The Black Star Project will receive $50,000 from the Open Society Institute to support the Million Father March and a school-based program that engages Black men as mentors and tutors in the Chicago Public School System. The grant was awarded through OSI’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement, a three-year grantmaking initiative to address, and help reverse, the ways in which African-American boys and men are stigmatized, criminalized, and excluded from the U.S. economic and political mainstream.
Even as Americans elected their first Black president, the end of 2008 saw an onslaught of dire reports on the educational, social and economic outcomes for Black males in America. Sky-high dropout rates for high-school students, an out-of-control murder rate for 14- to 17-year olds and a 72 percent unemployment rate for high-school dropouts paint a bleak forecast for young Black men.
The Black Star Project has joined with the Open Society Institute’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement to address these issues. With the support of the Campaign, Black Star will expand its successful Million Father March and also launch an initiative that uses school-based strategies to recruit Black male tutors and mentors. Research by the National Fatherhood Initiative shows that children, male and female, perform better in school, at home and in life when their father takes an active and positive role in their lives. Additionally, Black male tutors and mentors provide measurable guidance for Black boys and young Black males in America.
“Black Star’s combined strategy of national advocacy to increase fathers’ participating in their children’s education and local recruitment of male tutors will have a positive impact on young black male students and their fathers,” said Shawn Dove, manager of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. “The Open Society Institute is proud to support the Black Star Project’s efforts to improve life outcomes for Black boys and men.”