Chicago, Ill.—Leaders of 26 of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations met in Chicago in early April to consider issues facing boys and men of color in the United States. The gathering was held concurrent with the annual meeting of the Council on Foundations.
The unprecedented meeting of foundations active in the field had a tone of hope and urgency. The undersigned foundations pledged to form an alliance to address the issues, explore promising strategies and research the data to support action.
The group notes with alarm the rates of violence and incarceration across the nation, particularly among Black men and boys of color. In comparison to their white counterparts, homicide rates among Black males remain more than 13 times greater, while incarceration rates remain more than seven times greater. Similarly, Latino males’ educational attainment and employment rates lag significantly compared to those of white males. Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American male populations have similar glaring disparate outcomes along an array of social determinants of health indices.
We believe that investments in creating structures and pathways to opportunity and inclusion for these boys and young men will improve the economic and civic well-being of the whole nation. All 26 foundations are currently engaged in or are developing targeted investment strategies in the area to address this as a problem area; others are focusing efforts to engage Black men and boys as community assets and to leverage the work already being done in communities.
We commit to forming a national philanthropic alliance or federation that will evaluate promising approaches, advocate for effective public policy and systems change, and invest in these young men as assets for America’s future. That alliance will also examine, recommend and, where appropriate, individually or collectively support efforts at national, regional and local levels, by business, government or individuals, to explicitly engage in improving life chances for boys and men of color.
The philanthropic alliance will encourage collaborations among foundations, with government and the private sector, particularly focused on ways to give voice to boys and men of color as they engage in determining their own future.
Over the coming weeks, it was the sense of the meeting that we should first, alert our colleagues in philanthropy of this opportunity and call on them to join us. The group will also refine strategies going forward and plan further convenings to take concrete action.
The foundations wishing to make public their engagement in this field-building effort, and in agreement with this statement of intent, are:
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Boston Foundation
California Community Foundation
The California Endowment
Casey Family Programs
The Community Foundation of South Alabama
The Denver Foundation
Foundation for the Mid-South
Headwaters Foundation for Justice
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Kresge Foundation
Liberty Hill Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Mitchell Kapor Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Schott Foundation for Public Education
Sierra Health Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter www.rwjf.org/twitter or Facebook www.rwjf.org/facebook.