NEW YORK – Nearly every major indicator of economic, social, and physical well-being shows that black men and boys in the U.S. do not have access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive. It is within this context that the Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations jointly release a new report of groundbreaking research entitled Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys.
“It is my hope that this report will motivate other philanthropists and foundations to invest in efforts to improve achievement by African American boys and men,” said George Soros, founder of the Open Society Foundations. “This is a generational problem that demands a long-term commitment.”
This report is the first of its kind to document the wide variety of philanthropic activity in support of black men and boys, raising the visibility of critical issues facing communities across the nation. The research reveals that annual funding designated for black men and boys has been rising steadily, from $10 million in 2003 to $29 million in 2010. Education is a top funding priority for this group: between 2008 and 2010, education garnered 40 percent of these grant dollars.
In addition to providing crucial baseline numbers against which future giving can be compared, the report also describes several foundation initiatives across the U.S. that address structural barriers and improve the lives of black men and boys. For example, in 2011 George Soros and Michael Bloomberg each contributed $30 million to a New York City program designed to improve the life outcomes of black and Latino males. The effort is a leading example of public-private partnerships taking shape across the country. And in Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation recently launched the only major philanthropic initiative focused on black male youth involved in the delinquency system.
The Open Society Foundations’ Campaign for Black Male Achievement commissioned the report from the Foundation Center, which used available data to examine U.S. foundation giving explicitly in support of black males by issue area, type of support, and geographic area served. The report also explores “implicit” funding in which black males are likely to represent a majority of clients or beneficiaries served, but are not part of an explicitly named program.
“This report vividly portrays a stark reality that has haunted this country for far too long,” said Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center. “But it also provides solid data and compelling stories that illustrate what America’s foundations are doing to turn the tide.”
Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys can be downloaded for free at the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center’s web site and at the Open Society Foundations web site.