Skip to main content


May 21, 2018
For More Information Contact:

JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Education Department Awards $750,000 in My Brother’s Keeper Native American Grants

Grants Will be Used to Increase Academic Achievement, College/Career Readiness of Native American Students

The State Education Department (SED) awarded nearly $750,000 in grants to 11 school districts for the My Brother’s Keeper Native American Program, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. The purpose of the Native American Program is to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with an emphasis on boys and young men.

“New York’s MBK initiative has created a movement and these grants will help propel this good work forward to our Native American communities,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Through programs like this, we are empowering boys and young men of color in life-changing ways.”

“Through My Brother’s Keeper, we are better able to address students’ needs and provide opportunities so they can be successful,” Commissioner Elia said. “The importance of continuing support for the work that needs to be done across New York cannot be overstated. The tremendous support of Speaker Heastie and Chair Nolan made this funding possible. I also want to thank Governor Cuomo and Majority Leader Flanagan—who have been instrumental in making sure these programs get the attention they deserve and continue to get the resources they need.”

“The students served through the MBK Native American Program will be strong leaders for their communities and when they succeed, we all succeed,” Regent Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “MBK helps boys and young men of color—and all students—to realize their full potential and strive to take full advantage of it.”

“Many boys and young men of color are simply not afforded the same opportunities as their peers,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Here in New York, the My Brother’s Keeper Program is helping to close these opportunity gaps by establishing cradle-to-college support programs to help these young men realize their full potential. We recognize that we must remove the obstacles to their success because the future of New York is dependent on our ability to develop a strong, diverse group of leaders.”

"My Brother's Keeper has created wonderful education and leadership programs for communities across the state," said Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan. "Thank you to Regent Lester Young, Chancellor Betty Rosa and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia for continuing to find ways to support academic achievement and college/career readiness across New York." 

The MBK Native American Program’s goals are:

  • To encourage and support young men in making good choices, becoming more resilient, overcoming educational and community obstacles, and achieving their dreams in life, thereby improving their communities and the state. 
  • To address the academic achievement gap by providing activities that support academic instruction and vocational and technical education programs and promote job readiness, job placement, and job retention for Native Americans.
  • For Native American students to gain knowledge and skills to promote academic achievement and life skills needed for successfully entering the college and ultimately the workforce.

The program is open to all Native American students residing within the boundaries of the applicant school district, including any students who have self-identified as Native American (even if they are not on an official tribal roll or living on a reservation). All school districts and Tribal Nations are expected to participate in two or more project components, including the following:

        1. Attend and partake in the NYSED Native American College/Career/Trade Fair in the fall of 2018 (mandatory for all funded projects)


        2. One or more of the following components:

  • Create a program that assists individuals with disabilities in achieving and maintaining employment and to support independent living;
  • Provide K-12 Native American male students with academic support services;
  • Create a student leadership program that helps recruit, train and mentor students to take leadership roles in the community;
  • Create a mentoring program pairing Native American males with role models from the local community, including local colleges and universities;
  • Provide activities aimed at promoting and strengthening cultural awareness and education; or
  • Provide activities that support vocational and technical education programs and promote job readiness, job placement, and job retention for Native Americans.

The grant term runs through December 31, 2018.

NYSED awarded grants to the following districts:

District County Award Amount
Akron Central School District Erie $38,688
Center Moriches Union Free School District Suffolk $16,016
Gowanda Central School District Cattaraugus $75,293
LaFayette Central School District Onondaga $60,528
Lake Shore Central School District  Erie $73,632
Massena Central School District St. Lawrence $47,632
Niagara Wheatfield Central School District Niagara $86,528
Salamanca City School District Cattaraugus $90,272
Salmon River Central School District Franklin $196,144
Silver Creek Central School District Chautauqua $37,440
Southampton Union Free School District Suffolk $24,336

Since 2016, NYSED has awarded more than $12 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.

Since 2016, NYSED has awarded $14 million in MBK Challenge grants to 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 $6 million in Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC) 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. 

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. 

Visit the Department’s My Brother’s Keeper website for details on the initiative.