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President moves forward with My Brother’s Keeper initiative

mybrother 600President Barack Obama is taking action to launch My Brother's Keeper – an initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to do the hard work to get ahead.

The White House announced late Wednesday that the President would unveil the initiative during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday (Feb. 27th) afternoon. It involves a partnership with foundations, businesses and others to make sure "that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential."

Building on his Year of Action, the new initiative is pitched as another way the President will use his pen and his phone, involving both the private and public sectors, to expand opportunity for Americans.

A fact sheet promoting the initiative notes that opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color for decades. The President wants to build on work being done across the country as communities adopt approaches to help "put these boys and young men on the path to success.

"We can learn from communities that are partnering with local businesses and foundations to connect these boys and young men to mentoring, support networks, and skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way up into the middle class," the Obama Administration asserts in the release.

The Administration pledges to do its part by helping to identify and promote programs that work.

According to the White House, The President believes it is essential to ensure access to basic health, nutrition, and to high-quality early education to "get these kids reading and ready for school at the youngest age. But that's not enough.

"We need to partner with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer. And we need to help these young men stay in school and find a good job – so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to their communities and build decent lives for themselves and their families."

Presidential Task Force

President Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the My Brother's Keeper Task Force, an interagency effort, chaired by the Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson. It is designed to help determine what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them, how the Federal Government's own policies and programs can better support these efforts, and how to better involve state and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community in the efforts.

Foundations and Businesses

Leading foundations and businesses are expected to be part of the initiative, with the White House saying the foundations supporting the call to action have already made extensive investments, including $150 million in current spending that they have approved or awarded.

Building on that, the foundations have agreed that over the next five years they will seek to invest at least $200 million, alongside additional investments from their peers in philanthropy and the business community, to find and rapidly spread solutions that have the highest potential for impact in key areas.

Those areas include: early child development and school readiness, parenting and parent engagement, 3rd grade literacy, educational opportunity and school discipline reform, interactions with the criminal justice system ladders to jobs and economic opportunity and healthy families and communities.

Over the next 90 days, the foundations are to design a strategy and infrastructure for coordination of the investments. The include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The California Endowment, The Ford Foundation, The John and James L. Knight Foundation, The Open Society Foundations, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Many of the foundations are members of the Executives' Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color – a coalition of philanthropic institutions committed to "leveraging philanthropy's role in improving life outcomes for boys and men of color."

The My Brother's Keeper initiative also will leverage participation from the business community and elected officials. Those who have agreed to meet with the President to discuss ways they and their companies can work with the Initiative include Joe Echevarria from Deloitte, Magic Johnson from Magic Johnson Enterprises, Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lake Partners, Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association and Thomas Tull of Legendary Entertainment.

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