LA County Joins with Obama Foundation to Invest $1 Million Locally to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color

LOS ANGELES, CA –  Today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that directs LA County to work with local partners to provide $1 million to expand school-based interventions intended to address trauma and increase the academic achievement of boys and young men of color. This funding was made available by the Obama Foundation and the County Department of Mental Health.

“Improving outcomes for young people, especially young people of color, is essential for the next generation, their families, and our communities,” said Supervisor Solis. “This award shows what can be accomplished when LA County partners with local organizations to improve opportunities for our greatest resource: our youth. Ensuring that every child and young person has an equal shot at a good education and career is exactly why I entered public service. Thank you to our partners at Liberty Hill and around the County for submitting such a strong application, and thank you to President Obama and his Foundation for this award.”

The My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Challenge is a campaign launched by then-President Obama in 2014 that calls on local governments to develop plans that would close existing educational and opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color. The Challenge sought to provide strategic support and more than $5 million in funding to select communities nationwide to expand evidence-based initiatives that will reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

In November 2018, the Liberty Hill Foundation, in partnership with the Los Angeles County My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and the California Community Foundation, was selected by the Obama Foundation as one of ten Impact Communities, the highest award tier in the MBK Community Challenge Competition. The grant provides $425,000 in funding over two years from the Obama Foundation to help jump-start initiatives, build capacity, support evaluation, and attract additional resources and partners. In LA County, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) is exceeding their pledged match of this $425,000 award with $575,000 over two years to further expand trauma-responsive school-based interventions. Together, $1 million will be invested towards the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative in LA County.

The Liberty Hill Foundation served as the lead organization for the Los Angeles application, in partnership with the County’s MBK Initiative, the California Community Foundation, DMH, and the Center for Strategic Partnerships. Other partners in the LA County MBK initiative includes the Office of Diversion & Reentry’s division of Youth Diversion and Youth Development, Brotherhood Crusade, Social Justice Learning Institute, Community Coalition, LeadersUp, Khmer Girls in Action, Youth Justice Coalition, Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, InnerCity Struggle, Urban Peace Institute, Children’s Defense Fund-California, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

In 2015, Supervisor Solis, a former Secretary of Labor under President Obama, led LA County to join the MBK Challenge and begin developing and implementing a set of recommendations aimed at improving the circumstances for boys and young men of color. Since then, the County has made great leaps forward in eliminating opportunity gaps and barriers facing boys and young men of color, including (1) a new unit ‘Youth Diversion and Development’ was created within the LA County Office of Diversion and Reentry; (2) a Countywide effort was launched to encourage County employees to mentor youth through community-based mentoring programs; and (3) over 50 youth have participated in the LA County Bridges Program, facilitated by the Department of Human Relations.

CONTACT: Michael Kapp, Communications Director, (213) 974-4111 or MKapp@bos.lacounty.gov