The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved matching funds to create a $1 million investment in programs aimed at addressing trauma and increasing academic achievement for boys and young men of color.
The Department of Mental Health will spend $575,000 over two years and the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge will provide the balance in a grant.
Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended joining the MBK Challenge in 2015. The money will be used to help jump-start initiatives, build capacity, support evaluation and attract additional resources and partners.
“Improving outcomes for young people, especially young people of color, is essential for the next generation, their families and our communities,” Solis said. “This award shows what can be accomplished when L.A. County partners with local organizations to improve opportunities for our greatest resource: our youth.”
The MBK Challenge campaign was launched in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama, who called on local governments to develop plans to close educational and opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color.
The campaign plans to provide strategic support and more than $5 million in funding to select communities nationwide to expand evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.
The Liberty Hill Foundation was the lead organization for the county’s grant application, which included a coalition of several nonprofit organizations.
Solis pointed to successes already underway in eliminating opportunity gaps, including a new unit focused on diversion and re-entry for youthful offenders, a countywide mentoring program and the Bridges program, which educates youth about public sector careers and helps prepare them for success.
“Ensuring that every child and young person has an equal shot at a good education and career is exactly why I entered public service,” Solis said.