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Foundations Form Initiative to Address Needs of Boys of Color

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This is a cross post from District Dossier.

The leaders of a philanthropic consortium are pouring $10 million into an effort to identify and target the needs of black, Latino, American Indian, and Asian American boys and men.

The RISE (Research, Integration, Strategy and Evaluation) Collaborative for Boys and Men of Color aims to improve the lives of boys and men of color in four areas, including education, health, criminal justice, and economic opportunity and workforce development.

The effort will support better links among researchers, evaluators, educators, and community activists to share knowledge, sponsor new research and evaluation projects to identify solutions to problems faced by boys of color, and build a web portal to house releated research and tools to establish a virtual community.

Led by the Atlantic Philanthropiesthe W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Executives' Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and and Men of Color--a consortium of nearly 40 foundations, will fund the three-year initiative. (Atlantic Philanthropies helps support coverage of school climate issues in Education Week.)

Shaun Harper, the executive director of the Center for Race & Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and Sharon Norris-Shelton of Equal Measure, formerly the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, will co-direct the effort.

"Efforts like RISE are essential in helping this nation address the burdens of inequity that so many children and families of color face. And, no demographic bears those burdens more intensely than boys and men of color," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"We are optimistic that what is learned through these research efforts can ultimately be used to help change hearts and minds, inform policy decisionmaking at all levels and address the structural inequities that limit opportunities for young men of color."

Improving the lives of boys of color has emerged as an urgent public policy issue in the last couple of years, most recently evidenced by President Barack Obama's collection of initiatives known as "My Brother's Keeper," which dozens of big-city school districts have joined.

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