Mayor de Blasio Accepts President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge

September 30, 2014

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that he is accepting the President's My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Community Challenge to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. The President's initiative seeks to organize and capitalize on the commitment of community leaders in order to reach its goal.

President Obama launched My Brother's Keeper (MBK) on February 27 this year underscoring the work of the New York City's Young Men's Initiative (YMI) and acknowledging that the national program's goals, strategies and model were based in part on YMI.

"New York City is very proud to have provided guidance to the White House as they developed My Brother's Keeper," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "My administration has programs underway that deeply share the spirit and the imperative of MBK, such as universal pre-kindergarten and the expansion of middle school after-school programs. By accepting the MBK Community Challenge, we pledge to continue our public investments and maintain our data-driven approach to tracking outcomes for young black and Latino men and provide them with the opportunities they deserve to be able to succeed."

The inspiration for My Brother's Keeper came last year, after President Obama indicated in public remarks a need for programs and policies that "bolster and reinforce young men of color." Later that year, staff from YMI were invited to the White House by Jonathan Greenblatt, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Domestic Policy Council to present the work done in New York City.

Launched in August 2011 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Young Men's Initiative is the nation's most comprehensive municipal strategy tackling disparities faced by young men of color. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Young Men's Initiative has reinforced its commitment to work with stakeholders in government and philanthropy to ensure young men of color are supported as they navigate their way to adulthood.

New York City will meet the MBK challenge in four steps:

  1. Ensure optimal educational, social and career ready outcomes for school age children from prekindergarten to after they graduate from high school.
  2. Convene a Local Action Summit to build an NYC MBK Community with external and internal stakeholders.
  3. Perform a policy review and recommendations for future actions. This entails indexing existing local policies, programs, and practices to introduce or expand on existing efforts to better serve the needs of the city's youth.
  4. Launch a plan of action and a 180-day timetable from the day the City accepts the challenge.

Currently, the NYC Young Men's Initiative is supported with an annual $22.5 million City tax levy investment in programs designed to improve outcomes for black and Latino young men in the domains of education, justice, employment, and health. In addition to City funding, YMI is supported by a $60 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

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