New Research on the Field of Black Male Achievement Highlights Successes and Opportunities

New York, NY—The Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations today released a report entitled Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement. It is the latest addition to a growing suite of resources at BMAfunders.org, a web portal that facilitates engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among those working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America. Based on interviews with 50 leaders in the social, academic, government, and business sectors, the report maps the landscape of work in this area and offers recommendations for what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward.

This publication is a timely resource in light of a growing chorus of national initiatives focused on improving the economic, social, and physical well-being of black males. These include President Obama’s announcement in February launching My Brother’s Keeper, a public-private partnership supporting young men of color, and the formation of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, launched last year by 26 foundation leaders.

“The barriers to success that black men face have been in plain sight for decades, so it is particularly heartening to see a movement taking shape that is specifically crafted to address these challenges and change the odds for one of the most disenfranchised populations in America,” said Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, in the report’s afterword. “We are moving in the right direction, but we need to keep in mind that our commitment must be for the long haul.”

Building a Beloved Community, commissioned from the Foundation Center by the Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement, explores diverse, multi-disciplinary, and cross-sector efforts in the field. The leaders interviewed for the report include Robert K. Ross, president of the California Endowment; Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation; and Emmett Carson, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. It also includes a foreword by respected philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz, an afterword by Geoffrey Canada, and a conclusion offering a vision for success.

“This report provides a snapshot of the breadth and depth of engagement in the field of black male achievement in this pivotal moment,” said Seema Shah, director of research for special projects at the Foundation Center and lead author of the report. “Our hope is that it contributes to ongoing efforts to boost strategic collaboration and invites individuals and organizations from every sector and area of the country to see the role they can play in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys.”

The new report is complemented by additional content at BMAfunders.org, including podcasts from interviews and resources referenced in the volume. This qualitative report builds on the 2012 groundbreaking quantitative research in Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, the most comprehensive documentation of the wide variety of philanthropic activity in support of black men and boys. At BMAfunders.org, visitors can also explore a mapping tool that fosters collaboration by showing who's funding what programs where; sign up for e-mail updates to learn about news and events related to black male achievement; and submit grants data, case studies, and philanthropic milestones. Updates are also on Twitter at @BMAfunders.

Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement can be downloaded for free at the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's website and on the Open Society Foundations website.

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About the Foundation Center

Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants—a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

About the Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities in more than 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.