Oakland’s African-American Male Achievement

Photo Credit: Oakland Unified School District

EBCF’s role with AAMA program is particularly intensive and successful.

EBCF has often played a pivotal role in connecting donors with innovations in education and other fields. In 2009, then Oakland school superintendent Tony Smith had an aggressive agenda to improve equity for the city’s 40,000+ students. Building on EBCF’s history of connecting national and regional donors to Oakland initiatives, we partnered with the superintendent to raise nearly $7 million to support this vision.

Our role with Oakland’s African-American Male Achievement (AAMA) program was particularly intensive and successful. Oakland’s school district was the first public district to create a department to address the striking disparities in educational outcomes for young Black males, a program whose innovations and successes since 2010 have served as a national model.

EBCF played the formative role in either finding or encouraging 18 donors – corporations, individuals, and other foundations, both local and national – to contribute more than $2.6 million to the start-up effort. The Foundation also oversaw the initial operations of the program with local nonprofits, developed specific funding proposals and reported back to funders on how their grants were being used, managed data collection, and ensured that the entire collaboration worked smoothly.

One of the Foundation’s fund holders, Kaiser Permanente, donated $800,000 to launch the program. Though our role in incubating AAMA is complete, we continue to help manage the annual grant of $400,000 that Kaiser makes to sustain and deepen the program.

AAMA has provided innovative teaching and support for African-American boys and young men, and has elevated the school district’s focus on their successes. As a result, high-school graduation rates for these young men have risen from 50.3% to 60.5% — dropout rates have declined to 23.5% from 30.7%; and suspension rates have dropped by more than one third.