Don’t Count Yourself Out! 5 Questions Answered about Eligibility for the MBK Community Challenge Competition

The MBK Challenge Competition deadline is fast approaching with only three weeks to go! Perhaps you’re interested in applying, but you’re not sure if you’re eligible. We wanted to share answers to some of the frequently asked questions we’ve heard from people in communities around the country. Check out these eligibility answers to make sure you’re not counting yourself out.

Question: Is the MBK Community Challenge Competition limited to funding work in big cities?

Answer: No. The MBK Community Challenge is not limited to funding work in big cities. We are looking for a balance of geographic distribution. Small cities, mid-tier cities, rural areas, Tribal Nation – we welcome you! It is important to us that we identify and invest in high-performing, evidence-informed initiatives to expand opportunities for boys and young men of color in communities of all shapes and sizes.

Question: If my budget is not over $750,000, can I still participate with the Competition?

Answer: Yes. While the lead applicant must meet this budget threshold, there are still other ways in which you can participate with the Competition. If your organization’s annual budget is below $750,000 (and thereby does not meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the RFP), you can consider working with or joining another backbone organization’s application as a partner or potential sub-grantee.

Question: If I do not have a relationship with my mayor, am I still eligible?

Answer: Yes, you are still eligible. The mayor is just one endorsement possibility. You can seek support from your community’s deputy mayor, council chair,  county executive, tribal leader, or elected or appointed cabinet/agency executive/head (or equivalent rank in your community). In extenuating circumstances, you can alternatively submit a letter of support from one of the following MBK Alliance partner organizations: Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Black Male Engagement Initiative (BMe), Cities United, PolicyLink, Bloomberg Associates, Aspen’s Center for Native American Youth,  National League of Cities, Sierra Health Foundation/CA Funders for BMOC, Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.

Question: Is the competition only geared towards African American boys and young men?

Answer: No. We are seeking to work in partnership with communities that have the potential to be proof points for what it takes to substantially improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color. Please note that boys and young men of color is inclusive of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that share similar opportunity gaps.

Question: If my organization does not focus solely on youth violence prevention or mentoring, am I still eligible?

Answer: We encourage you to think creatively about how your day-to-day work aligns with the core focus areas of the RFP. Youth violence prevention is not solely about gun removal or gang intervention. Focusing on youth violence prevention not only ensures we’re addressing urgent issues communities are facing but also because we know the issue itself is expansive and requires a multidimensional approach — including trauma, social-emotional support, economic interventions, reentry reforms, etc. Similarly, effective mentoring happens at each stage of life from cradle to career, including mentoring that improves early literacy, mentoring that supports high school and college graduation, mentoring for opportunity youth in their first jobs, or mentoring that reduces recidivism.

We want to ensure every high-performing nonprofit organization in every city, town, county and tribal nation that is dedicated to improving life outcomes for our boys and young men has the opportunity to apply. If you have further questions about your eligibility, please submit them here. Also, check out our newly updated FAQ and if you missed one of our webinars on the application view the recording here.