Marc Lamont Hill, a commentator and associate education professor at Columbia University, was keynote speaker for a 2011 Endowments-sponsored forum at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, ''Evolving the Image of the African American Male in American Media.''
African American Men and Boys Initiative
The African American Men and Boys Initiative was created in 2007 to identify and increase educational, economic, social and leadership opportunities for African American men and boys in the Pittsburgh region. This mission uses an asset-based approach in working with the African American community to create improved life outcomes for this population.
The initiative is guided by a task force under the leadership of Carmen A. Anderson, senior program officer in the Children, Youth and Families Program. Additionally, the team is comprised of staff from the Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, and Community & Economic Development programs and the foundation’s Communications Department.
To develop its goals and strategies, the African American Men and Boys Task Force held a series of five community focus groups, followed by a briefing for all focus group participants. The purpose of these meetings was to listen to and be directed by the community in determining priorities. Ongoing community participation was integrated into the task force’s work through the creation of an advisory board, whose members advise the task force on priorities, possible action, potential partners and advocacy opportunities.
Based on the community conversations and advisory board input, the task force established the current priority areas that guide the team’s grant making, which are: access to economic opportunity; educational opportunity; identity, gender and character development; communications; and evaluation.
The team also developed the following Statement of Commitment to provide a foundation for its work:
The condition of Pittsburgh’s African American men and boys is a consequence of both historical and current injustices, including enslavement, structural racism and a narrow definition of black manhood. We respect the historical context and scope of the task, as we move to support the African American community in its continuing effort to address the challenges for men and boys. We recognize that the needed change will require active participation and support on the part of a significant number of individuals and institutions in the Pittsburgh region.