The YLI Fresno Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) is no stranger to leading. From making parks a city-wide conversation, to bringing restorative justice to Fresno Unified, to getting a Fresno City Youth Commission, this group of young men have led the way in Fresno.
Now they’re leading in another way: as a winner of The Obama Foundation’s first-ever Seed Community grant.
Last Thursday, the Obama Foundation announced the winners of the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge Competition and Youth Leadership Institute – Fresno Boys and Men of Color was one of 19 community organizations across the nation to receive funding and support.
The programs all focus on reducing violence and establishing opportunities for young men and boys of color in the 19 communities.
In addition to a Seed Community grant of $50,000, the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance will provide technical assistance aimed at developing infrastructure to sustain future work.
For Efrain Botello, who has been a part of BMoC for four years, this award affirms all the work: “It is a really good feeling that people acknowledge our work and want to contribute. It’s a blessing.”
“We are really pleased and look forward to continue working to make sure that Fresno is a place where everyone has a chance to thrive, especially our young men of color,” said Sher Moua, project manager of BMoC.
Representatives from BMoC plan to attend the MBK Alliance’s first-ever national summit, MBK Rising!, which will bring together community organizations, youth of color, and elected officials in February 2019. The Oakland, CA event will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the launch of former President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.