Investing in L.A.’s Black Male Youth
All across Los Angeles, the potential of our children is being lost. At a time when a bachelor’s degree leads to a $1 million increase in lifetime earnings, only one in 10 young Black men graduates from a four-year college. Though they are only 10 percent of all L.A. young people, Black youth make up nearly a third of all youth on probation. And once in the system, it is hard to get out, with more than 80 percent facing re-arrest within three years.
The cost to society is incalculable. We are losing out on countless innovators and entrepreneurs – a generation of civic and community leaders who could shape the future of L.A. But education holds the key. Ninety percent of Black men who drop out of high school face incarceration, yet a diploma reduces the figure to 12 percent.
By investing in the potential of our young Black men, we can help them sow the seeds for life success and break the school-to-prison pipeline.
The California Community Foundation’s BLOOM (Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men) initiative is a multiyear investment designed to positively redirect young Black men in South L.A. who have had contact with the juvenile justice system. It focuses on systems change, partnering with community-based organizations, probation and school districts to alter life trajectories through academic support, mentorship and individually-tailored services. The goal is to increase high school completion, college success and other post-secondary opportunities. BLOOM has been cited by the White House as a possible model to be replicated nationally.