Soros, Foundation Center Document Philanthropic Support for Black Males

New study shows steadily rising charitable activity for black men and boys

Open Society Foundations and the Foundation Center released a new study on Monday that documents the variety of philanthropic activity in support of black men and boys in the U.S.

The study, Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, was conducted in the context of major indicators showing that black men and boys do not have access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive economically, socially and physically, the two organizations said in a joint statement.

The statement said the new report was the first of its kind to document the wide variety of philanthropic activity in support of the black males, raising the visibility of critical issues facing communities across the nation.

The research reveals that annual funding designated for black men and boys has been rising steadily, from $10 million in 2003 to $29 million in 2010, with education garnering 40% of these grant dollars between 2008 and 2010.

George Soros“It is my hope that this report will motivate other philanthropists and foundations to invest in efforts to improve achievement by African-American boys and men,” Open Society Foundations founder George Soros (left) said in the statement. “This is a generational problem that demands a long-term commitment.”

Besides providing crucial baseline numbers against which future giving can be compared, the report also describes several foundation initiatives across the U.S. that address structural barriers and improve the lives of black men and boys.

In New York, for example, Soros and Mayor Michael Bloomberg each contributed $30 million in 2011 to a city program designed to improve the life outcomes of black and Latino males.

Other public-private partnerships are taking shape across the country. In Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation recently launched the only major philanthropic initiative focused on black male youth involved in the delinquency system.

The Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement commissioned the report from the Foundation Center, which used available data to examine U.S. foundation giving explicitly in support of black males by issue area, type of support and geographic area served.

The report also explored “implicit” funding in which black males are likely to represent a majority of clients or beneficiaries served, but were not part of an explicitly named program.

“This report vividly portrays a stark reality that has haunted this country for far too long,” Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center, said in the statement. “But it also provides solid data and compelling stories that illustrate what America's foundations are doing to turn the tide.” 

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