Though the population of men ages 18 to 24 in New York City is roughly evenly divided among whites, blacks, and Latinos, the outcomes of these groups could hardly be more different. Across the five boroughs, black and Latino young men have a poverty rate 50% higher than white and Asian young men; an unemployment rate 60% higher; twice the likelihood of not graduating from high school; and a much greater likelihood of becoming teen fathers. Worst of all, more than 90 percent of young murder victims and perpetrators are black or Latino.
New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative is the nation’s most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men
New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative was launched by then Mayor Bloomberg in August 2011. Backed by a powerful partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the City of New York, and the Open Society Foundations – and a total of more than $120 million in investment – the Young Men’s Initiative has four key areas of focus: education, the justice system, employment, and health.
Narrowing the achievement gap in education by removing barriers, creating new strategic investments to inform the entire system about how to better serve these populations, launching innovative programming to support young people in their educational journeys, and promoting accountability throughout the Department of Education.
THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
Improving outcomes for black and Latino males in the justice system by reforming how New York City serves its juveniles and removing barriers to the very things—employment, education, civic engagement—that will help people with criminal records turn the page in their lives.
Promoting employment by removing barriers faced by black and Latino males in the pursuit of work, transforming the culture of public housing authorities to support connections to employment, and creating public-private partnerships that provide summer jobs for young people.
Improving the health of black and Latino youth and their families by reducing barriers to engagement by fathers, ensuring young black and Latino males have access to health care services, promoting more mentoring opportunities, and taking a public health approach to violence prevention.
As part of a $30 million investment in the Young Men’s Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies helped structure and fund the nation’s first Social Impact Bond to finance a new evidence-based intervention to reduce the reincarceration rate among young people leaving Rikers Island (a city jail).
This innovative public-private partnership financing model unlocks a new source of capital for social change. For this initial effort, Goldman Sachs is fully funding the intervention for youth with an investment that is structured as a loan to MDRC, a leading nonprofit organization. MDRC has contracted with the city to ensure that the intervention is successfully implemented. Bloomberg Philanthropies is backing a portion of Goldman Sachs’ loan with a $7.2 million grant to MDRC over that same four-year period, which will be held as a guarantee. If social outcomes are achieved that generate taxpayer savings, the government will pay the investors back with interest.