New MBK Alliance Identifies Mentoring as Critical to Opportunity and Achievement

Diane Quest, Senior Director of External Affairs
May 8th, 2015
Posted In: Campaigns

May 2015

This week, President Obama announced the launch of the MBK Alliance, a nonprofit charged with carrying forward the vision set forth in the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address disparities and barriers to opportunity and achievement for boys and young men of color. MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is proud to serve as an MBK Alliance Partner along with National League of Cities, Opportunity Youth Network, PolicyLink, Strive Together, United Way, and Urban Institute. MENTOR will assist communities in integrating mentoring as a critical component in their overall strategy to close support and opportunity gaps for young people of color.

MBKIn his announcement, the President said he and the First Lady will remain committed to this issue now and for the rest of their lives, sending a clear message about the enduring purpose of the new Alliance and the complexity of the issues it seeks to address. While the solutions are also complex, mentoring has been identified as a key asset that can drive success in a young person’s life, particularly when the relationship is supported through a quality mentoring program. As highlighted in the White House report one-year anniversary of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, communities across the country are initiating MBK mentoring efforts, including Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Lansing, Michigan.

The MBK Alliance will build on the momentum created by the My Brother’s Keeper initiative by focusing on sustainable, long-term, and effective engagement based on four key factors:


  • Catalyzing Place-Based Change to help spark localized change and spread impactful practices throughout the country.
  • Creating Aligned Action to unite cross-sector actors around a common agenda for BYMOC with measurable targets.
  • Generating Commitments to spur new capital and engage the private sector to deliver impactful talent policies.
  • Scaling “What Works” to identify and scale innovative solutions and promote evidence-based best practices.

Our goal as an MBK Alliance Partner will be to help communities harness existing infrastructure and expertise to maximize the impact of mentoring efforts improve support systems and community connections.

The MBK Alliance has great potential to impact change with the collaboration and strong support from the Administration, nonprofit partners, philanthropy and the private sector.

MENTOR has advised the My Brother’s Keeper initiative since its launch in February 2014, including the President’s task force, which identified mentoring as one of the critical tools proven to support young people. Yet the report recognized that, based on MENTOR’s recent survey that found one in three young people will reach adulthood without a mentor, it is a tool that we must scale.

More About My Brother’s Keeper

In February 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative with philanthropy and the private sector to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color. The goal is to ensure that all young people who are willing to do the hard work to get ahead can reach their full potential — using proven tools and focusing on key moments in their lives where we can help make a difference. The President established an interagency task force that published a report examining statistics, research, government programs and policies and community-based efforts related to the opportunities and challenges of young and boys of color.

The task force identified mentoring as one of the critical tools proven to support young people. Yet recognized that, based on MENTOR’s recent survey that found one in three young people will reach adulthood without a mentor, it is a tool that is underutilized.

As the unifying champion for expanding quality youth mentoring, MENTOR served as an advisor to inform the task force recommendation to address this mentoring gap by launching a public-private campaign to actively recruit high-quality, sustained mentors for all youth and improve the quality of mentoring programs. The recommendation includes five key priorities that would result in increased public and private engagement and investments in evidence-based mentoring, innovation, research and recruitment (read about the five priorities).

The task force also identified five universal milestones that are key to a young person’s healthy development and successful transition into adulthood, including:

  • Entering school ready to learn
  • Reading at grade level by third grade
  • Graduating high school ready for college and career
  • Successfully entering the workforce
  • Reducing violence and providing a second chance

As the report recognized, MENTOR’s research builds on a base of evidence that shows that mentoring relationships, when supported by quality programs using evidence-based practices, are known to produce positive outcomes that support young people in achieving each of these milestones.

The President’s first call-to-action in response to the task force report was for Americans to improve support and opportunity by pledging to become a mentor.

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