President gains support of “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative

President Barack Obama held an event in the East Room of the White House to unveil his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. He took action in partnership with foundations, businesses, and others to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential. Building on his Year of Action, this new initiative is another way the President will use his pen and his phone, involving both the private and public sectors, to expand opportunity for Americans.

The President was joined at the event by a wide group of stakeholders who share our interest in helping put these boys and young men of color on the path to success, including foundation and business leaders, faith leaders, state and local officials. Boys and young men of color will also attend the event, including participants of a Chicago-based group, Becoming a Man, a Youth Guidance program, which the President has previously visited with in Chicago and at the White House.

“I was galvanized and honored to be present to witness the launch of President Barack Obama’s bold new initiative, “My Brothers Keeper”, that will focus on providing opportunities for boys and young men of color … the Initiative is committed to utilizing proven tools to ensure access to basic health and nutrition, provide high-quality early education, and help young men stay in school and find a good job,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network.

The President was also joined by public sector leaders including General Colin Powell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Honorable Michael Bloomberg. Additionally, several other prominent members of the business community—including Rosalind Brewer of Sam’s Club, Ken Chenault of American Express, and Don Thompson of McDonald’s—have already expressed their support for this effort, and the White House expects additional commitments in the coming days and months.

Foundations joining the President for the announcement, included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Calif-ornia Endowment, The Ford Foundation, The John and James L. Knight Foundation, The Open Society Foundations, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Kapor Center for Social Impact. Many of the foundations are members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color – a coalition of philanthropic institutions committed to leveraging philanthropy’s role in improving life outcomes for boys and men of color. W.K. Kellogg Foundation applauds President Obama’s initiative. La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, said, “We applaud President Obama for elevating the obstacles faced by young men and boys of color to a national priority. Boys and men of color must overcome barriers that are rooted in historic patterns of racial bias, segregation and poverty,

Sammie Dow, NAACP Youth and College Director, “President Obama’s announcement represents a significant milestone for young people of color throughout this country,” stated Sammie Dow, NAACP Youth and College Director. The ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative shows what can be done when we’re all willing to work together for the causes of justice and equality.”

Pastor Michael McBride, director of the PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign, said, “Widening the national circle of concern to tackle the particularly unique challenges of boys and men of color in America through My Brother’s Keeper is a long awaited and powerful next step toward living up to the promise of America – that all are created equal and all deserve to live free.”