Blog Entry Capacity Building

CBMA Awards Mini-Grants to Help Advance Local Black Male Achievement Efforts

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement is excited to announce the recipients of four collaborative mini-grants that will help expand Black Male Achievement (BMA) efforts in local cities across the country!

In addition to CBMA's overall investment strategy to support leaders and organizations advancing BMA work, the opportunity to apply for these mini-grants was extended to the participants of CBMA's inaugural Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellowship (BBCLF) -- an initiative launched earlier this year to strengthen the development and capacity of local leaders driving the work on the ground in CBMA's core cities. 

During the closing sessions at the first BBCLF retreat held this past June (2017) in Greensboro, NC, each fellow shared compelling project ideas to create or continue within their respective cities. The grants will help seed small-scale projects, projects that CBMA hopes will inspire leaders in the broader BMA field to model and/or scale up. 

Meet the four grant awardees:

Greensboro BBCL Fellows: Mini Grant of $15,000

Project Name: Urban Roots Youth Initiative

Urban Roots will be a weekly afterschool program for black male youth focused on vocational training in agriculture and community organizing as vehicles for building beloved community. The objectives of Urban Roots are to:

  • Provide vocational training in small-scale agriculture to high school youth through employment in a short-term school garden building project at the neighborhood elementary school
  • Offer fresh, health food options to a local community through a farmer’s market towards the conclusion of the program
  • Support young black men in gaining work skills that can translate to future employment and community-building skills that will support their development as individuals and community members
  • Strengthen the relationship between the youth, the community, and the schools in the local community
We are so thrilled to receive a BBCLF mini-grant for the Urban Roots Youth Initiative. Through this project, 10 young black men in Greensboro will gain employment in an agricultural vocational program, build a new school garden for a local elementary school, and provide fresh produce for members of their community during a youth-led farmer's market. Urban Roots will elevate existing black male achievement work in Greensboro and open new doors for the youth who participate in the program. Hailey Moses, Greensboro BMA Leader & 2017 Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellow

Baltimore BBCL Fellows: Mini Grant of $15,000

Project Name: Black Men’s Intergenerational Films Project

This project will use selected cinematic narratives, documentaries and videos as a unique, creative and solution-focused, artistic paradigm to encourage life-giving and life-affirming psychological healing activities – to celebrate, affirm and uplift black men and their families across generations. From Feb – May 2018, black men and young black men will be invited to participate in a series of bi-monthly film screenings, interactive discussions and “next step” agenda sessions.

"The Baltimore Cohort of Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellows (BBCLF) is excited about the opportunity and monetary stake to further cultivate spaces that support (healthy) intergenerational dialogue, experiences, and activities among black male youth and adults in Baltimore City." Moreover, our vision is to select special Black films and documentaries that have highlighted, illuminated and defined Black masculinity in an effort to create profoundly unique, creative and solution-focused structures, rituals, messages and frameworks that will strengthen and affirm intergenerational relationships and bring about life-giving and life-saving opportunities for Black men and young Black men. We are excited about sharing the stories and protecting, promoting and celebrating a positive and exceptional narrative of Black boys and men globally." Group Statement from Baltimore BMA Leaders & 2017 Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellows

Oakland BBCL Fellows: Mini Grant of $10,000

Project Name: Building Beloved Community Through the Young Men’s Conference

The purpose of this project is to provide young black males with the tools to realize personal and professional growth when faced with life challenges, and provide them a safe space to have identity-affirming experiences that are not readily addressed in school curriculum. The one-day conference will offer middle and high school black male students from the San Francisco Bay Area region an opportunity to participate in interactive, age-appropriate, educational workshops related to issues affecting their lives now and in the future. Positive black male leaders from the community will be represented from various professional and academic paths to lead 90-minute long workshops that will offer real-life examples and scenarios of positive decision-making.

“ The Oakland Cohort of BBCLF is excited to develop a joint youth conference aimed at serving black boys in Oakland and surrounding areas. We’ve fused our individual talents to provide students with social, emotional, political, and educational tools which will help them overcome barriers to success. We hope that students participate and connect with our year-long programs for further instruction and enrichment." Dorian Bohler, Oakland BMA Leader & 2017 Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellow

Milwaukee BBCL Fellows: Mini Grant of $10,000

Project Name: Building Capacity in and through the Community’s College

This project will increase BMA capacity in Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and Milwaukee more broadly through coordinated marketing and promotional efforts, while also working to increase the city’s CBMA score and ranking. It also seeks to lay a framework to increase capacity in and through urban community colleges nationwide. One of the strategies to increase BMA capacity is to co-host a mental health workshop in Feb 2018 for culturally competent trauma-informed care, in partnership with MATC, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the Wisconsin Black Health Coalition, and other community peers. Key objectives for the project include:

  • Partnering with the existing work and infrastructure of MATC to “build out” BMA work in service to the Black men who spend their days on campus
  • Amplifying and connecting existing BMA work in the city. 
  • Discussing and better understanding the current BMA footprint in Milwaukee with local leaders (like Jeff Roman, Biko Baker and Mike Williams), as well as how to utilize the resources of MATC to increase the capacity of that footprint.
I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation around the plight Milwaukee's young men. It's truly an honor to be able to contribute to the amazing work that is happening in our city! Lenzy Crawford, Milwaukee BMA Leader & 2017 Building Beloved Community Leadership Fellow


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