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Durham Non-Profit Receives Funding from Obama Foundation to Create Safe Spaces for Young Men of Color in Durham

The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance dispersed $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations nationwide

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES, September 22, 2022 / -- Today, Durham Success Summit announced that it received $20,000 in grant funding from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation. The funding is part of the MBK Alliance’s Freedom Summer 2022 Fund.

Durham Success Summit (DSS) provides free leadership development, career preparation, and mentorship programs to young Black men 16-24 in the city. The organization believes that access to community support networks and innovative improvement strategies are critical. It plans to use the funding to host a weekly series geared toward cultivating new forms of interactions and relationships between young Black men, educators, parents, community members, and organizations. According to the February 2021 Durham Youth Listening Report conducted by the City of Durham, local youth of color lack access to welcoming, safe areas and feel unwelcome in Downtown Durham. The grant will also fund The Success Center, a gathering space and office with free drop-in coaching and networking within American Underground in Downtown Durham for Black male youth who enroll in one DSS’ three professional development programs. Since 2019, the organization has provided over 2,000 hours of professional coaching to more than 150 young, Black men.

The Freedom Summer 2022 Fund is part of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’s broader Freedom Summer 2022 initiative, which launched in June. In an effort to deter youth violence, the MBK Alliance issued a national call to action for communities to create safe spaces for boys and young men of color this summer. Freedom Summer 2022 is an opportunity for individuals, community organizers, and organizations to develop creative ways to keep children engaged and safe this summer.

“We are elated to have the Foundation’s support in filling an urgent community need. The majority of summer programs center around sports and physical activity. There are next to no teen programs that are conversational based, let alone programs that focus on topics pertaining to more than 33.6% of Durham County’s population, such as the effects of police brutality and institutional racism on mental health,” said Derek Rhodes, a 29-year old Durham native and Executive Director who founded the organization in 2019.

The efforts of community organizations are often stifled due to limited financial resources. In line with its mission, the MBK Alliance is committed to ensuring community-based organizations have tools and resources to create safe spaces for boys and young men of color to play, convene, and learn. “I am so proud to support organizations committed to the safety and protection of our boys and young men of color,” said Dr. Adren Wilson, MBK Alliance Executive Director. “The Freedom Summer 2022 Fund will empower grant recipients to pour resources, opportunity, hope, and love into our young boys during a time when they need it most. The MBK Alliance will continue its longstanding commitment to working with community-based organizations to create a brighter, more promising future–not just for our boys and young men of color–but for our country.”

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Derek Rhodes, Executive Director
Durham Success Summit