OCTAE Connection - Issue 227 - March 26, 2015

OCTAE Newsletter

March 26, 2015

My Brother’s Keeper – One-Year Status Report

A little over a year ago, President Obama initiated My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) to tackle the persistent opportunity gaps and to eliminate barriers that too often prevent all young people, including boys and young men of color, from reaching their potential. On Feb. 27, 2014, the President established the MBK Task Force to address these issues and called for a status report after one year. 

The report found that progress has been made on the three major initiatives established by MBK, place-based state and local engagement (the MBK Community Challenge); private-sector (i.e., independent nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate) action; and public policy review and reform (the work of the MBK Task Force). A summary of these initiatives follows.

Place-Based State and Local Engagement: The MBK Community Challenge 

During the past year, approximately 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives have accepted the MBK Community Challenge in partnership with more than 2,000 community-based allies. These partnerships are designing and implementing cradle-to-college action plans for youths. On Feb. 12, 2015, more than 200 national and community leaders met at the White House for the MBK Community Challenge National Convening to learn and share best practices. 

Private-Sector Action: Business, Philanthropy, and Nonprofit Action 

Foundations, businesses and social enterprises have rallied to ensure that their communities have the support they need. More than $300 million in grants and in-kind resources have already been committed to advance the goals of MBK. Communities will create and execute their own independent MBK action plans, including investments in safe and effective schools, youth mentoring and justice reform, school design, and others.

Policy: Federal Response 

The MBK Task Force has encouraged and tracked the implementation of the recommendations that were outlined in its May 2014 initial 90-day report, the “Task Force Report.”  The outcome has been a greater concentration on federal investments that support evidence-based strategies, programs, and interventions.  As a part of this larger effort, the federal government has advanced its determinations to track quality information for youths of color and their peers. 

The “Task Force Report” supplemented the launch’s three initiatives by making some cross-cutting recommendations and identifying six specific targets areas: “(1) entering school ready to learn; (2) reading at grade level by third grade; (3) graduating from high school ready for college and career; (4) completing postsecondary education or training; (5) successfully entering the workforce; and (6) reducing violence and providing a second chance.” 

The one-year report notes that in 2014, “significant advances” were made on “policies and programs that will help all young people – including more boys and young men of color – lead healthy and successful lives.” To continue this progress, the Obama administration’s 2016 budget request recommends substantial investments in evidence-based programs and infrastructure to safeguard innovation and act on what works, as well as a bold image for how the federal government can partner with states and local communities to encourage parity and opportunity for everyone.

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