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

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.