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Community Challenge Competition Year One Update: Our $5 Million Investment in MBK Impact and Seed Communities

The MBK Community Challenge Competition sought to identify and invest in select communities that are making steady progress in improving the lives of boys and young men of color and could serve as national models of what it takes to reduce youth violence and grow effective mentorship programs. New evaluation data shows that one year into our $5 million investment in 19 organizations across 10 states and Puerto Rico, nearly 7,000 young people were served by our inaugural group of Impact and Seed Communities.

These anchor institutions—serving communities that are overcoming the accumulation of generations of discrimination, racism, and trauma that shows up at the community, family, and individual levels—have even greater potential to advance and enhance efforts nationally. The Competition’s financial and in-kind support aims to catalyze the grantees’ work and accelerate their impact, attracting and inspiring others to get involved and sustain a movement that lifts boys and young men of color for the long-term.

Highlights from the first year include: 

  • MBK Impact and Seed Community partner organizations have leveraged their grants for an additional $10 million, more than doubling the initial investment. The African-American Empowerment Network in Omaha leveraged their original $50,000 Seed grant to secure an additional $2.3 million dollars in funds to support their efforts locally. 

  • The Competition sites have served an additional 7,000 young people, with over 1,000 specifically connected to employment. Partner organizations are supporting youth directly through a range of school-based and community-based mentoring programs focused on socioemotional growth and through deploying violence prevention strategies like training credible community messengers and violence interrupters in local communities.

  • Several sites report reductions in community gun violence, murder rates, youth incarceration, and unemployment rates, and noted increases in college enrollment and job obtainment. Puerto Rico Community Foundation’s partner Taller Salud launched a street outreach and violence interruption effort focused on boys and young men of color dubbed Acuerdo de Paz (the Peace Accord) in order to stem violence which disproportionately affects boys and young men of color in Loiza. Acuerdo de Paz helped to reduce violent murders in the municipality by nearly 80 percent over the last several years.