October 22, 2016
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New Survey Seeks To Stir Interest In Black Male Commissions

[NEW YORK] “Where is the locus of power for policy reform and real change?” It is an all-too-common question among advocates for marginalized males. Yet, the very government agency chartered to answer that question, the Black male commission, has garnered minimal public discussion. This month’s release of The State of Black Male Commissions: A Survey, co-published by Frontline Solutions and Twenty-First Foundation (21CF), marks what the authors hope will be a growing field of research on the city- and state-based commissions and their potential to improve the status and well-being of Black men and boys.


“Many of the important governmental policies and procedures that impact Black men and boys – both positively and negatively – occur at state levels,” said the Rev. John Vaughn, program director for 21CF. “This report begins to give us a handle on the ways that a variety of states are engaging these critical issues and the possibilities for even great impact.”


The report is the product of a broad scan of literature on commissions, and a series of interviews with key leaders, and displays a sharp focus on documenting in detail the practices, strategies, and achievements of Black male commissions and the obstacles standing before them.


21CF was drawn to the project through its Black Men and Boys Initiative (BMB), which includes among its multiple goals a commitment “to achieve policy wins and supplement policies/regulations on issues that improve the social and physical conditions of Black communities.” For Frontline Solutions, the report’s findings are part of the firm’s evolving insights on the unique contributions made by the three fields of government, philanthropy, and the academy to the work around Black males work.


The State of Black Male Commissions: A Survey features a brief contextual history of Black male commissions; an overview of the array of the commissions’ origins, compositions, and target areas; observations from some key individuals including Bryan Echols, executive director of the Chicago nonprofit M.A.G.I.C., and a critical perspective of the state of commissions by a select expert group composed of Dr. Leon Andrews, executive director of the Institute of Youth and Families at the National League of Cities; Loren Harris, principal of Thinking Man Consulting; and Renata Cobbs Fletcher, vice president of Public Private Ventures.


The State of Black Male Commissions: A Survey is available online at www.21cf.org.


Twenty-First Century Foundation (21CF) is a Black-led foundation whose mission is to lead, innovate and influence giving for Black community change. For nearly four decades, 21CF has worked to identify Black communities and populations where the needs are particularly acute and encourage focused, strategic giving to address those needs.


Frontline Solutions is a community of social change leaders, founded to help individuals and institutions to strategically manage change to a productive outcome.



Ryan Bowers

rbowers@frontlinesol.com or (919) 687-6900


Daphne Mack


dmack@21cf.org or (212) 662-3700 ext. 206 

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