Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Announces New Initiative To Support Young Men of Color, Marking Foundation’s Next Phase

‘I’m proud to see the incredible impact’ the organization is having in our communities, Obama says.

Former President Barack Obama held a gathering Wednesday (May 10) in Chicago to announce a new initiative of his My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK) foundation, called MBK Model Communities.

The initiative will support Black and Hispanic boys and young men, who are statistically most vulnerable for low academic achievement, unemployment and incarceration. MBK Model Communities seeks to expand the implementation of evidence-based practices into communities of color across the nation.

“The MBK Model Communities initiative represents the next phase of the MBK Alliance’s work to help communities take on their biggest challenges – and I look forward to continuing this work alongside them for years to come,” Obama said in a statement.

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At the event, Obama and MBK Alliance's executive director, Dr. Adren Wilson, spotlighted four communities, from its nationwide network, as success models: Newark, N.J., Omaha, Neb.,Tulsa, Okla., and Yonkers, N.Y.

They each represent a concrete example of the systems-level impact that communities can achieve toward the foundation’s six milestones, which include graduating high school, completing college or training, while keeping safe from violent crime.

“By providing direct coaching, peer-to-peer learning, financial resources, and evaluation support, the MBK Alliance is confident that these Model Communities will serve as beacons of hope and best practices for other communities to follow,” Wilson said.

MBK Yonkers was selected as a model community because it has the highest high school graduation rate for young people of color across New York state at 91 percent. The Yonkers Public School System will lead the Model Communities initiative for MBK Yonkers.

One of the foundation’s six milestones is preparing students of color to enter school ready to learn. MBK Tulsa was selected as a model community because its universal pre-Kindergarten program enrollment increased 33 percent between 2013 and 2019.

MBK Newark and MBK Omaha both made notable strides toward the goal of keeping young men of color safe from violent crime, the foundation said. In Newark, homicides were at a 60 year low in 2022. In Omaha, city-wide homicides declined 30 percent from 2011 to 2022.

The MBK Alliance will provide the four MBK Model Communities with support that includes a $800,000 grant each and access to direct coaching, evaluation support, and peer-to-peer learning.

Obama said, “In 2014, in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, I challenged every community in the country to implement strategies to help boys and young men of color. Today, I’m proud to see the incredible impact My Brother’s Keeper Alliance communities are having.”

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