President Obama launches initiative to create opportunity for boys and young men of color

For decades, opportunity has lagged for boys and young men of color. But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success. Now these efforts are getting support from the highest levels of government.

President Obama announced the launch of “My Brother’s Keeper” — a new initiative to help every boy and young man of color who is willing to work hard to get ahead. The White House is partnering with local businesses and foundations to connect 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.

“There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement,” Mr. Obama stated. “And there is more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them, values them and is willing to invest in them.”

“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential,” Mr. Obama said in remarks.

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the “My Brother’s Keeper Task Force,” an interagency effort, chaired by Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, that will 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.

The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:

  • Assess the impact of Federal policies, regulations, and programs on boys and young men of color, in order to develop proposals that will enhance positive outcomes and eliminate or reduce negative ones.
  • Recommend incentives for the adoption by public and private decision makers of effective and innovative strategies and practices for providing opportunities to and improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.
  • Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate successful programs and practices.
  • Develop a comprehensive public website, that will assess, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color.
  • Work with external stakeholders to highlight the opportunities, challenges, and efforts affecting boys and young men of color.
  • Recommend to the President ways of ensuring sustained efforts within the Federal Government and continued partnership with the private sector and philanthropic community.

Leading foundations and businesses are committing significant resources to research critical intervention in the lives of boys and young men of color; and catalyze coordinated investments to seed, replicate, and scale up effective community solutions.

The foundations supporting President Obama’s initiative have already made investments, including $150 million in current spending and at least an additional $200 million over 5 years, alongside additional investments from their peers in how the business community, to find and rapidly spread high-impact solutions.

In addition to the leadership from the philanthropic community, My Brother’s Keeper leverages participation from the business leaders, elected officials and public sector leaders to support this cross-sector effort.

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