United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (UWSEPA) decided to invest in Black males due to the disproportionate number of Black males that consistently drop out of high school in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Primary among its interests are the goal of increasing the number of youth who graduate from high school or earn a high school credential if they have already dropped out. Additionally, UWSEPA is committed to ensuring that youth are equipped with the 21st century skills necessary for a successful transition to employment or post-secondary education.
Key Grantmaking Strategies/Initiatives:
- MEE Productions Mentoring-Plus Summer Jobs Program ($40,000 in 2010)
UWSEPA supported MEE Productions in connecting 10 Black men with 50 high risk Black boys to work together in Community Action Teams to deliver health and mental health messages throughout their communities.
- Philly Roots: Leadership Circle for Grassroots Organizations Serving Young Black Males ($458,000 from 2011-2014)
UWSEPA organized 10 grassroots organizations with a track record for success for working well in neighborhoods with underserved Black males who are historically not often reached by larger agencies. Selected organizations receive training, technical assistance, and $5,000 per year for participation in a 3 year leadership development program and outcomes-driven program quality improvement process.
- Recruitment and Training of Black Males as Mentors
($150,000 in 2009; 80,000 in 2010; $180,000 from 2011-2014)
UWSEPA has served as the local affiliate of M.E.N.T.O.R/National Mentoring Partnership since 1990, and as such it serves as an advocate for the expansion of mentoring and a resource for mentors and mentoring programs. The Campaign for Mentoring works with more than 85 different mentoring programs throughout the region to promote mentoring relationships through media campaigns, recruitment and referral, and by providing training, technical assistance and outcomes-driven quality improvement services.
$150,000 in 2009; $120,000 in 2010; $530,000 from 2011-2014. Please view their website at http://www.uwsepa.org/ to learn more about UWSEPA's programming.
Dr. Cheryl B. Oakman, Director, Center for Youth Development and Associate Director, Children and Youth suggests that community perceptions of an institution's reputation as diverse (as illustrated by its own hiring practices, board composition, and leadership profile) can impact the early success and buy-in of an initiative with key stakeholders. "At the time the Center for Youth Development (CYD) first expressed interest in investing in Black male initiatives there was hesitancy on the part of UWSEPA as a whole due to perceptions of its lack of diversity. There was concern that there would be questions about why UWSEPA should be the community leader around this issue." UWSEPA responded to these concerns by identifying competent representative leadership to lead its efforts.
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