Obama Foundation: My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Community Challenge Competition
My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, is a national call to action to build safe and supportive communities where young people feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. The aim is to unleash the power of communities working together to improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color (BYMOC). The MBK Community Challenge Competition seeks to identify, and invest in, up to 12 communities that accepted the MBK Community Challenge, are making steady progress, and have the potential to be proof points for what it takes to substantially improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color, especially as it relates to reducing youth violence and growing the pipeline of mentors having a measurable impact on BYMOC. The Foundation is seeking to work in partnership with communities that can identify and implement evidence-based programs and a specific goal over two years to reduce youth violence or leverage mentors to address milestone-specific challenges.
The MBK Alliance Community Challenge Competition targets the following interventions:
1. Youth violence prevention: The Foundation seeks to work with communities that will identify and expand effective interventions proven to reduce youth violence. Equity will be a core pillar in how the Foundation thinks about effective interventions (e.g., exploring the impacts of trauma and access to health services as key drivers of violence prevention). Understanding the social determinants of health will also inform strategies, as the Foundation advocates for a systems-level framework to build safe and healthy communities. MBK Alliance believes that cycles of violence can be disrupted by using strategies that target interventions where they will be most effective. Winning applicants will focus on:
- Data-informed practices in violence prevention (e.g., predictive analytics to identify violence victims)
- Holistic wraparound support (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy and jobs skills training)
- Positive relationships (e.g., connection to a caring adult through mentorship)
2. Growing the mentor pipeline for evidence-based mentorship programs with evidence in improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color. MBK Alliance seeks to work with partners to help mobilize citizens across the United States and connect them to evidence-based mentor organizations that will train the mentors and match them with mentees. The Foundation is looking for explicit efforts to identify mentoring programs with measurable, tangible impact on key challenges facing boys and young men of color and then connect them with quality, trained mentors that will have a long-term sustained engagement with BYMOC. Mentoring is defined as having the following components or activities:
- Sustained contact between youth and caring adult for at least five hours per month
- A group or cohort component that encourages participants to become an important support system for each other
- Focus on developing skills or training through program activities
- Component that addresses social-emotional needs of mentees
- A setting that incorporates positive values, principles and practices
Target beneficiaries: MBK Alliance is interested in proposals focused on meeting the needs of boys and young men of color, ages 30 and under, in traditionally underserved populations, including African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and some Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. While MBK Alliance’s mission is centrally focused on the challenges faced by boys and young men of color, it recognizes that the challenges facing boys and young men of color cannot be solved without addressing the interconnected issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration, and socioeconomic status. The Alliance also knows that issues faced by young men, young women, and gender nonconforming youth in communities of color are often intertwined and deeply related. Through this Challenge, the Foundation seeks partners who advance this belief and are part of the network of boys and young men of color serving organizations that work alongside or in partnership with similar programs for girls, provide education and support for parents and families, address immigrant rights, tackle homophobia, and advance solutions to gender inequities.
Additional interests/targets associated with the Challenge include (see the solicitation for more details regarding below topics):
- All organizations who receive funding will be required to propose and implement detailed plans for growing their reach during the period of their grant and ensuring fidelity to the program model.
- Supported projects will work within a systems change framework, not only providing direct service to BYMOC but are also advancing, and advocating for, systemic and institutional reforms in complementary best practices in the public and private sectors that will lead to lasting change for the youth served by the project and beyond.
- Selected organizations will have a track record of using evidence to identify, scale, and improve interventions. MBK Alliance will seek to award funding to applicants that propose to implement program models that have demonstrated significant impact in improving life outcomes of boys and young men of color. The intervention must have undergone a thoughtful serious evaluation with at least preliminary evidence of effectiveness.
- There is an interest in funding applications that utilize a Collective Impact Approach. Collective Impact is a model in which cross-sector coalitions form to identify a common set of challenges and evidence-informed and evidence-based solutions, and then work together to implement the solution.
Amount: Awards are detailed below. The duration of the grant period is two years, and the grant funds will be divided into two equal payments over the two year period. Grantees are required to match the entire amount of grant award on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The amount must be in cash. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to meet 50 percent of their first year cash match requirement.
1. Impact communities: Up to five awards will be made in this category. Applicants will determine the amount of money for which they will apply based on local needs, size of the project, and the ability to raise the required match. Awards ranges and components are below:
- $100,000-$500,000 over two years to replicate or scale interventions in mentoring or youth violence prevention.
- $50,000-$75,000 per year, for two years, in matching funds to backbone organizations for the purpose of hiring MBK Community Coordinators.
- Two year engagement led by the MBK Alliance Communities Team and implementation partners. High-touch support from MBK Alliance and the Community Coordinator who will work with the backbone organization and local cross-sector task force to identify gaps and assets, develop recommendations, and support implementation plan.
- Access to implementation and content partners to advise on overarching Local Action Plan development and long-term infrastructure to sustain the work.
2. Seed Grants: All applications will be evaluated as potential Impact Communities (described above). In addition to the selected Impact Communities, MBK Alliance will award up to five more jurisdictions with Seed Grants, allowing them to pilot evidence-based practices on a smaller, more targeted scale. Seed Grants include:
- $25,000-50,000 to pilot interventions in violence prevention and/or mentoring for a sub-population of BYMOC in the community
- Access to technical assistance: Access to MBK Alliance’s implementation and content partners to advise on overarching plan development and long-term infrastructure to sustain the work
Eligibility: Backbone organizations that:
1. Operate a fiscally-sound, high performing organization that meets the following requirements:
- Must be a U.S.-based nonprofit community organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempt from taxation under section 501(a)
- Must have been in existence for three or more years (or have a fiscal sponsor that has been in existence for five or more years)
- Must have an annual operating budget of $750,000 or more, and at least one year of audited financials
- Must have an active and engaged board of directors
- Must have stable executive and programmatic leadership
- Must have a strong track record of success managing and scaling impactful initiatives improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color and other underserved populations
- Must have a strong measurement and evaluation track record of collecting, monitoring and analyzing data to track progress and make course corrections.
2. Submit an application meeting the following core requirements:
- Identified an evidence-based intervention to replicate or scale related to youth violence prevention and/or mentoring, including primary baseline data for BYMOC related to these areas as well as supporting metrics that feed into those broader goals.
- Secured one-to-one matching funds for the full amount of the grant requested from the MBK Alliance.
- Agree to utilize an MBK Alliance-approved tool to set a baseline, measure and report progress.
- Must have written support from your community’s mayor, deputy mayor, council chair, county executive, tribal leader, or elected or appointed cabinet/agency executive/head (or equivalent rank in your community). The MBK Alliance is seeking applicants that work in close partnership with local governments to ensure the work described in applications builds on the progress of your local MBK initiative and advances programmatic and policy solutions. However, if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent an applicant from obtaining a letter from one of the aforementioned local leaders, applicants may submit a letter of support from one of the following MBK Alliance partner organizations: Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Black Male Engagement Initiative (BMe), Cities United, PolicyLink, Bloomberg Associates, Aspen’s Center for Native American Youth, National League of Cities, Sierra Health Foundation/CA Funders for BMOC, Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
3. Submit a Statement Concerning Any Pending Litigation: Applicants must provide a statement from a company officer confirming that the applicant company and the applicant company’s principals have not been involved in civil litigation, criminal litigation, administrative or regulatory proceedings or governmental actions over the past ten (10) years. Alternatively, if the company or any of its principals have been involved in such litigation, summarize the circumstances and the status or outcome of the litigation.
MBK Alliance will only accept proposals from organizations aligned with the local MBK Task Force (Committee, Cabinet, etc.) that leads the MBK work in jurisdictions that have formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge. Further, MBK Alliance will prioritize organizations representing communities that have met the initial MBK Community Challenge requirements, including:
- Engaged a cross-sector body to guide strategy
- Appointed a designated director
- Held a local action summit
- Published local action plan, focusing on at least two milestones
- MBK Communities are defined as communities that formally accepted the MBK Community Challenge, which was launched in 2014, and have begun to advance the My Brother’s Keeper work including: Engaging a cross-sector body to guide strategy; Appointing a designated director; Holding a Local Action Summit; Publishing a Local Action Plan, focusing on at least two milestones.
- As the hometown of the Obama Foundation, advancing the mission of My Brother’s Keeper in Chicago will be a permanent priority well beyond this Competition. Accordingly, a Chicago nonprofit will be selected to be part of the inaugural MBK Community Challenge Competition cohort, while other Chicago nonprofits will have the chance to compete for Seed Grants.
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