Soros Pledges $30 Million to Transform the Lives of NYC’s Most Vulnerable Black and Latino Boys

NEW YORK—Building on its long commitment to reverse systemic injustices in the United States, the Open Society Foundations today announced that it is joining a new initiative to address broad disparities facing black and Latino boys and men in New York City.

The partnership with New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative follows the Foundations’ successful effort to address injustice in the education system in Baltimore, begun in 1998, as well as a nationwide Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

“The Young Men’s Initiative is a sorely needed, comprehensive program that aims to transform the lives of New York’s most vulnerable children,” said George Soros, chairman of the Open Society Foundations. “I believe this will help make our city a stronger and better place and set an example for the rest of the country.”

Fewer than half  of all African American boys finish high school and a mere 18 percent of black males aged 18 to 21 are enrolled in college. The three-year, $30 million investment by the Open Society Foundations will support a diverse set of programs—including those focusing on the “school-to-prison” pipeline.  

 “The problems facing young men of color in this city do not exist in a vacuum,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, board chair of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. “We cannot exclude and subjugate broad segments of our citizenry without damaging democracy and open society values for all, which is why the Open Society Foundations is joining in this effort.”

In addition to support from the Open Society Foundations, the Young Men’s Initiative will receive $67.5 million in city funding and a three year, $30 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.