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My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Announces Upcoming Competition to Accelerate Community Solutions and Impact for Boys and Young Men of Color

February 26, 2018 at 10:06 AM CST

Community-based organizations in cities that accepted President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge will be invited to submit proposals focused on youth violence prevention and effective mentoring programs.

Chicago, IL – Today, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, announced it will issue a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) to community-based organizations located in the nearly 250 communities that accepted President Obama’s 2014 My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. The RFP highlights MBK Alliance’s commitment to investing in communities and organizations making steady progress that also have the potential to be proof points for what it takes to substantially improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color, particularly as it relates to reducing youth violence and growing the pipeline of mentors working in impactful programs. The RFP will be released in March.

The MBK Community Challenge Competition, a pilot program, will help grow the impact of community-based solutions with measurable evidence of improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color, while building the capacity of communities dedicated to expanding opportunity. The competition will provide communities with a team of experts and practitioners to support planning, implementation, infrastructure development and spotlighting progress and lessons learned. Competition winners will also be able to access matching funds to hire a full time local project lead and receive planning grants of up to $500,000 to help jump-start initiatives, build capacity and attract additional resources and partners.

Advancing the mission of My Brother’s Keeper in Chicago will be a permanent priority well beyond this Competition. Accordingly, a Chicago nonprofit will be selected to be part of the inaugural Community Competition cohort, while other Chicago nonprofits will have the chance to compete for mini-grants of up to $50,000. The MBK Alliance team is also working closely with city and community leaders to strengthen the overarching work of MBK in the city, including creating goals and aligning partners in supporting outcomes for boys and young men of color.

Combining the resources for organizations, staffing, technical assistance and in-kind support, MBK Alliance will be invest nearly $4 million nationwide, including more than $1 million in Chicago. In each winning community, organizations will select one evidence-based model related to youth violence prevention or mentoring they are seeking to replicate or scale over a two year period. The dollars and in-kind support provided as part of this competition are not intended to fully scale the types of solutions the Foundation hopes to see. Rather, the Foundation will spotlight what’s working, build capacity for action and attract local and national tools and resources that can fuel long-term success.

“Four years ago President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and, since then hundreds of communities have stepped up and shown up for their boys and young men of color in extraordinary ways. We are excited to let these communities know the Obama Foundation remains committed to their success, and provide some tools and resources to help them accelerate the pace of impact and inspire action nationwide,” said Michael D. Smith, Director of MBK Alliance and Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation.

MBK Alliance expects to invest in a diverse array of communities, including cities of all sizes, rural communities and Tribal Nations. Going forward, MBK Alliance will work to accelerate impact in targeted communities, mobilize citizens and resources, and promote what works — all with the goal of encouraging mentorship, reducing youth violence, and improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color. MBK Alliance will also roll out a series of tools and offer convening opportunities to encourage continued momentum in the broader network of MBK Communities.

MBK Alliance will release eligibility requirements and a technical assistance schedule in the coming weeks and will begin accepting applications in March. Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to  sign up to receive updates.

MBK Communities Background

Through the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, launched by President Obama in 2014, nearly 250 communities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia accepted the call to action to adopt innovative approaches, strengthen supports, and build ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color and other underserved youth. The Challenge called for local public and private leaders to convene their communities and youth to develop a local action plan, which would include concrete goals, a protocol for tracking data, benchmarks for tracking progress, and available resources to support communities’ efforts.

Since launching, communities have formed local task forces, hired staff and made strides on complex challenges, including mentor deficits, school discipline reform, literacy and youth/law enforcement relationships. Some states, including New York and Michigan, have formed statewide MBK Community Challenge alliances, providing financial and in-kind resources.

You can learn more about My Brother's Keeper Alliance's Community Challenge HERE.


President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential. In 2015 the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) was launched, inspired by My Brother’s Keeper, to scale and sustain the mission. In late 2017, MBK Alliance became an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Within the Obama Foundation, MBK Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.

Contact: Rae Robinson Trotman,  [email protected] (Opens in a new tab)