Event highlighting Black male achievement part of $1 million effort aimed at boosting number of college-ready Black male youth
by Bilen Mesfin
Oakland – African American young men from the San Francisco Bay Area who are graduating from high school and heading to college took center stage June 3 at a unique graduation ceremony aimed at celebrating and amplifying their achievements.
The event is part of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation’s College Bound Brotherhood, a college readiness program that aims to expand the number of young Black men in the San Francisco Bay Area who are prepared for college. Youth participating in the event are eligible for a $100 stipend to defray the cost of college books.
“African American young men are assets that we can’t afford to lose and, when they earn college degrees, the economic and social benefits impact all of us,” said Cedric Brown, CEO of the Kapor Foundation. “All too often, these young men and their accomplishments are overlooked and dismissed. The Kapor Foundation is proud to celebrate young Black men who are on their way toward creating change for themselves, their families and our communities.”
Across the nation and locally, African American young men are graduating from high school at alarmingly low rates, and even fewer are ready for a college education. In 2009, for every 100 graduating Bay Area seniors, only four were African American males, and only one African American male was eligible to attend a California State or University of California institution.
African American young men are graduating from high school at alarmingly low rates, and even fewer are ready for a college education. In 2009, for every 100 graduating Bay Area seniors, only four were African American males.
Since the launch of the College Bound Brotherhood in 2008, the Kapor Foundation has distributed more than $1 million in grants to organizations that support young Black men through college readiness workshops, college tours, academic coaching, mentoring and much more. The foundation will issue a call by May 15 for another round of $25,000 grants to community organizations working on college readiness for young Black men. Information on how to apply will be available on mkf.org.
“Black males are underemployed, undereducated and undervalued,” said Monique August, executive director of the Choose College Educational Foundation, a Kapor Foundation grant partner. “By investing in these youth, we are not only uplifting the lives of the young males, but enhancing the livelihood of our entire society. The graduation celebration combats stereotypes and statistics of Black male achievement and is a catalyst for hope and pride in our communities.”
Black males are underemployed, undereducated and undervalued. The graduation celebration combats stereotypes and statistics of Black male achievement and is a catalyst for hope and pride in our communities.
In addition to strategic grantmaking, the foundation builds a college-bound culture for young Black men through collegeboundbros.org, a public database of college-readiness programs; the Brotherhood Leadership Advisory Council; and the annual “Black & Proud to be College Bound” conference.
Founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Mitchell Kapor in 1997, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation supports organizations that provoke social change in communities of color en route to equality. Through strategic grantmaking, the foundation currently supports efforts in three areas of work: Voting Integrity and Civic Engagement, the College Bound Brotherhood and Information Technology for Social Impact. The foundation also provides assistance and advising to build the capacity of the organizations it serves. For more information, visit mkf.org.
Bilen Mesfin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.