Grant of $150K to help Fresno black men, youths
The Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development got a $150,000 grant through its Black Men and Boys Coalition to change public policy in west-central and southeast Fresno and to improve the quality of life of black men and youths there.
The grant was awarded by the California Endowment, a private health foundation, through its Building Healthy Communities initiative, a recently begun 10-year project to connect people with social services in 14 California communities, including Sacramento and parts of Merced and Kern counties.
The Fresno West Coalition said Black Men and Boys teams in Fresno and elsewhere will “coordinate a policy agenda designed to change the life trajectories of black men and boys” who are disproportionately victims of “systemic failures that have created unequal health outcomes” because of poverty, the justice system and poor education.
For example, the coalition said in the criminal justice system, non-violent offenders and addicts are treated as criminals, not patients, and diversion programs for youth offenders are gravely under-resourced. In education, the group said there is a lack of connectivity between employment and high school graduation.
Further, the group said “countless disparate impacts in the foster care, health and workforce arenas also disproportionately burden black men and boys, preventing them from achieving healthy, stable, and productive lives.”
The coalition said it recently hired Fresno City College students to work in the Black Men and Boys project for the next few months to give them hands-on experience and develop their professional skills.