Promise of Place

Building Beloved Communities for Black Men and Boys

New report highlights 50+ U.S. cities making investments to advance life outcomes and opportunities for Black men and boys across the nation.


See what cities have made impressive gains in materializing their commitment to Black men and boys, both quantitatively and qualitatively, since the first Promise of Place report:


Higher level of engagement across all 50 cities


Of the 50 cities scored have now accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge


Increase in CBMA membership
This powerful report is an imperative blueprint for any city invested in a success narrative for its population of Black men and boys. Ron Walker, Executive Director, Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC)

5 Indicators Used to Track Progress Across Cities

​The 50 cities in the BMA City Index were scored using the following key indicators:​

Demographic Mix (10 Points)
City-Led Commitment to Black Men and Boys (30 Points)
CBMA Membership (20 Points)
Presence of National Initiatives Supporting Black Men and Boys (20 Points)
Targeted Funding Supporting Black Men and Boys (20 Points)

Spotlight on 5 Promise of Place Cities

The report profiles five cities—Baltimore, Detroit, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Oakland—that have encompassed the critical BMA field Building Blocks needed to become a promising city for Black Male Achievement. As core partner cities within CBMA’s Promise of Place City Strategy, these cities are identifying and responding to the ongoing and multi-faceted needs of Black men and boys. Through intense implementation of building blocks, targeted investment, sustained engagement, and strong collaboration across many sectors, these cities are demonstrating models of promise and progress. The building blocks profiles included in this report have the potential to help other cities determine strategies to improve outcomes for Black men and boys.

6 New Cities on the Horizon

The Promise of Place report also highlights six “Cities on the Horizon” -- cities not included in the 50-city BMA City Index that have made valiant efforts to accelerate work on behalf of Black men and boys. They include:

“Active engagement is key. Alongside youth and community members, we are focusing our efforts on education, social and emotional health, juvenile justice, and workforce development. These are pathways to hope and go to the heart of what’s holding our boys and young men of color back from ultimately achieving their true potential.” Michael B. Hancock, Mayor, City of Denver

What is A Promising City for Black Male Achievement?

Promise of Place spotlights the building blocks that promising cities for Black Male Achievement must utilize to improve the lives of Black men and boys in their communities. Promising cities adhere to three BMA core values:

Collective Work & Responsibility
Mobilize national and local Black Male Achievement stakeholder communities 
Respect & Recognition
Establish a reimagine campaign to enhance how we see Black men and boys 
Bold Goals & Outcomes
Implement a Black Male Achievement agenda to improve life outcomes for Black men and boys 

8 Building Blocks of Progress

The below 8 Building Blocks provide a deeper look into how cities are actualizing and sustaining their work on the ground.

City Administration Commitment

City public sector leaders demonstrate commitment to initiating, joining, and sustaining efforts to address the issues impacting Black men and boys. 

Reimagining Black Men and Boys

Key stakeholders are seeking to reframe perceptions of Black men and boys in a number of ways, and are actively incorporating a non-punitive and asset-based lens in how they engage with and communicate about Black men and boys. 

BMB Stakeholder Community

A cross-sector network of leaders, organizations, and city system administrators convene to enhance collective capacity to address the issues and challenges impacting Black men and boys in their city. 

Actionable Agenda for Black Men and Boys

Shared goals and strategies are clearly established and are guiding local work to improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys in the city. 

Targeted Funding

Private and public sources of funding are being analyzed and more strategically allocated to improve targeted life outcomes for Black men and boys. 

Effective Practice Base

BMA agenda is built upon credible data and evidence that proposed policies and practices achieve desired life outcomes as well as dedicated platforms and protocols through which to collect and disseminate data and further strengthen evidence. 

Coordinated Capacity-Building Infrastructure

Organizations, programs, and systems across sectors are supported to strengthen capacity (individual and collective) with organized sources providing assessments, technical assistance, leadership development, and capacity-building resources. 

Coordination and Continuum of BMA Activities

BMA stakeholders are connecting their efforts (e.g., coordinating direct service access and delivery, advocacy activities, etc.) to improve the BMA eld outcomes and select life outcomes in the targeted BMA agenda. 
My passion is fueled watching the life lifting outcomes of Black boys I serve daily. I place particular value on the Promise of Place report, and now use it as a roadmap and index to guarantee successes for my program and for my community at large. Terra Leavell, Executive Director, Canaan Community Development Corporation (Louisville, KY)

Action Steps to Grow and Sustain Your City Commitment to Black Men and Boys


of Black children do not graduate high school on time, compared to the national average of 17 percent.


of Black males graduate high school compared to 65 percent rate for Latino males, and 80 percent graduation rate for White males.

In order to continue advancing Black Male Achievement, city leaders must double down in their efforts to improve life outcomes of Black men and boys across the nation. We recommend the following action steps as ones that every city can take to improve their process and/or increase their score in the BMA City Index.

Demographics & Data

Use data to understand the presence of Black men and boys as a percentage of the total male population in a city and track key quality of life indicators (e.g., education, housing, healthcare, criminal justice, etc.).

Commitment to Black men and boys

Encourage city-led commitments to Black men and boys and challenge the community to support these initiatives through coalition building.

CBMA membership

Use available tools to drive membership of individuals and organizations in local, regional, and national networks supporting Black men and boys, their families, and communities to the Campaign for Black Male Achievement’s membership network.

Presence of national initiatives supporting BMB

Collaborate with local, regional, and national partners to boost participation in national programs, initiatives, and organizations directly supporting Black men and boys as part of their mission.

Targeted funding for Black men and boys

Create a culture of funding for Black men and boys to boost the dollar amount of targeted philanthropic investment.

“This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.