

RISE for Boys and Men of Color: RISE is awarding grants to nine scholars for field scans to understand the key interventions and policies that improve life outcomes for boys and men of color. Scholars will review literature in education, health, juvenile and criminal justice, human services, economic opportunity and workforce development to identify interventions that have been found, or show great promise, to expand opportunity for African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Latino boys and men. This nearly $400,000 investment is the first step in a larger grant making effort to inform evaluators and researchers working with boys and men of color, including communities that have accepted the President's My Brother's Keeper Challenge.  RISE is a 3-year, $10 million initiative launched by members of the Executives' Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, including the Atlantic Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Marguerite Casey Foundation.

Bloomberg Associates MBK Community Support: Bloomberg Associates, an arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies, provides pro-bono consulting to cities and Mayors from around the country and the world.  Bloomberg Associates has helped Mayors in a dozen cities with a range of technical assistance support to develop local strategies to tackle barriers facing young men. The organization helps cities map out goals, identify evidence based approaches to adopt, establish success metrics, and embed strategies in Local Action Plans. As cities have been successfully issuing their Plans, Bloomberg Associates' on-going support moves increasingly to implementation challenges and efforts to institutionalize the MBK effort.  In June, Bloomberg Associates, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the White House will co-host a national gathering of select communities to share best practices and develop approaches that will produce measureable results in reducing racial disparities over the long term.

Viacom’s Get Schooled Initiative: Viacom’s Get Schooled Foundation will join the effort to combat chronic absenteeism by supporting the MBK Success Mentor initiative.  To combat low attendance rates, the Get Schooled Foundation has launched the “Get Schooled Breakfast Club” aimed at encouraging more students to get to school every day. Students will have the opportunity to join the “Get Schooled Breakfast Club” and receive a mix of inspirational, humorous and celebrity fueled text messages each week.  A diverse group of entertainers have joined the Get Schooled Breakfast Club, donating their time and talent to offer students a morning boost. Students will receive exclusive photos paired with a handwritten inspirational message from some of their favorite participating celebrities encouraging students to attend school every day.

MBK STEM + Entrepreneurship: In February 2016, the White House announced a new STEM + Entrepreneurship track for the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The MBK Task Force is committing to creating and strengthening pathways to enable more young people, particularly those facing persistent opportunity gaps, to tap into the power of Federal and non-government STEM and entrepreneurship initiatives. This initiative builds on the ongoing work of the Council on Women and Girls to ensure opportunities in STEM education throughout the workforce pipeline.

In April at the White House Science Fair, the Task Force announced more than $50 million in new STEM + Entrepreneurship commitments to expand opportunity for our students. Today, another group of organizations is stepping up with their own independent commitments, totaling more than $30 million, to help expand STEM opportunities, including for traditionally underrepresented minorities. These commitments include: