The Opportunity Youth/Boys and Men of Color Alignment Strategy Group helps ensure that leaders of these two related movements advance them collectively, with a particular emphasis of helping communities that are members of multiple place-based networks implement them in a coherent fashion.

2018 Recap

In 2018, the Opportunity Youth / Boys and Men of Color Alignment Strategy Group (OYBMOC) pushed forward with our three-pronged agenda (learning together and information sharing, national alignment, and local alignment) to continue to help bring about alignment in communities where many of us as national initiatives have singularly launched our efforts.  This communique is being sent to provide an update on what we have collectively accomplished in 2018, and an overview on what’s to come in 2019.

Learning Together and Information Sharing

Learning briefs
  • Lessons Learned from the Reconnecting Youth Campaign’s success in increasing federal appropriations for Opportunity Youth by more than $100 million. This paper was released in early December
Webinars
  • The Life Course Framework on Native American Youth is an effort to begin to close some of the information and data gaps on Native American youth that existed in earlier versions of the Life Course Framework. Arnold Chandler of Forward Change and Erik Stegman of the Center for Native American Youth have been sharing this framework in several venues across the country, and the OY BMOC group hosted a webinar on October 30th.  Webinar recording: http://bit.ly/LifeCourseNativeAmerica For more information on the framework and having it shared within your networks contact Arnold Chandler at arnold@arnoldchandler.com or Erik Stegman at Erik.Stegman@aspeninstitute.org
National Alignment

Two very exciting developments occurred in 2019 at the national level within the OY/BMOC space

  • My Brother’s Keeper Alliance – As many of you know, MBKA prioritized its focus on mentoring and violence reduction for boys and men of color. In that vein, MBKA has aligned with Mentor and Cities United to provide technical assistance to a number of their communities who participated in their community challenge.
  • Bloomberg Associates, Cities United, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, and National League of Cities have come together in a formal collaboration designed to better align their TA strategies both nationally and locally. They’ve begun their efforts in Denver, and have identified three other cities (Houston, Baltimore, and Louisville) where they will seek to coordinate and collaborate.  As these four entities’ primary stakeholders are mayors and elected officials, the potential is high for them to maximize the synergy around coordinated efforts.
Local Alignment

Our overarching goal as a group is to support local communities by helping make the implementation of our individual initiatives less cumbersome.  In that vein, we began to demonstrate this in 2018, achieving great progress.

  • New Orleans – the first demonstration city for our alignment has been working since 2017 to organize their efforts and clarify their goals. In spring 2017, the Greater New Orleans Funders network established the OY/BMOC Action Table to maximize philanthropic and public investments to improve outcomes for BMOC and OY, their families and their communities in the Greater New Orleans area.  Through the support of the Executives Alliance for BMOC, The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, and twelve foundations, the Action Table established a guiding vision for their collective work, developed a framework for aligning their efforts, explored existing OY/BMOC investments and initiatives in New Orleans, and built a baseline understanding of the experiences of local OY and BMOC.  All of this work resulted in a decision to focus efforts on two areas: wealth-building and narrative change. The wealth building theory of change was finalized and shared with the OY/BMOC Alignment Strategy Group and the full membership of GNOFN in September 2018.  This theory of change was informed by over 20 local and national experts and practitioners, promising practices from other communities, and existing investment strategies.  For more information on the New Orleans efforts contact Richard Martinez richard@gnof.org or Toya Randall trandall@casey.org
  • Many of the National partners have supported aligned and connected youth civic engagement in New Orleans. For example, Opportunity Youth United and the National Alliance for Boys and Men of Color are supporting a connected group of young leaders to engage in the community.
  • Building on the learnings from New Orleans and the alignment efforts of the four national groups mentioned above (Bloomberg Associates, Cities United, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, and National League of Cities), the OY/BMOC Alignment Strategy Group Steering Committee has agreed to move forward in 2019 to continue to support the on the ground efforts underway in New Orleans, and the developing alignment efforts in Denver.
  • In 2018, in support of the New Orleans local demonstration, we held our one-day OYBMOC convening in September in New Orleans in alignment with the Greater New Orleans Funders Network’s quarterly meeting.
2019 Convening
  • In 2019, in support of the alignment efforts developing in Denver, we will host our meeting in the fall there. The national organizations will work with their local stakeholders to help us determine the best date to hold the meeting, which will be in alignment with local activities.

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important