collage of participant pictures

From left, top: Braswell, Cohen, Sabree, McAfee, Owens, Bursh and Terrell. From left, bottom: Spiccia, Williams, Kennebrew, Chatman, Lucas, Appleton and Thacker.

More than a dozen local leaders have been selected for a new six-month pilot program to help build the capacity of nonprofits working on behalf of boys and men of color in metro Atlanta.

The Boys and Men of Color Executive Director Collaboration Circle is a joint effort by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Foundation Center South to help local leaders build partnerships, network, and secure additional funding to develop educational and economic opportunities for this historically challenged population.

“Now more than ever, we need to move from simply identifying the challenges boys and men of color face, to cultivating leaders who are willing to step up and address them,” said Kweku Forstall, who leads Casey’s work in Atlanta. “We hope the Circle will be an avenue for participants to evaluate promising approaches and advocate for much needed changes to the public policies and systems that have kept us from investing in boys and men of color as the assets they are — here in Georgia, and across the nation.”  

The Casey Foundation’s Changing the Odds report highlights many of the barriers boys and men of color face and the root causes in Atlanta, including:

  • a history of segregation in public housing and zoning;
  • under-resourced schools and poor learning environments; and  
  • the unequal distribution of jobs and career opportunities.


“Nonprofits supporting boys and men of color often tackle these complex barriers with tight finances, small teams, and limited opportunities for staff to learn, grow, and regroup from the many demands that are common to the field,” said Utoia Gabby Wooten from the Foundation Center. “However, we are optimistic that with the right supports behind them, these leaders will breathe new life into Atlanta and help more boys and men of color navigate through life successfully.”

The executive leaders will meet monthly for interactive work sessions to develop strategies for engaging the philanthropic sector and generating revenue, and to create collaborative, community-based programming to close the persistent racial and equity gaps that exist in Atlanta.

The participants will also get the chance to present their collaborative projects to potential funders and compete for a grant of at least $25,000 to pilot their concept beginning in fall 2017.

For more information, please contact Utoia Gabby Wooten at [email protected]

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