How Local Funding Helped to Expand MBK Communities in 2020
While the COVID-19 crisis has left many individuals and organizations within MBK Communities with much uncertainty about the future and reimagining strategies to meet the current new normal, many organizations have also seen an increased interest in their work due to their commitment to building an anti-racist society that supports boys and young men of color and their ability to shift programmatic and organizational focus to rapid response and emergency relief.
Undoubtedly, the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are felt by individual families, small businesses. Local governments and particularly nonprofits throughout municipalities large and small have had to shift priorities to respond to the widespread drop in donations and budget shortfalls. Due to reductions in local and state revenue and shifts in philanthropic giving, many organizations within MBK Communities are at a crossroads and deeply concerned about meeting current strategic goals, and their long-term sustainability in the current economy.
However, we’ve seen MBK Communities stepping up and stepping into this moment with innovation, creativity, and endurance. MBK Communities have risen to the occasion and adjusted their approaches and practices to meet the rising needs of communities. Three MBK Communities—MBK Durham, MBK Orlando, and MBK Wake County—stand out in particular having received a boost in funding this year allowing them to address gaps in opportunity for young people and build stronger alliances between partners, families, and government.
MBK Durham (NC)
My Brother’s Keeper Durham received a boost toward its efforts to build a system of support and services aimed at improving the lives of Black men and boys. Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation’s Community Reinvestment Fund awarded MBK Durham $100,000 to support social justice and community rebuilding efforts that will be made during the next two years. The funding will support intervention programs that address implicit bias, STEM education, career exposure and training, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
“Durham is the ideal community to impact, expand, and build upon the national work of My Brother’s Keeper, which began here in 2014. At a time when many have only given lip service to closing the achievement gap among Black and Brown males, MBK Durham has made the issue a top priority, aligning resources into creating a pipeline for young men of color,”
MBK Wake County (NC)
This year, My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper Wake County (MBSK) received an investment of $245,000 from the John Rex Endowment, building on a previous planning grant from 2019. This funding allowed MBSK Wake County to implement initiatives to reduce youth suspensions and inequitable punishments, increase graduation and literacy rates, and increase youth interest and employment in trade.
Additionally, this grant from the Rex Endowment has led to a $25,000 increase from other community investments. This funding supports local efforts to increase the capacity of partners to serve through training, funding, collaborative programming, network expansion and even working together to write grants to further the work of the collective.
MBK Orlando (FL)
In response to the urgent calls for racial justice and equity from Orlando residents, the City of Orlando allocated $1 million new dollars in annual City funding to scale up their My Brother’s Keeper program. Employing a research-based strategy, MBK Orlando will distribute grants to grassroots individuals and organizations in several low-income, predominantly Black neighborhoods in Orlando.
Funds will be invested in ongoing grassroots community organizing and door-to-door outreach to engage the neighborhood’s older youth ages 12 and up in positive youth development activities on a consistent, daily basis. These activities will include sports, tutoring, field trips, jobs, life skills training, mental health intervention, and college tours, among other things. The primary goals are to improve academic performance, increase employment, and prevent arrests.
For other MBK Communities during the dual pandemics, the MBK Alliance has lifted up new funding opportunities, loosened grant requirements for our Impact and Seed Community partners to pivot their work, and is actively exploring opportunities to direct additional funding for this urgent work.