New My Brother’s Keeper Rule Means Almost No Black Orgs Can Participate

= UPDATE = May 1, 6:34 pm EST = National Urban League Chief Morial wrote to DOJ on 45 state rule
RELATED =  April 30,
My Brother’s Keeper Language on DOJ Youth Mentoring Grant Vanishes

RELATED = May 1, 100 Black Men Chair Comments on Brown’s letter

Who Will Be Able to Participate in My Brother’s Keeper? A letter sent to the Obama Administration expressed concerns that a new grant requirement in the My Brother’s Keeper initiative would effectively mBrownexclude almost all African American social, civic and mentoring organizations from participating.

The new rule (at bottom) requirement for My Brother’s Keeper grant eligibility states that applicants must be “national organizations defined as having active chapters or subawardees in at least 45 states.”

A letter expressing concern over the change, written by the national President of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., states that  President Obama originally announced on February 24, 2014 that a group must have a “active presence” in 30 states — not 45.  Brown’s letter requests a reversal of the rule change.  See the entire letter here.

The change from 30 to 45 states would effectively mean that almost no Black civic, social or mentoring organizations, other than perhaps the NAACP, would be eligible for funding under My Brother’s Keeper.  Only the NAACP has a “active presence” in at least 45 states.

The 45 state rule requirement would mean that small community based organizations would be out of the running for funding.

“I am writing to express our concern for the change in direction for the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative,” wrote Michael J. Brown, President of 100 Black Men of America, in a letter to the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  The letter was dated April 28, 2014. 

Brown asserted in his letter that the 45 state eligibility requirement would not only exclude 100 Black Men of America, Inc. but would likely exclude the National Urban League and possibly the NAACP.  According to a map on the NAACP website, the MBK1NAACP, which was founded in 1909, has chapters in every state but North Dakota.  But the NAACP is not known for focusing on the type of issues that the My Brother’s Keeper initiative seeks to focus on around youth mentoring.

Not even the National Urban League, founded in 1910, has chapters in 45 states. The National Action Network, established in 1991, has at least one chapter in 34 states according their website’s chapter map.

The full requirements can be seen in full here.

Brown’s letter stated that, “since 1963, the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. has embraced challenges impacting black boys… as you could imagine, as a national organization with a presence in thirty-plus states, we were indeed pleased to see that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention had finally extended an opportunity for historically excluded opportunities to fully participate in the national funding opportunities available… Unfortunately our jubilation was short lived, as your office’s revised RFP of April 10, 2014, quickly quelled any hopes we had of enriching and expanding the services we currently provide for the children that we serve.”

Brown added that the requirement change, “dashed any hopes that such venerable institutions as the National Urban League, the NAACP and each of the nine Historically Black Greek Letter Organizations may have had in competing in this significant funding opportunity.”

The rule change also states that organizations can’t join together to hit the 45 state requirement.  “For purposes
of this solicitation, two or more independent organizations that form a collaborative to cover 45
states do not meet the definition of a national organization,” reads the April 11 directive.

No government funding will go to My Brother’s Keeper but the grant process and requirements are administered by the Department of Justice.  Ten foundations, including Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies and W.K. Kellogg Foundation will fund My Brother’s Keeper.  The charities have agreed to invest at least $200 million collectively over five years.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Obama Administration officials Jim Shelton and Broderick Johnson on the rule change issue yesterday on Capitol Hill.



lauren victoria burke
About the Author
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, strategist and political analyst. She created, a blog that on the work of Black members of Congress, in 2009. She has been a Senate and House staffer and has had a very diverse career in politics and media. Ms. Burke appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne and MSNBC. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail anytime: Twitter: @Crewof42. Instagram: LVB325.
  1. Zaid Reply

    The rationale to select 45 states is creative red-lining. I don’t think for a minute the architects’ of these requirements overlooked the fact this rule excludes community based African American organizations.

  2. Otim Reply

    Sadly it seems that the idea that “government” will take care of all our needs still lingers in our heads. This gross misconception is, in my opinion, has been the cause of our demise as a people. Until we love our “BLACK” selves nobody else will. Think of the billions of dollars out of a trillion we spend every year with Indians and Koreans just on hair and related products. I won’t go into the money we throw away on all the other B/S that you know all too well. When will the day come when we will take care of our needs without having to rely on those who have planned and are currently executing our total extinction. Ever since Nat Turner’s Revolt in 1831 that has been “their” objective. Do a search and read the speech to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1832 by Henry Berry. As Dr. Chancellor Wms said in “DESTRUCTION OF.BLACK CIVILIZATION”, “This us not the ranting of wild eyed militancy, but the calm and unmistakeable verdict of 4,000 years of documented history.” We must fund our own freedom if we as people are to be “without the economic and political constraints of another”. Peace

  3. Carol L. Henry Reply

    It’s so sad that there is controversy regarding this matter but it’s clearly understandable that this would happen when you have “fake” people like Regina Evans, former Chicago police lieutenant and former police chief of Country Club Hills, abusing grants for “fake” organizations like We Are Our Brother’s Keeper. As desperate as the need is for organizations that can offer our young Black males an alternative to being statistics to a life of crime, jail or even death, it’s a shame that one apple will spoil the bunch!! I pray that God delivers a solution. God Bless!!

  4. Bridge the Gap Reply

    Or the money will go to municipalities with significant Black population that don’t hire people of African descent or those not connected to politicians. In many cities, barely any Blacks get jobs from stimulus package funding, “Childhood obesity” , Let’s move programs, or in Education. Things are more acute in smaller , medium size “urban towns”. No one is saying anything. Black people tend not to speak with each other. NAACP or Urban League are not too involved in smaller New England cities and towns.

    For instance, in a medium size New England town of about 60,000, for about close to 10,000 Black residents, there are barely 10 Blacks all together full time in the payroll including police, school, teachers ,DPW workers, or firefighters. One has to be careful not to use the word “Black”, or “African American” in many New England areas. See 2013-14 example for teachers in a smaller school district close to 70% children of color – 21% or little over 2,000 are Black, mostly foreign or immigrant Blacks. Many who live in the city dispute the following numbers of ethnic minority teachers.
    Black 3.0, 0.8%
    Asian 9.0, 2.3%
    Latino 11, .5 3.0%
    White 364. 1, 93%

  5. Anonymous Reply

    this is how the white establishment liberals set it up. they want to control and design the black experience because they believe that they know what’s best for you. white organization will design brothers keeper. typical paternal arrangement.

    • Carol L. Henry Reply

      Its just so very disturbing that the only organization our young Black males have unrestrained access to is the penal system!! SMDH!! Change has got to come soon!!

  6. Robert Phillips Reply

    I think you might be misinformed Currently, there’s hasn’t been any funding released related to My Brother’s Keeper. By any agency or foundation

    • lauren victoria burke
      lauren victoria burke Reply

      Part of the President’s stated mission back in Feb. was to use EXISTING programs withing the federal gov’t to advance the goals of My Brother’s Keeper. That was part of what his MBK Executive Order (signed after the Feb. announcement) stated. Now look at the top of the DOJ mentoring grant.

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