An Update from MBKA: Our 2018 Year in Review

Last week, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance sent the e-newsletter below to those interested in its work. If you’d like to receive updates like these in the future, you can join the list here.

Letter from MBKA Executive Director, Michael Smith

It has been a busy year for the MBK Alliance team at the ObamaFoundation, one filled with great excitement, encouragement, reflection, and joy.

In January, we kicked off the year with a campaign and PSAfeaturing our brothers’ keepers President Obama, Steph Curry, and Chance the Rapper, leading thousands from all around the country to sign up and support boys and young men of color.

In February, we held our final record-breaking MBK Alliance “Pathways to Success Opportunity Summit” in Newark, NJ, where more than 1,400 youth walked away with new connections, new skills, and new opportunities. And more than 300 walked away with new jobs!

After transitioning into the Obama Foundation, we announced our Advisory Council, which includes some of MBK Alliance’s previous board members and some new faces as well. If you’ve watched one of our three online town halls, you’ve seen our two youngest members, the impressive Malachi Hernandez and Senegal Mabry, from MBK-Boston and MBK-New York State. Their unique points of view deepened our conversations as they interviewed and emceed discussions with Common, Sybrina Fulton, ESPN’s Michael Smith, and former Secretary of Education and MBK Alliance Advisory Council Member Arne Duncan.

We kicked off April with an unforgettable roundtable in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King with Congressman John Lewis, President Obama, and young men from DC public schools. And we closed out the month with the launch of our first-ever MBK Community Challenge Competition, seeking communities and organizations ready to show the nation how to change the game for our boys and young men.

Earlier this year, NBA champion and long-time MBK champion Steph Curry took to the court in a pair of custom MBK Alliance Curry 4 kicks. The hand-painted shoes were autographed and raffled for nearly $28,000 to benefit the MBK Alliance, matched by the National Basketball Players Association Foundation with an additional $25,000.

In 2018 we also launched the MBK Network. More than 180 of the original 250 MBK Communities have recommitted to this critical mission by registering as part of our newly launched network. We’re excited to see this entire family come together, along with a cross-sector movement of champions and changemakers, in Oakland in February for our MBK Rising!gathering. The event will celebrate the fifth anniversary of President Obama launching My Brother’s Keeper and will help us get inspired and equipped for the road ahead!

Finally, we are proud to end the year with a delivery on our promise to invest in—and uplift—what’s working for our boys and young men with the announcement of 19 winners of the MBK Community Challenge Competition across 10 states and Puerto Rico. These communities were all with us at the ObamaFoundation Summit in Chicago, where we listened in awe to youth from MBK Albuquerque and Chicago convey what it means to be our brothers’ keepers.

President Obama has often said the work of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is a cause he’ll be devoted to for the rest of his life. Our Advisory Council chair, Broderick Johnson, our Advisory Council, the entire MBK Alliance team, and I all share that same devotion and passion.

It’s been a privilege to work alongside you in 2018 to build an unstoppable movement for our boys and young men, and we are even more excited about the breakthroughs and bold moves that will come in the year ahead.

If you can, I invite you to make a tax-deductible donation to support our work. Together, we can build on the progress we’ve made and advance opportunity for aspiring young leaders throughout 2019 and beyond.

With love and gratitude,

Executive Director, MBK Alliance & Director, Youth Opportunity Programs

2018 Obama Foundation Summit Discussion Featuring Community Challenge Competition Winners

From November 18-19, the Foundation held its 2018 Summit in Chicago to help advance an ongoing conversation on what community leadership in action means today. MBK Alliance Executive Director Michael Smith was joined on the mainstage by two organizations selected as winners of the MBK Community Challenge Competition. The panelists included Frank Mirabal, MBK Director and Director of Community Engagement, City of Albuquerque, Quincy Walker, NACA youth leader, A.J. Watson, National Director of Becoming A Man (B.A.M.), Youth Guidance, Chicago, and Jose Guzman, Youth Leader, B.A.M. The conversation explored how these local communities have taken up the mantle of change to support boys and young men of color before and since President Obama launched MBK. Watch the full conversation here.

 Announcing MBK Rising!

On February 18-20, MBK Alliance will host its first national convening. The gathering will take place in Oakland, CA, marking the fifth anniversary of the initial launch of My Brother’s Keeper by President Obama. It will bring together the growing network of MBK Communities and communities focused on boys and young men of color, elected officials, and cross-sector leaders to join President Obama to celebrate progress, spotlight what’s working, and uplift the voices of youth.

MBK Rising! is an invitation-only event, but interested young men and practitioners working to address aligned issues can submit a video online for a chance to attend. View more information about MBK Rising! and the application process.

MBK Network

In November, the MBK Alliance launched a new learning community and support system for MBK leaders that will provide support, resources, and opportunities to build on local success and create lasting change. Working in collaboration with the National League of Cities, MBK Alliance will provide ongoing technical assistance, including webinars that will equip leaders with the information and tools needed to strengthen the MBK support system in communities across the country. Learn more.

Get Involved—Become a Mentor Today

January is National Mentor Month! Data shows that boys and young men of color, regardless of socio-economic background, are disproportionately at risk throughout the journey from their youngest years to college and careers. Join the movement to break down opportunity barriers for our youth. Become a mentor today.

Mentoring Kings

Mentoring Kings is a new TV special that celebrates national mentoring programs of celebrities, business entrepreneurs, educators, and political and community leaders. Airing this month on television networks across the country, Mentor Kings tells in-depth stories of Black men who have played a major role that ultimately leads youth to make positive contributions to their communities. Be sure to tune in to watch the MBK Alliance’s very own Michael Smith as he shares his experiences as a mentor and discusses the importance of getting involved in a young person’s life. Check your local listings and watch Mentoring Kings this holiday season.