More Than $100 Million Pledged for My Brother’s Keeper Initiative

Hello Members,

Given the disproportionate representation of people of color in correctional and adult education classrooms, the announcement below has direct implications on our work.  Many of the foundations and employers listed as partners in this initiative can provide employment and other opportunities for our adult education students as they prepare to advance in or re-enter the workforce.  This is an amazing development!


The White House has announced new commitments totaling more than $100 million in support of My Brother's Keeper, an initiative launched in February to expand opportunity and improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color.

The latest commitments to the public-private partnership include $50 million from the Emerson Collective, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, to connect Silicon Valley innovators with school districts working to redesign high schools to meet the needs of the new economy and develop educational models that increase engagement and success among underserved students. In addition, the NBA and the National Basketball Retired Players Association announced a five-year partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Team Turnaround, and the Council of the Great City Schools in support of efforts to reduce dropout rates, improve the worst-performing schools, and recruit high-quality mentors; AT&T pledged $18 million — as part of a broader $350 million commitment to improve high school success and workforce readiness for at-risk students — to launch the Aspire Mentoring Academy Corps, expand online mentoring, develop a mentoring app, and pilot a STEM mentoring program; the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention announced a three-year, $10 million commitment to create a Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps; and the U.S. Forest Service and AmeriCorps announced a $3.8 million commitment to connect youth with service opportunities restoring the nation's forests and grasslands.

Other pledges include $10 million over three years from Citi Foundation to create ServiceWorks, which will deploy AmeriCorps members to help prepare twenty-five thousand students in ten cities across the country for college and careers in a global economy; $10 million from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools to fund the expansion and an evaluation of theBecoming A Man and Match tutoring programs; $1.5 million from the College Board for "All In," a national outreach effort designed to ensure that all African-American, Latino, and Native American students with strong AP potential enroll in at least one AP class before graduation; and $1 million from Discovery Communications to create special programming designed to counter negative stereotypes about boys and young men of color.

Leaders of sixty of the largest school districts in the country also pledged to better support boys and young men of color based on an eleven-point plan that includes expanding access to high-quality preschool, implementing or scaling early warning systems to prevent grade retention, establishing programs to reduce suspensions and expulsions, increasing access to advanced and rigorous coursework, and ensuring that students complete federal financial aid applications.

The latest commitments follow the announcement earlier this year of pledges totaling $194 million from eleven philanthropies as well as $10 million each from UBS Americas and JPMorgan Chase.

While a handful of districts have already made progress in helping African-American and Latino boys improve their academic performance, "we need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front," Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, told MSNBC. "It's not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities."



The "My Brother's Keeper" initiative seems to be garnering a lot of support from a lot of fields.  I heard an interview which aired this morning featuring it also.  In reading through some of the links provided in Heather's message and trying to discern how the money was going to be spent toward the goals, I was especially interested in milestone #5 which states:

Entering the Workforce
  • Help grow and improve youth summer employment and use of pre-apprenticeships as good entry-level jobs.
  • Enact broader growth and opportunity agenda through investments in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, job training, and raising the minimum wage.  

This looks like it could be a way for the Career Pathways members to become involved.  What do you think?  Does anyone in the Career Pathways CoP have any more specific information or know anyone who is helping administer this initiative?  Do we have any direct or indirect ties?

Donna Brian, SME Career Pathways

Hi Donna,

What a great observation, and it does appear to be a perfect intersection for Career Pathways involvement.  I know in Correctional Ed and Reentry much of the conversation is moving, and has moved, to this end.  It's all about job readiness and the creation of career opportunities.  I'd love to hear from the Career Pathways folks to see if MBK funding and emphasis has made it's way to the grassroots levels yet. 

I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of corporate sponsorship and backing for this initiative, indicating that there really is intention to create immediate impact.

-- Heather 

Heather, thank you for sharing this information. What a great opportunity! Looks like this initiative has some tremendous support. 

In our area of the related work, we should be able to connect with helping the participants graduate and have the foundation for career and college readiness. 

They've made the case for the importance and the significance of the program's efforts. Seems that the initiative might an opportunity to enlist the support of local community members to provide or develop resources appropriate to our local adult literacy and numeracy programs. The corporate donations and the donor list is significant. Using that information as leverage to seek state and local supporters would be advantageous. 

Reading and Writing community moderator

Hi Daryl -- I most definitely agree that this impressive corporate sponsorship list should be used as a leverage/bridge for and to state and local support!  I'm also really helping that there will be a push from these corporate sponsors as potential employers for those returning to their communities after incarceration.  Starting an internal "Ban the Box" campaign wouldn't be a bad idea either...

--- Heather