Black Organizations Blocked by New My Brother’s Keeper Rule?

A letter sent to the Obama administration by 100 Black Men of America points out that restricting grants to organizations active in 45 states limits the ability of black organizations to participate. 

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U.S. President Barack Obama (R) embraces Chicago's Youth Guidance program Becoming a Man (BAM) participant Christian Champagne, 18, before delivering remarks about his 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Updated: May 2, 2014, 12:45 p.m.

The Root obtained the following statement from Chairman Curley M. Dossman of 100 Black Men of America on the issue.

“In an effort to address a legitimate concern our organization had about a recent RFP, we sent a letter directly to the Department of Justice to obtain clarity around the intent of the grant.  A prompt meeting with Department of Justice representatives addressed our concern and provided a path forward that is satisfactory to us.  We also found that our concern was not related to My Brother’s Keeper which is still moving forward.  Therefore, we believe this matter has been resolved and we will have no further comment on it,” Dossman said. 

Earlier:

New grant requirements on the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative could keep a majority of black organizations from participating, much to the concern of 100 Black Men of America, Crew of 42 reports.

According to the blog, 100 Black Men of America has sent a letter to the Obama administration expressing its concerns about the new rule for eligibility, which states that applicants must be “national organizations defined as having active chapters or sub awardees in at least 45 states.”

Such a requirement effectively rules out all community-based organizations and most organizations—including 100 Black Men of America—with the possible exception of the NAACP, though 100 Black Men in its letter argued that the civil rights group would be excluded as well.

"Since 1963, the 100 Black Men of America Inc., has embraced challenges impacting black boys .... as you could imagine, as a national organization with a presence in 30-plus states, we were indeed pleased to see that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention had finally extended an opportunity for historically excluded opportunities to fully participate in the national funding opportunities available .... Unfortunately our jubilation was short lived, as your office’s revised RFP of April 10, 2014, quickly quelled any hopes we had of enriching and expanding the services we currently provide for the children that we serve,” 100 Black Men President Michael Brown wrote in the letter, according to Crew of 42.

“[The requirement] dashed any hopes that such venerable institutions as the National Urban League, the NAACP and each of the nine historically black Greek-letter organizations may have had in competing in this significant funding opportunity,” he added.

Read more at Crew of 42.