Why We Can't Wait -- A Case for Philanthropic Action: Opportunities for Improving Life Outcomes for African American Males

by Marcus J. Littles; Micah Gilmer; Ryan Bowers

Jan 1, 2008

This report examines programs and initiatives that impact the life outcomes of African-American males, gathers reflections from the field, and assesses needs and opportunities according to scholars, policy makers, advocates, and organizational leaders. The report documents its findings and recommendations in three categories: academia/research, practitioners/civil society, and public policy/advocacy.

  • Philanthropy can improve the research infrastructure by funding African-American male research grants, creating a national research center, developing a forum for exchange, and supporting opportunities to transmit academic research into policy briefs.
  • Challenges faced by practitioners and nonprofits include capacity issues (notably fund development, technology, and succession planning); professional isolation; and "sector silos" – the disconnect of practitioners from policy makers, advocates, and academics.
  • Of the 51 effective or promising programs for black men and boys scanned by the Urban Institute in 1995, less than one quarter existed and maintained that focus by 2005.
  • Accurate data on black males is missing due to gaps in policy research. Sources do not disaggregate by race and gender; reports on funding trends and their effects on black males are rare; and most data on black males concern law enforcement and criminal justice, rather than social justice, health care, economic justice, or education.