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My Brother's Keeper Alliance

MBKA Community Competition Award Winner: The Center at Sierra Health | Sacramento, CA

National Impact Community: Sacramento, CA

My Brother’s Keeper Sacramento

In 2014, Sacramento, CA became one of the first cities to respond to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge. In the following years, a series of convenings such as the Sacramento Local Action Summit in 2015, the MBK workforce convening, and the annual BMOC Conference in 2016 created the alignment to formally establish the MBK coordinating committee. In 2018, with fifty organizations, philanthropy, educational, and municipal leaders at the table, The Center at Sierra Health Foundation (The Center) published the MBK Sacramento guide to action (Opens in a new tab) that outlined policies and procedures to change or strengthen in four impact areas that would serve as the blueprint for the historic systems change to date.

Sierra Health Foundation Team

Healthy Development

Policy Goal

Targeted investments in land use within neighborhoods of concentrated poverty for people who historically have lived there. City strategic and master plans have equity considerations.

Procedural Goal

Improve trauma-informed care for the City of Sacramento with support for training and monitoring.

Practice Goal

Community coalition of leaders in trauma-informed care develop and adopt a framework and plan for implementation within multiple sectors.

Sierra Health Foundation Healthy Development
Sierra Health Foundation Education


Policy Goal

Establish policy revisions to Discipline Board Policies and Regulations within three of the largest school districts in Sacramento. Require review of at-home suspensions and expulsions, conducted by a review team inclusive of the school-based community.

Procedural Goal

Mandate district-wide training on culturally responsive, trauma-informed approaches for teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, school administrators and hearing office staff. Implemented across three of the largest school districts in Sacramento.

Practice Goal

Demonstrate improved relationships between staff and students through use of culturally responsive SEL supports/practices over a three-year period.

Workforce Development

Policy Goal

Establish incentive policies for job-training and outreach efforts targeted to communities of color, established at Sacramento’s top five employers by 2019.

Procedural Goal

Increase employment for 16- to 24-year-old males of color in Sacramento by 3.5% within three years through targeted recruitment, referral job placements and job training opportunities.

Practice Goal

Develop a job-based mentoring model to be implemented within 75% of MBK Sacramento Network partner agencies and organizations by 2020.

Sierra Health Foundation Workforce Development
Sierra Health Foundation Justice System

Justice Systems

Policy Goal

Eliminate new youth entering into the justice system by establishing a law enforcement referral system for community-based organizations in lieu of arrest.

Procedural Goal

Increase capacity of BCLC Community Incubator Leads (CILs) to prevent the four primary causes of Black child deaths in Sacramento: sleep-related deaths, perinatal conditions, child abuse and neglect, and third-party homicide. Collaborate with all CILs to expand their efforts.

Practice Goal

Reduce prevalence of new youth incarceration by 20% within five years through increasing access to trauma-informed drug diversion and intervention services and Increase capacity of existing drug diversion / intervention programs.

Sacramento went from being the expulsion capitol of California to…Creating a Division of Youth and a ‘Children’s Cabinet’ that oversees a youth framework in every aspect of city policy.

Starting with County-wide data collection to identify disparities and hosting summits and convenings to build political will, the collective impact framework seeded a community-wide multi-sector plan for systems change.

To maximize participation and focus on the unique impact potential of each participant, the initiative developed six levels of engagement:

  • Network: valued partners and allies

  • Coordinating Committee: sectoral leaders who collectively determine the direction of the initiative

  • Strategy Teams: led my members of coordinating committee to mobilize support and expand efforts city-wide

  • Policy and Funding Advisory Team: advisory body to identify resource opportunities and ways to align at the state and national level

  • Youth Fellows Program: stipended mentoring and training opportunity for young men of color age 16-19

  • Anchor Team: backbone organizations dedicated to coordination, convening, and overall functioning of the collaborative

MBK Sacramento Education Strategy team lead agency, Improve Your Tomorrow, expanded the mentorship program that helped more than 2,000 young men of color better navigate educational pathways in San Joaquin and Fresno County. To achieve its campaign goal of sending 1,300 additional young men of color to University of California, Davis or Sacramento State by 2025, the organization convened superintendents, business, and elected officials to create a nine point plan that would revamp the suspension rate, partner with juvenile hall, and see to replacing university rejection letters with a $3,000 annual stipend and a benchmark plan for admittance.

It’s not that we have more challenged kids, it’s that we have challenged systems resistant to change, what previously was treated solely as children’s behavioral issues need to also be viewed as policy issues for systems.”

Chet Hewitt, Sierra Health President and CEO

Under the MBK framework, local stakeholders were able to:

  1. Affirm and hold up the positive work already happening

  2. Accelerate adoption of the MBK approach with validation and an ultimate call-to-action that invited stakeholders who had yet to engage to join the effort

  3. Build to Last with plans for the growth in participation of community organizations and philanthropy over time

Municipal leaders created the Division of Youth to have city employees “waking up every day asking how do I make life better for young people,” as Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirer describes it. But the youth focus is not sequestered to one separate department.  By creating a youth commission, they are adding a youth-focus to nearly every city commission including arts, parks, and police.  The “Children’s Cabinet” convenes department heads to gather to specifically address what their section of government is doing for young people.

Hewitt will tell you, “Our shared work is not perfect, not complete, but now we’re collectively owning the results that come from our efforts and the responsibility to do better,” and there are already results coming to bear.  Before COVID-19, the city went 28 months without a youth homicide.  Passing free public transportation for youth saw a 160 percent increase in student ridership. There’s been a two-million dollar reinvestment from the Board of State and Community Corrections for alternatives to the juvenile justice system for about 240 youth ages 10-17.  And, of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic , the MBK Sacramento mission expanded to initiatives like the Sacramento COVID Collaborative that provided $20,000 in supplies such as PPE, essential resources, and masks to over one hundred households.

One Person, One Organization, One Team”

Rick Jenkins, Sacramento Council member

The cross-sector work in Sacramento allows for participants to engage and question what has been accepted as common sense.  The Public Health Advocates convenes a weekly Healthy Development Team, one pillar of the program, and has hosted a series on healing-centered engagement to learn from regional and national efforts and how they’re approaching historical challenges in the field.  The Public Safety Initiative is seeking to transform the very definition of safety in the system.  Previously safety was strictly measured by the number of police officers per thousand residents and response time for fire and EMT, but now young people and preventative activities are a working benchmark to be evaluated. 

Chief Probation Officer Marlon Yarber reflects on The Center’s Black Child Legacy Campaign and other work with MBK Sacramento, “What is most important as a system partner is looking as far upstream as we can get…With a data analysis, one can see the same neighborhoods are the same heat maps for returning citizens, for child abuse, for homelessness.”   

Heartened by what’s become possible, Sacramento Councilmember Rick Jenkins adds, “Boys and men of color cannot prosper based on what’s happened in the past.  We have to create a new tomorrow… One day, we’re hopeful our kids will know their history but they will never have to experience the history we’ve faced.”

Sierra Health Foundation Student
Sierra Health Foundation Student in Hallway
Sierra Health Foundation Women With Signs
Sierra Health

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, Sacramento, CA

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation operates an integrated model of youth violence prevention, intervention, and mentoring that scales up three existing initiatives that provide mentoring and wraparound services to at­-risk boys and young men of color between the ages of 10-to-25 in seven neighborhoods. The Center's COVID-19 response funds ensure the region's most vulnerable families, individuals and businesses receive assistance for essential supplies, food, rent, utilities, and other needs.


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6 Milestones

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