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Black Male Achievement: Innovation and Impact

On October 3, 2012, Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement hosted The Innovation and Impact Forum at the Grand Hyatt New York City. The event included over 200 attendees from the philanthropic sector, the business community, community-based organizations, and noted influencers in the Black Male Achievement field. Notable attendees included, Susan L. Taylor (Essence Magazine), NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Philanthropist and Investor George Soros, and Geoffrey Canada (Harlem Children Zone).

The event connected committed leaders from philanthropy, nonprofit, business, and government to collaborate and ensure that progress continues in improving the life outcomes of black men and boys.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the event with a rousing welcome and introduction detailing the work New York City government has done to highlight and expand black male achievement, specifically the NYC Young Men’s Initiative—help black and Latino young men achieve their professional, educational, and personal goals.

Following the introduction from Mayor Bloomberg, George Soros and Geoffrey Canada took the stage and engaged in a lively discussion about their unique perspectives on Black Male Achievement and the need for coordinated efforts on behalf of black men and boys. George Soros commented during their discussion, “Geoff, I don’t know how it is to be a black man, but know the struggle I had in Hungary, and therefore I empathize with your struggle in America.”

We were excited to have all of the 2012 BMA Fellows attend the forum; and speakers at the forum noted them several times. Khalil Fuller 2012 BMA Fellow was an instrumental member of the forum planning committee, meeting regularly with the Open Society Foundation staff and the CBMA Planning team. BMA Fellows Jessica Johnson and Khalil Fuller were also nominees for the inaugural Ebony Magazine MANIfest honors for Black Male Achievement; the recognition was born out of a partnership between Ebony Magazine and the Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The honor recognized hand-selected leaders, artists, organizers and educators from across the country that is doing critical work on behalf of Black men and boys. We were excited to see both BMA Fellows nominated for honors win in their nominated categories.

Khalil Fuller won for the “Manifesting Youth Leadership” and Jessica Johnson won the “Educated Minds” category. The MANifest awards were decided by online voting on the Ebony magazine website over the course of two weeks leading up to the Innovation and Impact Forum in New York City where the winners were announced.

Echoing Green president Cheryl Dorsey helped close the event on a theme of partnership and possibility. Cheryl spoke about the partnership between Echoing Green and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, highlighting the BMA Fellows in the audience and encouraging all in attendance to meet the Fellows for mentorship and partnership. Cheryl also spoke about the possibility and the importance of social entrepreneurship as a way of tapping into the possibility of black men and boys throughout the country.

The Impact and Innovation Forum was an opportunity for Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement to launch a call to action to the audience and those watching online. Campaign Manager Shawn Dove emphatically stated the campaigns strategy to expand and sustain the field of black male achievement. This will be accomplished by:

  • Increasing public private partnerships:
  • Invest in leadership, development, and organizational sustainability:
  • Measure Impact
  • Sustain the work

The Impact and Innovation Forum highlighted that so much has already been accomplished in the field of Black Male Achievement. However, Shawn Dove reiterates we must be tireless in our efforts to expand what is working and sustain the leadership in the field.

You can stream the entire Impact and Innovation forum or individual sessions.

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