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Promising a Better Future for our Black Men and Boys

Now, more than ever, Detroit needs its Black men and boys. As the city continues to experience an exciting recovery, it’s important that boys and men of color have an active role in the new economic and social opportunities that are arising. We, at the Skillman Foundation, are committed to using an equity lens to create access and opportunity for young men of color through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper Detroit.

Though this is challenging work, we are not alone. There is a growing collective of local and national organizations that recognize our country’s success depends on nurturing the talents of each of our citizens. In other words, when Black men and boys succeed, we all succeed.

The Skillman Foundation is proud to work alongside organizations like Detroit Parent Network, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Don Bosco Hall and others to build community-based programs that have a tremendous impact on Black men and boys in Detroit.

As a result of these combined efforts, Detroit received a Black Male Achievement City Index Score of 95, tied with Washington D.C. for first among 50 cities surveyed in the Campaign for Black Male Achievements’ 2017 Promise of Place Report. As a proud member of CBMA’s board, I am encouraged to see more national attention being focused on the innovative work being done by grassroots organizations in Detroit.

From the data collected on Detroit, the report highlights a few key results of our progress as well as noting work that still needs to be done:

  • Detroit scored a 95 in CBMA's 2018 Promise of Place ReportDetroit received a 95 on the Black Male Achievement City Index, tying Washington D.C. for the highest scored cities showing visible level of engagement and committed action on behalf of Black men and boys
  • Stakeholders believe that goals for increasing well-being and life outcomes for Black men and boys are clear and publically declared
  • City administration commitment to black men and boys scores high, but sustainability, strategy, and outcomes must be improved

This year’s report also detailed important progress being made across the country on behalf of Black men and boys:

  • 62% of cities showed an increase in overall Black Male Achievement City Index Score since 2015
  • There was a 13% increase in total CBMA individual membership numbers of all 50 cities, showing greater engagement across the nation
  • 92% of the 50 cities scored have now accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge
  • 26% of cities showed a high level of engagement and committed action to improving life outcomes for Black men and boys (up from 18% in 2015)
  • 36% of cities have a city-led imitative focused on Black men and boys

The progress and accomplishments highlighted in this year’s Promise of Place report serve as encouragement, but also an important reminder of efforts we must continue and strengthen in order for youth of color to have equitable access to opportunity. My hope is that this report will be used as a blueprint for cities to continue to improve their programs in years to come.

For those looking to support young people in Detroit, whether you’ve established a program or just have a great idea and need help bringing it to life, the Skillman Foundation, in partnership with CBMA and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, is launching the second iteration of the MBK Detroit Innovation Challenge. The Challenge will not only support ideas to expand opportunities for young males of color, but also girls and young women through the addition of a My Sister’s Keeper track. Stay tuned for an announcement in early spring, to be posted on our blog, newsletter, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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