The North Carolina-based William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust awarded nearly $3 million in grants to expand opportunities for at-risk boys and young men of color in Kentucky, Philanthropy News Digest reports.
“The group of leaders we have funded will work to connect the dots within their communities and neighborhoods and partner with other innovative organizations committed to uplifting and building strong families within their communities,” said Dorian Burton, assistant executive director of the Kenan Trust.
Philanthropy News said there are four main recipients. The Campaign for Black Male Achievement was awarded $400,000 for its leadership and capacity-building support to organizations that aid young men of color. Kentucky State University, an HBCU, received funding for its efforts to recruit more Black male students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Transylvania University will use its award toward efforts to ensure college readiness for boys of color, and Fayette County Public Schools will use its grant to establish an office focused on enabling Black male students to close the academic achievement gap.
The Kenan Trust was established in 1966 by a bequest from William R. Kenan Jr., a chemist and industrialist. According to Inside Philanthropy, the Kenan Trust has a special interest in education, giving more than $19 million in grants to K-12 and higher education activities in 2015.
Inside Philanthropy praised the grant awards and noted the tremendous need to fund programs for African-American boys and young men — especially at a time when government funding for incarceration multiplies at the expense of education funding, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education.
“While nobody claims that $3 million in grants will solve all of the challenges facing young African American men in Kentucky or elsewhere, the actions by the Kenan Trust are encouraging, as a funder takes up this difficult work in a single state,” said the philanthropy news outlet.
Inside Philanthropy has observed an increased flow of funding to assist young men of color, but urges philanthropists not to neglect girls of color.