Community Partner: My Brotherís Keeper

My Brother's Keeper

Presidential Initiative

Since President Barack Obama announced MBK in February of 2014 more than 200 mayors, tribal leaders, and community leaders have accepted the call to action to advance opportunities for all children, particularly young boys and men of color. This initiative, strengthened by partnerships and collaborations, incorporates a “cradle-to-college-to-career” approach to ensure all children:

  • enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally prepared
  • read at grade level by third grade
  • graduate from high school
  • complete postsecondary education or training
  • are employed once out of school
  • are safe from violent crime and receiving the second chances they deserve

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City of Madison Wisconsin

City of Madison's MBK Pledge

A Message from Mayor Paul R. Soglin and Common Council President Chris Schmidt:

In September 2014, on behalf of the city of Madison, we accepted President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Community Challenge. The initiative seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

The six focus areas of the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge are:

  • Ensure all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready
  • Ensure all children read at grade level by third grade
  • Ensure all youth graduate from high school
  • Ensure all youth complete post-secondary education or training
  • Ensure all youth out of school are employed
  • Ensure all youth remain safe from violent crime and receive second chances

The MBK challenge directs cities to focus their efforts on two of the six goals. In January 2015, the City of Madison and community partners gave boys and young men of color the opportunity to select the areas of focus themselves. The City of Madison, with support from the United Way of Dane County, conducted surveys of boys and young men of color ages 11 to 25. In addition to prioritizing the six focus areas, youth were asked firsthand about their experiences and personal goals, as well as their needs and barriers to success.

Over 200 youth completed the survey, offering great insight into the areas where our Madison community could use improvement. The survey respondents, Madison’s youth and young men, shared thought-provoking ideas and even some of their own policy recommendations. Using this informative survey as a guide, the Madison MBK working groups has identified our primary focus areas:

  • Ensure all students graduate from high school
    • Note that this goal incorporates two MBK priorities: ensure all children enter school ready to learn and ensure all children read at grade level by third grade
  • Ensure all children and young people remain free from violent crime and receive second chances

This effort will only be successful with the full and enthusiastic support of community partners. Therefore, these recommendations are offered by the Madison MBK working group to the community of Madison, Wisconsin, recognizing that this is a living document and will require regular evaluation, critique, and redevelopment by parents, educators, researchers, community organizers, faith leaders, scientists, students, artists, peace officers, doctors, elected officials, social workers, and others. The only fixed portion of this report is the commitment by the City of Madison to improve opportunities for boys and young men of color. The pathway to achieving our goals starts with developing solutions together. The [Policy Review and Recommendations for Action] are intended to spur conversation and help strengthen the community focus on initiatives that address persistent disparities; they are not set in stone.

Now, with the support of the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Madison Police Department, the Madison Municipal Court, the Dane County Sherriff’s Office, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and our community partners, we offer these policy proposals to help meet the goals of our boys and young men of color. We hope that you will join us as we seek to build opportunities for all of Madison’s young people.


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