FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Apr 22, 2016
Announcement includes more than 125 AmeriCorps members in Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of today’s release of the My Brother’s Keeper 2016 Progress Report, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced new commitments that will help meet the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) milestones. More than $11 million in new programming includes new AmeriCorps VISTA programs with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and Social Innovation Fund grants through the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Youthprise.
“As a nation, there is much more we can do to help our young people stay on track and reach their full potential in life,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We are thrilled to join other committed partners to launch new AmeriCorps and Social Innovation programs that will put hundreds of young people on a path to success in school and life.”
Through a new partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an independent nonprofit committed to uniting leaders across philanthropic, nonprofit, and private sectors to improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color, CNCS will place up to 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members in MBK communities across the country each year. The AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve through local organizations to advance MBK initiative milestones.
Additional AmeriCorps VISTA partnerships in Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico will address opportunity gaps and ensure young people can reach their full potential. In Santa Fe, N.M., an MBK community, AmeriCorps VISTA members will develop and implement a pilot Mentoring, Tutoring, & Internship Hub; coordinate out-of-school time programs; research best practices and support grant writing; and develop community outreach strategies for early childhood issues and ways to reach disconnected youth. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, MBK AmeriCorps VISTA members will create youth leadership councils to provide young people the platform to voice their needs and help design the programs most beneficial to them, as well as support career readiness and apprenticeship programs. They will also create an MBK Partners Institute to help build the professional capacity of small, local community organizations working to achieve MBK milestones.
CNCS, in collaboration with the Michigan Community Service Commission, will place 12 AmeriCorps VISTA members in Michigan Regional Prosperity Zones to develop and implement an action plan to help youth reach their full potential. Beginning in June, AmeriCorps members will assist designated communities and tribes with improving mentoring, job training, and skill development services for young people. These AmeriCorps members will serve in Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Port Heron, Saginaw, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties, as well as the Chippewa Tribe in Sault St. Marie and the Huron Potawatomi-Nottawseppi Tribe in Battle Creek.
CNCS also announced two Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grantees to support evidence-based models for opportunity youth. SIF awarded $1.8 million to Annie E. Casey Foundation to fund 10 organizations that will increase employment and educational opportunities for youth who have been involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, or who are homeless. SIF also awarded Youthprise $3.75 million over three years to six organizations across Minnesota that provide wraparound services to address the discrepancy between high school graduation and employment for youth that are either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, or disconnected from school and education. In addition, the SIF will announce more than $3 million in Pay For Success grants to nearly 20 organizations in more than 10 communities to support MBK-related initiatives.
“My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) and AmeriCorps VISTA’s partnership is one that gives me great hope and pride,” said Blair Taylor, CEO of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. “MBKA is thrilled to put boots on the ground to build capacity around powerful place-based work started long before President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper. We are eager to recruit passionate and committed young people to serve as MBKA VISTAs and look forward to working with powerful partners to march forward on this critical work in short order.”
“The Annie E. Casey Foundation has long been committed to ensuring all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and the increased national attention on boys and young men of color aligns well with our focus on addressing the challenges facing these youth,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We’re excited about helping even more young people of color get on paths to success through our new Social Innovation Fund initiative.”
“I’m excited about the newly adopted My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Santa Fe, as well as the new partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA which will support the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to improve the lives of Santa Fe’s Youth,” said Mayor Javier Gonzales, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In addition to today’s announcements, CNCS and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership recently launched Mentor.gov, an online search engine to connect Americans to mentoring opportunities. The new site supports MBK’s call to action for Americans to make a difference in the lives of young people through mentoring. Research shows that the presence of a mentor in a young person’s life significantly improves their potential for success.
On February 27, 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative to address opportunity gaps faced by boys and young people of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Through this initiative, the Administration has joined cities, towns, businesses, and foundations that have taken steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and skills they need to find a good job or go to college. Today, the Administration released a two-year report outlining milestones and progress on key priority areas, as well as new federal investments to support the initiative.
Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Social Innovation Fund programs, CNCS helps advance MBK by increasing entry-level job opportunities and providing access to mentorship and apprenticeship options for all young people, including boys and young men of color. Today’s announcements build on previous commitments from CNCS that underscore the President’s belief that all young people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. Previous CNCS MBK programs include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to fund Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, a landmark partnership with the USDA’s Forest Service, and Aspire Mentoring Academy Corps, a collaboration with AT&T and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
About MBK Alliance
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) born out of President Obama’s call to action to ensure all of our nation’s boys and young men of color (BYMOC) have equal opportunity to live up to their full potential. In order to improve life outcomes, MBK Alliance is working to elevate the voices of our nation’s BYMOC and to unite business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community leaders, and youth around this critical work. This collaborative, cross-sectoral movement led by MBK Alliance is breaking down barriers that BYMOC disproportionately face along the life path to create lasting social change. MBK Alliance was established in 2015 and appointed former Starbucks executive Blair Taylor as CEO in April 2016.