Black Men: America's Great, Underappreciated Assets
The Huffington Post
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about black males in the United States? That's the question social entrepreneur Trabian Shorters would like more Americans to ask themselves...(READ MORE)


Heinz Endowments-supported efforts to increase the number of African American male teachers, which include the Black Men Teaching and Heinz Fellows initiatives, reflect a recognition among individuals and groups across the country that more black men are needed in the classroom. The Black.Man.Teach. blog was launched this year to capture the faces and motivations of black male teachers in America. Creator Jabali Sawicki, an instructional designer for an online educational initiative, says he started the blog to inspire more men to pursue teaching careers.

WQED honored 10 local men during the BMe Awards: Celebrating the Efforts of African American Men in the Community in February. The celebration marked the conclusion of an Endowments-supported initiative coordinated by WQED.

Hosted by WQED’s Chris Moore, the BMe (Black Male Engagement) Awards featured performances from the Afro American Music Institute (AAMI) Boys’ Choir, a keynote speech from Trabian Shorters, founder of BMe, and the presentation of 10 awards to area men who have made a positive impact in our communities including:

Dr. Rex L. Crawley, Co-Director, Black Male Leadership and Development Institute (Posthumous)
J.E. Gamble, Pastor, Thirst, Fellowship and Unashamed
Robert Wilson, Vice President, Blazer Capital ManagementDarnell Drewery, Co-Founder, Shyne Awards
Rueben Brock, Professor, California University of Pennsylvania
Shon Owens, Director, Father Hood of Aliquippa
D’Angelo Mitchell, Student, Steel Valley High School
Ricco J. L. Martello, Photojournalist, New Pittsburgh Courier & MSNBC Newsvine
Malcolm Minnekhekh Thomas, Program Director, Reaching Back Male Mentoring and Manhood Development Program (NEIGHBORHOOD Learning Alliance) and Founder, ONE Nation
Lee Davis, Co-CEO, Promotional Push and The Three Horseman

For the past three years, The Heinz Endowments has provided support to WQED to produce a multi-part series called, Portrayal and Perception: African American Men & Boys, to explore how the media portrays African American males, and how society views them as a result. As part of the second year of series, The Heinz Endowments sponsored and WQED coordinated a BMe portion of the work. BMe is an organization which piloted projects in Philadelphia and Detroit to highlight black males engaging with, and leading others in service to their communities, through a series of videos available at an online portal. With WQED, Emmy Award-winning producer and director, Emmai Alaquiva, produced more than 250 stories about Pittsburgh men and boys which may now be viewed at:


The African American Men and Boys Task Force congratulates Pittsburgh native Kyle Abraham on receiving the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius award.” The choreographer and dancer has collaborated with Endowments grantees such as the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Staycee Pearl Dance Project, Attack Theatre and August Wilson Center for African American Culture. He attended Pittsburgh public schools and graduated from Schenley High School. His dance company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, is based in New York. As one of 24 MacArthur fellows in the country this year, Abraham has been awarded a $625,000 stipend, which will be paid out over five years and can be spent as he chooses.


Through the support of the Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task Force, Pittsburgh has become part of the national Black Male Engagement campaign. Known as BMe, the initiative is creating a growing network of black men committed to making their communities stronger. These men are featured in video profiles and celebrated at BMe events. The campaign’s other philanthropic partners include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundations and the Open Society Foundation.

Click here to learn more about BMe Pittsburgh and the men who are making a difference in local communities


Male role models focus of black leadership group

By Mark Roth / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

May 19, 2013

The Black Male Leadership Development Institute graduated 52 teens Saturday who learned about leadership, community service, character and college preparation...(READ MORE)


Community Dialogue on Faith-based Organizations and African American Men & Boys

(Photo by Joshua Franzos)

More than 120 people attended a Jan. 31 community dialogue on faith-based approaches to addressing the needs of black men and boys and their families. Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, above left, director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, was the keynote speaker for the event at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, which was sponsored by the Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task Force. The Washington, D.C.-based Office of Public Witness implements the social justice agenda of the Presbyterian Church.

The respondents to Dr. Nelson’s remarks were:

  • Rev. Dr. William R. Glaze, above center, pastor, Bethany Baptist Church.
  • Hammad Mahdi, above right, minister, An-Nur Islamic Center.
  • Rev. Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell, pastor, House of Manna.
  • Rev. Richard L. Freeman, Sr., president, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network.
  • The discussion moderator was Rev. Glenn G. Grayson, a member of the Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Advisory Board and pastor of Wesley Center A.M.E. Zion Church.

The Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task Force seeks to identify and increase educational, economic, social and leadership opportunities for African American men and boys in the Pittsburgh region. We do this through targeted community-based grant making, balanced communications and community partnerships. This dialogue was part of an ongoing series to both share information with the community and to listen to community perspectives on issues, opportunities and our overall agenda.


Dec. 4 Community Dialogue on Faith-based Organizations and African American Males POSTPONED

The Heinz Endowments regrets that we must postpone the Tuesday, Dec. 4., community dialogue on faith-based approaches in addressing the needs of African American men and boys and their families. Our keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., is experiencing a personal situation in his family and cannot be with us.

We are deeply gratified by the overwhelming interest in this topic and the opportunity to hear from Dr. Nelson, so we are committed to rescheduling this event. When we have arranged a new date and time, we will inform you as soon as possible. _____________________________________________


 Crossing Fences - Four Community Celebrations

SLB Radio Productions is presenting four public celebrations of the Endowments-sponsored oral history project Crossing Fences, a neighborhood-based program that features African American men and boys from the Hill District, Homewood and Hazelwood. The celebrations include CD/book release parties and listening sessions at three neighborhood events and a citywide party, all marking the culmination of this unique project.

The celebration dates are:

  • Nov. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. (Please RSVP here by Nov. 12 for this event)
  • Nov. 17, 5 to 7 p.m., Center of Life, 161 Hazelwood Ave., Hazelwood.
  • Nov. 19, 4 to 6 p.m., Homewood-Brushton YMCA,  7140 Bennet Street, Homewood
  • Nov. 20, 4 to 6 p.m., University Prep at Pittsburgh Milliones, 3117 Centre Ave., Hill District.


The Endowments is funding a second installment of the WQED-TV documentary series “Portrayal & Perception: African American Men & Boys” and supporting the station’s implementation of another media initiative, the Black Male Engagement (BME) Challenge. WQED Multimedia received a $390,000 Endowments grant to coordinate both projects, which will include four, half-hour documentaries that tell compelling stories of African American men in the Pittsburgh region and a campaign to recognize the achievements of local black men that uses social media, a public celebration and connections to BME programs in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit.

The BME (pronounced Be Me) project is a national engagement initiative established by the Knight Foundation that has created an online portal for African American men and boys to share their positive portraits through a digital story corps.

The Endowments has awarded Robert Morris University a $900,000 grant to help launch the university’s Research Center on Black Male Educational Student Success. The gift also provides for Rex Crawley, professor of communication and co-director of the Endowments-supported Black Male Leadership Development Institute, to become chairman of the research center.

Click here to read more about the center.

RMU center will look at what helps black men succeed
July 31, 2012
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Statistics show that black men are far less likely than their female or white counterparts to graduate from high school and even less likely to attend college. (READ MORE)

Civil rights scholar john a. powell visits Pittsburgh May 22

The Heinz Endowments and its African American Men and Boys Advisory Board invite you to a community dialogue with noted civil rights scholar john a. powell on "Structural Inequality and Implicit Bias: Addressing Our Collective Anxiety."

Dr. Larry Davis, dean, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh

Community Respondents:
Dr. Walter Smith Jr., psychologist, former executive director of Family Resources
Rev. B. De Neice Welch, pastor, Bidwell Presbyterian Church
Dr. Curtiss E. Porter, chancellor, Penn State Greater Allegheny

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Registration and refreshments at 5:30 PM
Program from 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Hosanna House
807 Wallace Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15221

Click HERE to register.


University of Pittsburgh Journalism Internship Program for African American Male High School Students

A 10-week, after-school internship that includes a $1,000 stipend is being made available to 10 African American male teens who are interested in media. The Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task and communications staff at the University of Pittsburgh are offering the program, which will include a series of activities designed to provide students with opportunities to practice journalism writing, photography or videography, and to expose them to the practical steps involved in attaining a media career. Internship participants will each receive $1,000 stipend upon completion of the program.

This is an exciting opportunity for youth in the Pittsburgh region who have a sincere interest and enthusiasm about media. If you know of African American male students who fit this description and are currently high school sophomores or juniors, we ask that you encourage them to complete the application. The applications must be submitted to Caren Marcus, a writing internship coordinator at Pitt, by June 15.

Click HERE to download the application.

WQED's "Portray & Perception: African American Men & Boys" Series

This year, WQED-TV is broadcasting an Endowments-supported documentary series, “Portrayal & Perception: African American Men & Boys,” which looks at individuals and organizations in the Pittsburgh region that are challenging common images of black men.

As part of its African American Men and Boys Initiative, the Endowments awarded WQED Multimedia more than $150,000 to produce the series. Kicking off this important television event was a Feb. 21panel discussion on the weekly multicultural program “Horizons.” African American Men and Boys Discussion examined why re-shaping how African American males are depicted in the media is critical to all facets of our society. Joining producer and host Chris Moore for this discussion were:

  • Larry E. Davis, dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems;
  • Desmond King, Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government at Nuffield College, Oxford University, and an expert in the study of race and politics in America;
  • Marcia M. Sturdivant, deputy director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families

The schedule for the four documentary episodes is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. – Pitch Perfect - Producer Minette Seate explored male mentoring relationships that have developed through the Afro-American Music Institute and its Boys Choir.

Monday, March 19, 7:30 p.m. – Owning It - Producer Michael Bartley takes a look at local African American entrepreneurs who are experiencing financial success and finding ways to inspire future business leaders.

Tuesday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.Game Changers - Chris Moore talks with African American males who are fed up with the portraits of them drawn by mainstream media and are taking responsibility to define who they are rather than relying on others to do so. Featured will be Endowments grantees Jasiri X and Paradise "The Arkitech" Gray of 1Hood Media.

Rounding out the series will be a fourth episode and a town hall meeting that are still being developed. Both will take place in October and will provide an opportunity for members of the community to express their thoughts on this vital issue.

Gateway Society seeks to reverse decline in black men entering medical school
Closing the gap
Monday, January 09, 2012
By Kate Luce Angell
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Since the civil rights era, the number of black physicians has been rising, with African-Americans now making up 4 percent of U.S. physicians overall...(Read more

A clearer reflection
Pitt summit questions the portrayal of black men and boys in media
by Ben Schmitt
Pittsburgh Quarterly
Spring 2012
For a college course, the assignment seemed simple enough, if not mundane: Ride a Port Authority bus into a city neighborhood and attend a lecture at the YMCA. Things changed, however, when the Duquesne University freshmen heard the neighborhood’s name—the Hill District, a historically African American community.
“Almost all 28 of them were afraid to go there,” said their professor, James N. Crutchfield, recalling the September day with a chuckle. “The class was virtually all white, and they were reflecting their fears about what they hear on campus, from their parents and from the media.”...(READ MORE)


Woodland Hills, Propel schools get grants to aid black males
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
By Annie Siebert, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Woodland Hills School District and the Propel system of charter schools were awarded a grant from the Heinz Endowments last week to implement programs to help academic achievement among black male students... (Read more)

Heinz Endowment Grant Seeks to Build ‘Scholar Identity’ Among Black Male Students in East Suburban Schools
By Nancy Hart, Urban Media Today
Young boys dream of going to college to become doctors, lawyers, or corporate moguls. Sometimes they imagine big careers as NBA or NFL players drafted early from big time schools…(Read more)

The Endowments report, Portrayal and Perception, which examines news coverage of black males, was released at a November summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Affairs and funded by the Endowments. The event, which explored the image of African American men and boys in the media, was a response to two audits the Endowments commissioned to analyze how Pittsburgh newspapers and television newscasts frame stories about African American men and boys. The purpose of the analyses was to determine what images and stories exist about African American males; how these portrayals affect the men and boys; and what can be done to develop new images and stories that can change the way African American males are viewed by others and themselves.

Read media coverage of the summit:

Media urged to change portrayal of blacks
Summit discusses Pittsburgh news coverage of African-American men and boys
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
By Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Black men in the media
They almost always show up in stories of crimes or sports, which does them an injustice and does not reflect reality
Wednesday, November 23, 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Opinion/Perspectives: Robert Hill, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs

Black activist becomes own media
Thursday, November 3, 2011

Report: Media images distort black reality
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pitt Summit: Black male stereotyping by media
New Pittsburgh Courier
Written by C. Denise Johnson
Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:03

Pitt Summit: Perceptions trump reality
New Pittsburgh Courier
Written by C. Denise Johnson
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:55

Pitt Summit: From perceptions to reality
New Pittsburgh Courier
Written by C. Denise Johnson
Friday, 02 December 2011

© 2017 The Heinz Endowments