Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Detroit rates highest in efforts to support black male achievement

Detroit ranks first in efforts to reduce disparities and expand opportunities for boys and men of color, a study conducted by the national Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) finds.

CBMA rated 50 U.S. cities using the following factors:

  • City-led commitment to supporting and addressing challenges facing black men and boys
  • Number of local organizations and leaders that are members of CBMA
  • Local presence of leading national programs, initiatives and organizations supporting black men and boys
  • Amount of targeted philanthropic funding focused on black men and boys

Detroit scored 95 out of 100 points, closely followed by Oakland, CA and Washington, D.C.; the median score was an abysmal 48.5.

Why empowering black males is important

Boys and men of color face unique obstacles to achieving success in school, work and life. The CBMA study points to a few key statistics, including:

  • The unemployment rate for black males is nearly double that of all males (15 percent vs 8 percent).
  • For the same offense, black students are three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. Black students as young as five are routinely suspended and expelled from schools for minor infractions like talking back to teachers or writing on their desks.
  • With similar credentials, white job applicants are 50 percent more likely to get a call from prospective employers than black applicants with “ethnic-sounding” names.
  • People of all races use and sell drugs at remarkably similar rates, however, black youths are 48 times more likely to be incarcerated for drug offenses than their white peers for identical drug crimes.

“If we don’t figure out how to really equip this population and engage them in our society in a productive way, then access to prosperity for all of us declines,” says Skillman Foundation President and CEO Tonya Allen. “If we want our city to come back and be sustainable, then we as a community are going to have to make sure boys and men of color are engaged and are part of the solution.”

Get more info

The Detroit Free Press published an article about Detroit’s top ranking and included two compelling perspectives from black male Detroiters. Read the article here.

Download CBMA’s full report, The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement.

Get involved

The Skillman Foundation is working in partnership with the city of Detroit to support and engage young men of color through My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative launched by President Obama in 2014 that calls on communities across the country to help put black men on the path to success. Learn how you can get involved in My Brother’s Keeper Detroit at

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