My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and ESPN announced today a mentoring program to support youth of color in the greater Los Angeles, New York City and District of Columbia communities. MBK Alliance focuses on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.
Through the partnership, which tips off this month as part of National Mentoring Month, adult mentors will serve as role models, offer career counseling advice, provide educational guidance and encourage the young men to define their aspirations and map out the future they envision for themselves. The Undefeated, ESPN’s platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture, will serve as a community hub to amplify compelling storytelling about the program.
“We’ve had the privilege to work with MBK Alliance in the past and welcome the opportunity to do so again, specifically supporting Black communities who have been disproportionately impacted by social injustices and racial inequality,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN corporate citizenship. “The Walt Disney Company is committed to using more of our resources to create access and opportunity for underrepresented youth and ESPN is proud to support that ongoing effort.”
With support from NBA teams, the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers will engage athletes, coaches and employees to help celebrate and inspire program participants.
“The NBA believes deeply in the power of mentoring, and we are excited to support this new effort launched by ESPN and the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,” said Todd Jacobson, NBA senior vice president of social responsibility. “With so many young people facing real challenges and continued disruptions to their support systems, programs that offer hands-on mentoring are more important than ever and we are proud that NBA teams are collaborating on this effort to make an impact locally.”
President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential. That work continues through My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, which serves as a hub of more than 250 MBK Communities all working to reduce barriers and expand opportunity for boys and young men of color.
“Numerous studies have shown the impact of an effective mentor on the life trajectory of boys and young men of color is profound. But currently, far too many young people who want a mentor will not have one before they reach adulthood,” said Michael D. Smith, Executive Director of MBK Alliance. “ESPN and the NBA have been extraordinary partners in helping us encourage tens of thousands of new mentors across the country. This new partnership allows us to go even deeper, uniting young men with big dreams with role models who can inspire, encourage and uplift.”
About My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
MBK Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. We work to accelerate impact at the community level, strengthen the network of MBK Communities, promote what works and mobilize individuals and institutions committed to improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color. By realizing this vision, we are creating a brighter, more promising future, not just for boys and young men, but for the entire country.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations, and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information, go to: www.espn.com/citizenship
About The Undefeated
The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues. In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.
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My Brother’s Keeper Alliance:
Courtney D. Williams [email protected], 312-767-2443
ESPN Corporate Citizenship:
Olivia Wilson [email protected], 904-303-3538