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Can Philanthropy Reduce Minority Incarceration

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Several foundations joined President  Obama in February to announce the White House initiative “My Brother’s Keeper” where $200-million in new grants over the next five years are for programs designed to improve the lives of young black and Hispanic men. Foundation participants  included representatives of the Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations

The White House announced that the $200-million in new gifts is in addition to $150-million that members of the grant-making alliance had already earmarked for programs to assist young black and Latino men. The foundation members will “design a strategy and infrastructure for coordination of these investments,” according to a White House statement.

Members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, a group of 29 grant makers that joined forces last year to boost philanthropic efforts to help young minority males, announced the pledge just ahead of the White House meeting.

The administration will not seek any federal money to advance programs to help young black men, according to the statement, but will form an interagency effort called My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, chaired by Broderick Johnson, an assistant to the president. The committee will seek to identify areas in which the federal government can work with philanthropic organizations to reduce incarceration, increase job placement, and improve education among young minority males.

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