Mississippi Young Males of Color Grantee Cohort

Creating an environment that supports racial healing and eliminates barriers to opportunity for young males of color is critical to the future and success of Mississippi. Collectively, the following 26 community organizations are working to change the conditions young males of color in Mississippi face by building a comprehensive network of support from birth into adulthood, developing their educational, emotional, physical and economic potential. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is supporting their work through a grant investment of $3.8 million over three years to advance, connect and share on-the-ground solutions and create brighter futures for Mississippi’s children.


Contact Number: 601.317.1617   
Title of Grant: The Jackson Youth Empowerment Project
Purpose/Goals: The Jackson Youth Empowerment Project focuses on racial equity disparities in access to community arts, education and health.  The program will work to improve the academic performance and quality of life of young men of color by providing afterschool resources that include character building, academic tutoring, wellness and artistic enrichment resources. The goal is to develop the potential and individuality of young males of color in grades three through five and engage them in activities that increase their mastery level in the arts and core academic areas.

Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi
Contact Number: 601.932.4778
Title of Grant: Improving the Well-Being and Economic Security of Low-Income Black Children, their Noncustodial Fathers and Communities
Purpose/Goals: The Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi’s project is part of a groundbreaking, policy-focused qualitative research initiative seeking to better understand the impact of child support debt in preventing financial security for black children, their parents and their families. Previously, there has been no effort to examine how this debt limits wealth accumulation over a lifetime and across generations in black communities. The project will explore perspectives and experiences with the child support system and debt accumulation to eventually promote community advocacy and policy change in child support debt forgiveness and other policies.

Innovative Behavioral Services, Inc.
Contact Number:  601.952.0894
Title of Grant: Project LIFESAVERS
Purpose/Goals: LIFESAVERS is a leadership and character-building program aimed at reducing a variety of negative challenges faced by youth. The project will improve academic performance and reduce at-risk behaviors of young men of color in Hinds County by participating in a holistic blend of activities after school and in the summer. Project LIFESAVERS will work to support 50 young males of color between the ages of 6 and 17 aiming to reduce involvement in at-risk behaviors, including alcohol and substance abuse, crime, violence and dropping out of school.

Jackson State University Development Foundation
Contact Number:  601.979.0922
Title of Grant: Helping Single African-American Mothers Galvanize Equitable Outcomes for Mississippi’s Young Males of Color 
Purpose/Goals: Focusing on single mothers of young black males in Greenwood, this program builds awareness that parents are their children’s first teachers.  Mothers in the program are equipped with parenting skills to promote optimal development for their sons and are provided with tools to cultivate school readiness, cognitive and language development, and positive self-concept in their sons as a foundation for lifelong success. The program also raises awareness of the impact of racism on school readiness and future academic success.

Juanita Sims Doty Foundation
Contact Number:  601.366.8309
Title of Grant: A-TEAAM
Purpose/Goals: The A-TEAAM is a collaboration supported by the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation, the Community Engagement and Empowerment Network (CEEN) and the Jackson and Canton Public School Systems. It represents continued efforts by these organizations to promote racial healing through a mentorship program that will improve the quality of life for young African American males in two middle schools. Students will be provided with a “village of mentors” from the community, a purposeful curriculum and parental and teacher involvement.

Legacy Education and Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc.
Contact Number:  601.507.3935
Title of Grant: REAL Project
Purpose/Goals: The REAL Project focuses on leadership development and racial healing among African American, Native American and Hispanic American boys, ages 5 to 18. The project will use an inter-generational approach to help young males understand race relations of the past, present and future. Participants will interview individuals involved in the civil rights movement and create documentaries for others in their communities. During its first year, the project will bring cultural awareness and understanding to at least 20 young men, as measured by their abilities to communicate other viewpoints, participate in six visits to new ethnic or racially diverse communities and coordinate four civic engagement projects on racial healing.

McComb School District
Contact Number: 601.684.4661
Title of Grant: Boys of Distinction Striving and Thriving for a Better Tomorrow  
Purpose/Goals: The Boys of Distinction Striving and Thriving for a Better Tomorrow project will use a curricular approach to improve academic readiness of young boys of color. The project will provide literacy and numeracy instruction to students who are falling behind academically by using summer learning experiences, course work and field trips. This project will also cultivate parent and educator involvement through take-home assignments and professional development opportunities centered on multicultural education and literacy. Ideally, it will help to diminish – and eventually eradicate – the academic deficiencies that exist for black male students in McComb School District and beyond. 

Mississippi Families for Kids
Contact Number:  601.957.7670
Title of Grant: Realizing Excellence Among Leaders/Future Leading Young (REAL FLY)
Purpose/Goals: The REAL FLY project will enhance the social skills, character and self-reliance of young boys, ages 3 to 8. Thirty-six “REAL FLY guys” will work with wise, goal-oriented mentors to develop a strong self-image and experience the benefits of academic success early in life. The program uses curriculum focused on diversity and builds positive relationships with teachers, parents and local law enforcement officers to address common achievement inequities faced by young males of color. 

South Central Community Action Agency
Contact Number:  601.847.5552
Title of Grant: Young Males of Color leadership program
Purpose/Goals: The Young Males of Color leadership program will combat racism and promote cross-cultural exchange through dialogue and community leadership in five large groups of rural Mississippi youth aged 12-19. The students will learn extensively about racial relations within the state by working in communities with regional experts and attending conferences and meetings. The 250 core member students will work with local leaders to develop comprehensive policy design strategies and tools intended to promote racial equality on a local, state and national scale.

Tougaloo College
Contact Number:  601.977.4470
Title of Grant: SWAGG Academy
Purpose/Goals: Tougaloo College’s SWAGG Academy is a multi-component planned mentorship, community immersion and literacy program designed to promote academic achievement, community service and healthy lifestyle choices among young African-American men. Major focuses will include homework assistance and academic mentoring, cultural enrichment courses and activities, mental and physical health development, violence prevention workshops and increased parental involvement. 

University of Mississippi Medical Center
Contact Number:  601.984.1058
Title of Grant: Health Care Equity and Leadership Institute
Purpose/Goals: The Health Care Equity and Leadership Institute targets young males of color, ages 17-25, for preliminary health care workforce training to address the racial and ethnic disparities in health care. University of Mississippi Medical Center, as the only academic medical center in the state, seeks to improve engagement with local communities and foster positive and trusting relationships with the surrounding region. The program also seeks to improve health literacy among low-income communities by touring some of the least-served communities in the state with the students, health care professionals and mobile school materials.

Delta State University
Contact Number:  662.846.4804
Title of Grant: Delta Music Institute’s (DMI) Mobile Music Lab
Purpose/Goals: The Delta Music Institute’s Mobile Music Lab will provide instruction in commercial songwriting, audio engineering and music technology for young males of color in Bolivar and Sunflower counties, giving them opportunities to explore and promote racial healing through the creation and dissemination of original songs. The project will expand the reach of the Mobile Music Lab to 500 young men of color, ages 12-17, and create 35-50 original songs/musical works exploring and promoting racial healing that have been written, recorded and compiled by participants.

I Challenge You, Inc.
Contact Number:  662.332.8060
Title of Grant: Afterschool Program
Purpose/Goals: I Challenge You promotes self-development and academic growth in youth and children by implementing an afterschool, mentorship and ongoing college support program in the Mississippi Delta area. The project works to help children affected by institutional and structural racism overcome their circumstances in a positive way through education and supportive, encouraging adults. The program helps children successfully maintain grade level performance and improve academically and socially.  It encourages young males of color to believe success is possible and to attend college for their long-term well-being.

International Museum of Muslim Cultures
Contact Number:  601.960.0440
Title of Grant: Bridging Cultures Racial Equity Project
Purpose/Goals: The Bridging Cultures Racial Equity Project reframes the debate around African American education, leadership and race relations – transforming black history from a deficit narrative to an experience ripe with academic success, model character and sophisticated communities. This project, headquartered in Holmes County, will promote a new way of teaching young males of color, enhancing their dignity, pride, self-esteem and social development. The grant will support training and resources for 1,648 African American males, in addition to 252 parents, teachers and school administrators in Holmes County.

Mississippi Center for Justice
Contact Number:  601.352.2269
Title of Grant: N/A
Purpose/Goals: This project champions the importance of racial healing and racial equity for young males of color, ages 11 to 18. Young black men in Sunflower County and Indianola School District in need of legal representation in school discipline proceedings will be matched with attorneys from the Mississippi Center for Justice.  The attorneys will educate parents on how to advocate effectively for their children. Their continuing approach combines legal intervention with organizing, education, storytelling and policy reform.  The project will also recruit a cohort of black males in Sunflower County to create a documentary that details their struggles to succeed in school and outlines how various forms of support, including legal advocacy, are creating new opportunities in their lives. 

North Bolivar County Schools Foundation, Inc.
Contact Number:  662.775.0678
Title of Grant: Students Involved in Community Change (SICC) Peer Power Pipeline 
Purpose/Goals: This project mitigates the effects of structural racism by empowering a cohort of students in Bolivar County to take the lead in advancing their communities through civic engagement. Project organizers will develop a group of activated, socially conscious and successful young men who will be paired together and led through tutoring and mentoring programs, four days per week. The goals are to help seventh and eighth graders learn about the importance of strong academic performance to increase their high school graduation rates and college and career success; to provide leadership training and paid community service opportunities to high school and college students and to partner with the North Bolivar County Schools Foundation, Inc. to develop a sustainable model that can be replicated in underserved and communities across the nation. 

Rasberry United Methodist Men's Club, Inc.
Contact Number:  662.392.1436
Title of Grant: Men of Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Overcoming Obstacles, and Racial Equity (VALOR) 
Purpose/Goals: The Men of VALOR project provides peer learning and training opportunities to young black men in the Indianola School District. It helps them build confidence and positive mental health through programs that encourage community service and strong academic development. By aggressively promoting the positive contributions of African American men throughout history, the project equips participating K-8 grade students with information and support to overcome the burdens of poverty and racial inequity. In partnership with Mississippi Valley University, Delta State University and leaders at a host of local service organizations, the Men of VALOR project will also provide training to the students’ parents.

Baby Steps, Inc.
Contact Number: 662.844.8989
Title of Grant: An Early Start to Racial Equity
Purpose/Goals: An Early Start to Racial Equity is a multifaceted approach to support the positive development of African-American boys through early childhood education scholarship assistance, teacher training and instructional coaching that improves educational outcomes. The project will provide scholarships for 30 African-American 3- and 4-year-old boys to quality and culturally enriching early childhood education programs that prepare them academically, socially, emotionally and behaviorally for kindergarten. In addition, centers providing scholarships will be provided an enhanced curriculum, and parents will become members of Baby Steps, commit to volunteer at their child’s early childhood center and participate in monthly training sessions.

Action Communication and Education Reform
Contact Number: 662.565.2478
Title of Grant: Promoting ACTION Through History and Storytelling (PATHS)
Purpose/Goals: The PATHS project will promote racial healing and educational equity through storytelling, training and learning experiences that engage youth of color, their parents and community members. PATHS will create digital stories, oral histories and mini-documentaries that capture historical racial disparities, education equity and quality of life in Montgomery County through the eyes of community members. These stories will identify common ground for males of color, generate awareness of racial barriers, discuss how to overcome barriers and explore ways to invest in children’s academic success.

Mississippi State University
Contact Number:  662.325.3570
Title of Grant: Together We Can (TWC)
Purpose/Goals: TWC offers an approach to school readiness that integrates biophysiology and relational concepts. It is designed to improve co-parenting quality, family conflict management, emotion regulation, sleep quality and parental engagement in early education. Leaders of the project aim to make caregivers, especially those in the black community, more aware of how their involvement in academic-related activities are linked to children’s success in school. Project participants will complete a series of six two-hour parents education workshops offered at the Head Start Center and aimed at bettering students’ outcomes in language development, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, social and emotional development, approaches to learning and physical health and development. 

Hope Community Development Agency
Contact Number:  228.435.7180
Title of Grant: Renewing Hope
Purpose/Goals: Hope CDA’s Renewing Hope project seeks to address the academic, health and leadership potential of African-American, Hispanic and Vietnamese young males 7-19 as part of its efforts to advance racial healing in East Biloxi and the Gulf Coast. The project will improve the life chances of young males of color in East Biloxi through mentorship and academic skill building to stay in school, perform at grade level and earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Emphasis will be placed on after-school tutoring, financial literacy, volunteerism, conflict management and negotiation within a racial healing framework.

Steps Coalition
Contact Number:  228.229.8552
Title of Grant: First 8 Years (1st8Yrs): Ensuring A Foundation for Vietnamese and African-American Young Males of Color in Mississippi
Purpose/Goals: The 1st8Yrs brings a collaboration of community-based organizations together to implement four critical strategies: case management for identified households that include young males of color between birth and 8 years old, community need assessments, racial healing training and activities and targeted health care policy advocacy for low income families. The program will target Mississippi’s Harrison, Hancock and Jackson Counties. 

Trinity Outreach Corporation, Inc.
Contact Number:  228.627.4823
Title of Grant: Teen Leadership Development Institute
Purpose/Goals: The Teen Leadership Development Institute will focus on dismantling structural racism through class-based sessions that promote awareness and foster discussion of positive alternatives. The program will incorporate local civil rights leaders and activists, provide historical context through trips to significant civil rights movement sites and encourage participants to work together to develop progressive racial equality policies. The program will also reach out to media contacts to heighten awareness and spread the positive message. 

Community Catalyst, Inc.
Contact Number:  617.275.2814
Title of Grant: Educational Pathways for Equity and Community Change
Purpose/Goals: The Educational Pathways for Equity and Community Change project aims to create opportunities for young people of color from low-income Mississippi communities to gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to direct and staff organizations working for positive change in their communities. The project will establish a community change degree program that increases higher education enrollment and graduation, mentorship opportunities and gainful employment of African-American adult males. The project will prepare the next generation of African-American leaders by bringing together local academic and community-based organizations to create educational pathways and program connections that address racial inequity. 

Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc.
Contact Number:  334.956.8200
Title of Grant: Mississippi Juvenile Justice and Education Reform Project
Purpose/Goals: The Mississippi Juvenile Justice and Education Reform Project seeks to improve the lives and outcomes for young men of color and disabled youth through meaningful reform of the state educational and judicial systems. The project will provide constructive alternatives to current punitive systems and policies that push youth out of schools and often into the criminal justice system. Targeted outcomes include increased state investment in proven community-based alternatives to incarceration, closing of abusive prisons and a reduction in state investments in prison-like juvenile detention facilities. 

Young People’s Project, Inc.
Contact Number:  617.354.8991
Title of Grant: Young People’s Project - Mississippi (YPP-MS)
Purpose/Goals: The Young People’s Project aims to increase academic achievement, civic leadership and successful social lives and relationship for young black males throughout the country. The project has been recruiting and developing high school- and college-aged math literacy workers to spread messages about positive academic achievement and mathematical literacy, while also teaching and training younger members of the community. This project is the anchor site for the National Young People’s Project, providing an institutional blueprint for the expansion and support of seven additional sites. 

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“Empleen el dinero del modo en que crean conveniente, siempre y cuando promueva la salud, la felicidad y el bienestar de los niños.” - Will Keith Kellogg

“Sèvi ak lajan an jan w vle depi se sante timoun, byennèt timoun ak kè kontan pou timoun w ap ankouraje.” - W.K. Kelòg