What is My Brother’s Keeper? (MBK)
President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.
Through this initiative, the Administration is joining with cities, towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people with opportunities. These opportunities include mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job, go to college, or work their way into the middle class.
My Brother’s Keeper is focused on six milestones
- Getting a Healthy Start and Entering School Ready to Learn.
All children should have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.
- Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade.
All children should be reading at grade level by age 8 – the age at which reading to learn becomes essential.
- Graduating from High School Ready for College and a Career.
All youth should receive a quality high school education and graduate with the skills and tools needed to advance to postsecondary education or training.
- Completing Postsecondary Education or Training.
Every American should have the option to attend postsecondary education and receive the education and training needed for the quality jobs of today and tomorrow.
- Successfully Entering the Workforce.
Anyone who wants a job should be able to obtain one that allows them to support themselves and their families.
- Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances.
All youth and young adults should be safe from violent crime; and individuals who are confined should receive the education, training, and treatment they need for a second chance.
“That’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about. Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.” – President Barack Obama, February 27, 2014
MBK’s first anniversary report one year ago noted that more than new 50 communities across seven states have accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. Independent private sector support for grants and in-kind resources has more than doubled to over $600 million. Also more than 80% of the recommendations that the MBK Task Force sent to the President two years ago are complete or on track. The York-based nonprofit, The Fortress Initiative, was included in a list of innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs highlighted by President Barack Obama at his sixth and final White House Science Fair. The White House produced a fact sheet which includes the mention of the Fortress Initiative as listed below.
“The Fortress Initiative will open its first Disruptive Technology center in York, PA by the end of 2016, and centers in four additional cities across the central PA region by 2021. Through these centers, the Fortress Initiative and its partners, including MANTEC and SCPa Works, will engage 1,000 employers and provide technical skills training to 300 17 to 29-year-olds of all backgrounds, with a focus on young people of color, veterans, and women. In addition, the Initiative will raise a $20 million, multi-city venture fund to invest in entrepreneurs and students who complete the Initiative’s training.” (Fact Sheet Page 12, My Brother’s Keeper)
If you wish to read more about this mention the Central Penn Business Journal featured this mention in an article on their website (Read More).
MBK Annual Update
Highlights of collective progress made this year include
Federal Policy Review and Reform
- The MBK School Success Mentor Initiative, a partnership between the Department of education and Johns Hopkins University, will pair 250,000 6th and 9th graders with trained mentors in 30 communities that accepted the MBK Community Challenge. 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.
- More than 70 National Labs in 20 states opened their facilities to more than 3,500 youth from nearby neighborhoods, including MBK Community Challenge acceptors, for the inaugural MBK & Council on Women and Girls National Week at the Labs.
- As part of the Administration’s Summer Opportunity Project, in February 2016 DOL launched a new $20 million grant competition that will be awarded to approximately 10 communities for innovative approaches. This will provide young people with summer and year-round jobs as well as connect them to career pathways. CNCS has committed $15 million in existing Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards over the next three years to launch Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps which will enable up to 20,000 youth to gain new skills and earn money for college.
- In July 2015, ED and DOJ announced the “Second Chance Pell” pilot program that will enable incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants to finance the postsecondary education and training that may be instrumental in securing employment, stability, and self-sufficiency.
Location-Based, State and Local Engagement
- New York State – In April, with a $20 million budget measure, New York became the first state to fund its own statewide program inspired by the federal My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
- Boston – the “Mayor’s Mentoring Movement” has reached 90% of its goal to recruit 1,000 new mentors.
- Philadelphia – 10,000 teens and young adults were hired for jobs and internships as part of the 2015 Summer Jobs Challenge.
- Compton – The “Compton Empowered” Gang Violence intervention program resulted in a decrease in homicides of nearly 50% from 2014 to 2015.
- Detroit – City leaders have outlined a plan over the next five years to employ 5,000 additional men of color in high growth industries and enroll 90% of four-year-olds in preschool.
- 40 school districts across the country have committed to reforming discipline policies. Miami-Dade School District announced it will eliminate out-of-school suspensions beginning this school year.
Private Sector Action
- During the 2016 White House Science Fair, more than 100 different organizations announced new independent commitments to expand opportunity for students. This included more than $50 million in “MBK STEM + Entrepreneurship” commitments.
- Opportunity Finance Network has invested more than $470 million in financing for deals impacting youth of color.
- Equal Opportunity Schools’ “Lead Higher” has invested more than $30 million towards its $100 million commitment to identify and enroll 100,000 low-income students and students of color in AP and IB courses.
- Foundations have invested $100 million towards their $200 million commitment.
- In May 2015, a group of private sector leaders joined together to launch the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA), a nonprofit that supports boys and young men of color. The founding Board of Directors collectively committed $80 million in “in-kind” and financial donations to support the organization’s mission.
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.