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‘My Brothers Keeper’ initiative receives $100M

Miami Times staff report | 7/31/2014, 9 a.m.

My Brother’s Keeper, a five-year, $200 million effort focused on improving opportunities for Black and Hispanic youth, recently received a $100 million from the private sector. Equally important is the decision by 60 of the nation’s largest school districts to join the effort by implementing evidence-based strategies to improve outcomes.

President Obama made the announcement July 21 during a basketball exhibition. “My Brother’s Keeper” is a public-private program that focuses on the unique challenges faced by young men of color.  In all, the program has attracted $300 million in funding for an effort that the president has said will continue long after he has left the White House and will make up much of his post-presidential work.

Flanked by NBA star Chris Paul, who introduced Obama, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was present as the president recalled his own struggles growing up, saying that the only difference between him and other young men of color is that he lived in a more forgiving environment.

“I wasn’t going to end up shot,” Obama said during a town hall discussion at the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. “I wasn’t going to end up in jail.”

The efforts sprang from the widespread frustration expressed by many Blacks after George Zimmerman was acquitted last year in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and build on 30 years of public discourse and community programming aimed at young men of color.

Among the other efforts are $1.5 million by the College Board to ensure that students of color enroll in at least one Advanced Placement class before they graduate.  The Chicago based “Becoming a Man,” program will benefit from $10 million and expand to additional cities, while the Emerson Collective will pitch in $50 million for a competition for innovative approaches to creating the next generation of high schools. And the leaders of 60 of the largest school systems, which educate 3 million young men of color, have joined a pledge to change the educational outcomes of young men of color.