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October 9, 2019
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Accepting Applications for Two My Brother’s Keeper Grant Programs

$4.4 Million in Grants Will Create Leadership Opportunities for Students and Support Native American Students

The State Education Department is now accepting applications for $1.8 million in My Brother’s Keeper Fellows Program grants and $2.65 million My Brother’s Keeper Native American Program grants, Interim State Education Commissioner Beth Berlin announced today. The MBK Fellows Program provides leadership opportunities to rising high school seniors, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color. Grants for the MBK Native American Program are intended to incentivize and support school districts to accept the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and implement a coherent cradle-to-college/career strategy aimed at improving the life outcomes for disadvantaged Native Americans, with emphasis on boys and young men. The application deadline for both programs is December 6, 2019.

“Through My Brother’s Keeper, we are furthering our work to expand opportunities for boys and young men of color,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “We will continue to invest in students and work to break down the institutional and societal barriers that often hinder their success. The $4.4 million in grants will help improve the futures of countless boys and young men.”

“Many young men of color do not have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to reach their full potential,” Interim Commissioner Berlin said. “The MBK Fellows and MBK Native American Programs aim to end the educational opportunity gap by providing students with mentors, resources and experiences that help them graduate from high school and achieve success.”

“These grants allow us to continue our commitment to strategies that help improve the lives of young people,” Regent Lester Young said. “Mentors, family engagement, and community partnerships promote school attendance, graduation, and success. We are excited to see these initiatives endure and make a difference in our communities.”

“As the first African American speaker of the New York State Assembly, I have always been committed to helping young men of color improve their lives,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “In 2016, I was proud to lead the effort to help New York become the first state in the nation to implement President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and since then we have continued to invest in the program to ensure that young people have access to the resources and programs they need to be successful.”

My Brother’s Keeper Fellows Program

Only the approved 25 New York State MBK Communities are eligible to apply for the MBK Fellows Program grant opportunity. An approved MBK Community Network is a partnership between the Office of the Mayor, county executive or tribal leader and the School District Superintendent (or the Chancellor in New York City), that has been documented with the Office of Family and Community Engagement, as of August 1, 2019, as accepting the New York State MBK community challenge. Additionally, for this grant opportunity, each Community Network must secure a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a local postsecondary education institution, local business, and/or community-based organization.

Each Fellow will be paired with a mentor from a NYSMBK Community Network partner and participate in a fellowship in a local government office or partnering business or educational institute. They will also be required to develop and execute a service project related to a NYSMBK initiative such as:

  • Ensuring equitable access to high quality schools and programs;
  • Expanding prevention, early warning and intervention services;
  • Responding to structural and institutional racism; or
  • Engaging families and communities in a trusted and respectful way.

In addition, Fellows will serve on a statewide MBK Fellows Workgroup to provide valuable input on the development and implementation of a statewide MBK Mentoring Network.

Applicants will select two Fellows who are current rising 12th grade students to participate in the program, which will begin in December of 2019 and continue through the spring of students’ 12th grade year. Eligible MBK community districts which serve more than 10,000 students are eligible for an allocation to serve up to four Fellows during each year in the program period.

New York State My Brother's Keeper Communities
Select Two Fellows Select Four Fellows

Albany CSD

Dunkirk CSD

East Ramapo CSD

Greenburgh CSD

Hudson CSD

Ithaca CSD

Lyons CSD

Monticello CSD

Mt. Vernon CSD

Ossining Union Free CSD

Peekskill CSD

Poughkeepsie CSD

White Plains CSD

Brentwood UFSD

Buffalo CSD

Newburgh Enlarged CSD

New Rochelle CSD

New York City DOE (for Brooklyn)

New York City DOE (for the Bronx)

New York City DOE (for Manhattan)

New York City DOE (for Queens)

New York City DOE (for Staten Island)

Rochester CSD

Syracuse CSD

Yonkers CSD

Available funding is expected to be $1.8 million, subject to legislative appropriation, with funds being used between December 13, 2019 and June 30, 2022. The MBK Fellows grant application is available on the NYSED website. 

My Brother’ Keeper Native American Program

The MBK Native American Program seeks to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with emphasis on boys and young men. Public school districts that are contracted with the NYSED Native American Education Unit for tuition, operating costs, and/or transportation are eligible for funding. Districts will be allocated dollars based on the number of Native American students served in the 2018-19 school year within the district who are (a) on an official tribal membership roll of a NYS tribe, or (b) are the child of such an enrolled member, or (c) live on a Federally Recognized Reservation. New York State tribes include members of the Iroquoian tribes (St. Regis Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca Nation, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, and Tuscarora), the Shinnecock Nation, and Unkechaug Nation.

Additionally, for this grant opportunity, each school district must also secure a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a local Native American Tribe. Available funding is expected to be $2.65 million, subject to legislative appropriation, with funds being used between December 13, 2019 and December 31, 2022. Eligible districts and their annual allocations are listed below:

Eligible School Districts and Annual Allocation Amounts
School District Annual Allocation Amount

Akron CSD


Center Moriches UFSD


Gowanda CSD


Lafayette CSD (Total)


  • Lafayette CSD


  • Lafayette CSD for Onondaga Nation School


Evans-Brant CSD (Lakeshore)


Massena CSD


Niagara-Wheatfield CSD (Total)


  • Niagara-Wheatfield CSD


  • Niagara-Wheatfield CSD for Tuscarora Nation School


Salamanca City CSD


Salmon River (Total)


  • Salmon River CSD


  • Salmon River CSD for St. Regis Mohawk School


Silver Creek CSD


Southampton UFSD


Stockbridge Valley CSD


Tuckahoe Common CSD





The application for the MBK Native American grant program is available on the NYSED website.

The MBK Initiative

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. 

In 2018, NYSED awarded more than $1.15 million in grants to five schools 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.

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.

Since 2016, NYSED has awarded $21 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 $12 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. 

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.”