Improving Outcomes for Boys and Men of Color: New National Collaborative Aims to Identify and Share Best Practices and Fund Cross-Cutting Academic and Community-Based Research

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 2/20/2015, 4:28 p.m.
A new multifaceted effort, RISE (Research, Integration, Strategy and Evaluation) for Boys and Men of Color, has launched to identify ...
Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Philadelphia, PA, February 19, 2015 – A new multifaceted effort, RISE (Research, Integration, Strategy and Evaluation) for Boys and Men of Color, has launched to identify and better understand the strategies that will ultimately improve life outcomes for boys and men of color in four key areas: education, health, criminal justice, and economic opportunity and workforce development. The work will identify best practices and opportunities for new research that can inform equitable policies, and ultimately create positive change in communities across the United States.

Efforts to address the harsh realities that so many boys and men of color face are not new. Yet, with nearly every major indicator of economic, social and physical well-being demonstrating that boys and men of color do not have access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive, the work remains timely and essential.

RISE is supported by members of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, a national philanthropic network committed to evaluating promising approaches, advocating for effective public policy and systems change, and investing in young men of color. The Atlantic Philanthropies, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation have agreed to invest $8.5 million into this $10 million three-year collaborative. RISE will be co-directed by Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and Sharon Norris-Shelton of Equal Measure (formerly the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning), which will also convene this national initiative.

“This collaborative project affords us a powerful opportunity to more effectively leverage our collective expertise to improve policies, practices and conditions for boys and men of color,” Harper said. Harper is also the founding executive director of Penn GSE’s Center for Race & Equity in Education, which has contributed richly to the policy and practices serving boys and men of color.

RISE’s key areas of activity include:

More effectively networking and convening researchers, evaluators, practitioners and community activists to share knowledge.

Funding/sponsoring new research and evaluation projects that identify solutions to challenges faced by communities of color, especially boys and men of color.

Building an easily accessible web-based portal to house research, tools and reports that support ongoing cross-sector dialogue and establish a virtual community of practice.

Expanding the reach and dissemination of knowledge, best practices and policy recommendations that result from the effort with the field of researchers, policymakers, practitioners and community stakeholders in an effort to shift the delivery of supports to boys and men of color.

Said Sharon Norris-Shelton, Equal Measure senior director and RISE co-director, “Developing an interdisciplinary network of scholars, evaluators, practitioners and policy shapers is critical to the effort’s success. This professional network will establish a joint agenda for research, evaluation, effective practice and policy advocacy, and will be poised to make a significant difference in improving the lives of boys and men of color.” Equal Measure is a national evaluation and philanthropic services firm that has been working to advance diversity, equity and inclusion throughout its 30 years of influence in the social sector.