My Brother's Keeper: 90 Days In

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Three months ago, President Obama launched the My Brother's Keeper initiative – aimed at expanding opportunities for America's boys and young men of color, and ensuring all young people can reach their full potential.

Through the initiative, the Administration is joining with cities, towns, businesses, and foundations that are working to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class. And the President wants everyone to get involved by signing up to mentor young people in their own communities.

As a part of the launch, the President established the My Brother's Keeper Task Force to develop a "coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color ... and their contributions to U.S. prosperity." Today, he met with the Task Force to receive a report on the progress made in the first 90 days of the initiative, as well as an initial set of recommendations.

In developing its recommendations, the Task Force identified key milestones in the path to adulthood that are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact:

  1. Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn
  2. Reading at grade level by third grade
  3. Graduating from high school ready for college and career
  4. Completing post-secondary education or training
  5. Successfully entering the workforce
  6. Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances

By focusing on these moments, and helping our youth avoid roadblocks that hinder progress across life stages, we can help ensure that all children and young people have the tools they need to build successful lives.

President Barack Obama holds a My Brother's Keeper Task Force Cabinet meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 20, 2014.

President Barack Obama holds a My Brother's Keeper Task Force Cabinet meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 30, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The recommendations mark the starting point of a long-term effort, as the Task Force and public, private, and philanthropic actors will continue to develop recommendations and support community solutions well beyond this 90-day progress report.

And in the coming weeks and months, leading foundations will announce commitments to help make sure that young people can succeed. The following foundations will together seek to invest at least $200 million:

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • The Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • The California Endowment
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • The Open Society Foundations
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • The Kapor Center for Social Impact
  • The Nathan Cummings Foundation

As the President made clear in today's remarks, ensuring that young people stay on track and achieve their full potential requires an all-hands-on-deck approach:

The bottom line is this:  As we approach Father’s Day, I’m just reminded that I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me.  We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them.  And I want to make sure that I use this platform, and every Cabinet member here wants to make sure that they use the tools that they’ve got, so that these young men, young boys, know somebody cares about them, somebody is thinking about them, and that they can succeed, and making America stronger as a consequence.

Sign up to be a mentor to a young person in your community, and find mentorship opportunities in your local area.

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Related Topics: Jobs, Education, California