LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The California Endowment announced an unprecedented commitment of $50 million over the next 7 years to make a difference for boys and young men across California in their "Sons & Brothers" campaign. Over 100 foundations, celebrity spokespeople, political and religious leaders, students, parents and school faculty stood up for their shared commitment to the health and success of boys of color.
"When boys go to school, can read by 3rd grade, and finish their education without getting suspended, expelled or involved, we put them on a surer path to becoming healthy, productive adults," said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. "We know what works – early intervention that gets young people off to a great start and ongoing support that ensures they stay on track. That is why, The California Endowment is making a long-term commitment in the future of our sons & brothers."
Research shows that three critical markers are essential for health and success in life: 3rd grade reading, high school graduation, and postsecondary certification. The Sons & Brothers campaign focuses on these key milestones by supporting youth and parent leadership development efforts, community-school partnerships, and policy and systems changes at the local, state and national level.
"At the Los Angeles Unified School District, we stress every day the relationship between physical health, good personal habits and excelling in the classroom," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. "We are tremendously grateful to The California Endowment for its extraordinary commitment to helping boys and young men of color succeed in school."
The Sons and Brothers effort launched with a "get kids back in school" effort, during which volunteers went out into the community to the homes of absent students to bring them back to school and connect families to any needed social services. Brotherhood Crusade, Community Coalition, and LA's Promise led the door knocking effort.
"At LA's Promise, we have adopted policies and programs to support positive school behaviors in our schools—and we are achieving dramatic results throughout Los Angeles schools," said Veronica Melvin, President and CEO of LA's Promise. "These programs, and these youth, will only flourish with the significant investment infused by The California Endowment, as it will allow our schools to allocate resources to address other obstacles that our students face. We look forward to continuing to work with The Endowment, and furthering the commitment we have made to the future of our Sons & Brothers."
Over 70% of all Californians under age 25 identified as of color in the 2010 Census. Alarmingly, recent research has shown boys and young men of color face some stiff odds. Students who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to leave school without a diploma and over 80% of our young black males cannot read at grade level by 3rd grade.
African American boys are 30 times more likely to be suspended from school in Los Angeles than white girls. Even one suspension doubles your chance of dropping out of school.
Other speakers today included: California Assemblymember and Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color Steven Bradford, 62nd District; Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Second District; Antonia Hernandez, President and CEO, California Community Foundation; and actor Edward James Olmos.
Today's event was the beginning of a series of "Get Kids Back to School" events throughout the state. Dates and locations to be announced.
The Sons & Brothers campaign is a core part of The California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion plan, in which residents in 14 places across California are working to transform their neighborhoods. The California Endowment has already been working to support common sense school discipline reform, restorative justice efforts to reduce youth involvement in the juvenile justice system and implementation of more school-based health centers to improve the long-term health and success of boys and young men of color.
If you are a non-profit interested in applying for a grant related to our Sons & Brothers work, please visit: http://www.calendow.org/sonsandbrothers.aspx.
For more information about The California Endowment, visit www.calendow.org.
SOURCE The California Endowment