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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2020
For More Information Contact:

JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201

www.nysed.gov

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$6 Million in My Brother's Keeper Grant Funding Available for Family and Community Engagement Programs

School districts may now apply for $6 million in grants for the My Brother’s Keeper Family and Community Engagement Program, the State Education Department announced today. The Family and Community Engagement Program grants aim to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students. The allocation for 2021-22 as well as subsequent yearly funding is subject to the continuation of the State appropriation. 

“With many students across our state continuing to learn virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, family and community engagement is more important now than ever,” said Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown. “When we bring together educators and families to focus on the challenges and opportunities for young men of color, we can work to close the persistent gaps that exist in educational achievement between these young men and their peers. These funds will allow districts to make a lasting, positive impact on some of our most vulnerable students.”

“It is my belief and the resolve of the Department that all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, should feel empowered to succeed in life and not be limited by the circumstances they were born into,” said Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.  “Family and community engagement is pivotal for any student to be successful which is why we thank Speaker Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Assemblyman Benedetto and Senator Mayer for their continued support of New York’s MBK Program.”

“Our goal with the My Brother’s Keeper program is to give young men of color the tools and resources they need to be successful in life and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” said Regent Lester W. Young, Jr. " The intent of this grant is to engage families and communities in planning  and implementing strategies that are designed to help students.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding existing challenges to our schools, minority communities and to our students. We need to have their backs now more than ever,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “I am proud to be a champion of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative here in New York, and of the investments it makes in the lives of boys and young men of color. This funding will help ensure that these young men and their families have the resources they need to help prepare for college and a bright future.”

To be eligible for program funding, public school districts must meet one of the following criteria and have:

  • Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) eligibility rate greater than 55% of district enrollment, an English Language Learner (ELL) enrollment rate greater than 1%, and a four-year August graduation rate of less than 90% at least once during the 2015-16 through 2018-19 school years;
  • FRPL eligibility rate greater than 60% of district enrollment and a four-year August graduation rate of less than 85% at least once during the 2015-16 through 2018-19 school years; or
  • ELL enrollment rate greater than 3% and a four-year August graduation rate of less than 90% at least once during the 2015-16 through 2018-19 school years.

The Department produced the My Brother’s Keeper Guidance Document entitled Emerging Practices for Schools and Communities, which provides an overview of the outcome trends among boys of color in K-12 school environments, and a research review of the most prevalent strategies currently being implemented in schools and communities across the country. Interested applicants should ensure their application aligns with the goals of the MBK program. Applications are due by February 1, 2021.

Family and Community Engagement Program initiatives can include parent advocacy; incorporating the use of mentors to improve student achievement; and creating outreach materials languages spoken in homes so families can learn how to enhance school success for their children, beginning at the earliest ages, through high school and beyond. 

In 2014, former President Barack Obama established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force at the federal level. The Task Force was an interagency effort focused on closing and eliminating the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color so that all young people have the chance to reach their full potential. With the adoption of the 2016–17 New York State budget, New York became the first state to accept the President’s challenge and enacted the My Brother’s Keeper initiative into law. The budget included a $20 million investment in support of the initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. 

NYSED has awarded $3.6 million in grants for the MBK Exemplary School Models and Practices Program. Grant recipients partner with demographically similar Struggling or Persistently Struggling schools in another district within their region to replicate exemplary practices that demonstrate cultural and linguistic responsiveness to emphasize the needs of boys and young men of color.

Also in 2019, NYSED awarded nearly $885,000 in grants to 11 school districts for the MBK Native American Program, to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with an emphasis on boys and young men.

Since 2016, NYSED has awarded more than $24 million in grants to 45 school districts for the My Brother’s Keeper Family and Community Engagement Program. These grants support programs to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students.

NYSED has awarded $35 million in MBK Challenge Grants since 2016 to more than 40 school districts. The MBK Challenge Grant Program is designed to encourage regions and school districts to develop and execute coherent cradle-to-career college strategies. These programs are aimed to develop and sustain effective relationships with families of boys and young men of color toward the goal of success for all students.

Also since 2016, NYSED awarded $15 million in Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC II) Grants to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. NYSED awarded grants to 16 colleges and universities to help them bolster the retention of highly qualified individuals who value equity and reflect the diversity inside and outside of our classrooms, particularly in high-need schools with recurrent teacher shortages. 

Visit the Department’s My Brother’s Keeper website for details on this movement and for information on how to subscribe to the MBK Newsletter, "Changing the Narrative."