The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, announced that Tulsa is one of four MBK Model Communities, a new initiative that seeks to expand the implementation of evidence-based practices and impact for communities across the country.
Tulsa was selected from a network of hundreds that have an evidence-based track record of success in positively shifting outcomes for boys and young men of color. Each MBK Model Community represents a tangible example of the systems-level impact that communities can have when working to achieve the MBK Milestones.
The MBK Milestones are six key life milestones that research shows are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact. Mayor Bynum and Ashley Harris Philippsen, Deputy Director at ImpactTulsa, joined President Obama at an MBK Impact in Action convening in Chicago to share the city’s efforts to increase the number of students of color enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten.
“I am incredibly proud of Tulsa’s selection as an MBK Model Community,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I want to thank the Obama Foundation for this recognition, which is a testament to our city’s commitment to ensuring that every child has a healthy start and is ready to learn when they enter school. In Tulsa, we believe that investing in our youth is one of the most important things we can do for our city’s future, and we will continue to work tirelessly to create opportunities and provide resources to support their success. Our goal is a city where every child has an equal opportunity for a great life.”
“We are thrilled to announce Tulsa as one of the four MBK Model Communities, a testament to the dedication and tireless efforts of the city’s leaders, educators, and advocates,” Ashley Harris Philippsen said. “This selection highlights our collective commitment to transforming systems and creating lasting, positive change for boys and young men of color. By providing MBK Tulsa with the tools, resources, and support needed to scale their impactful work, we are supporting communities across the country to learn from Tulsa’s example and join us in our mission to create economic mobility for all. We believe in the power of community and collaboration, and we are confident that together, we can pave the way for greater economic mobility and opportunities for every boy and young man of color to thrive.”
“In 2014, in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, I challenged every community in the country to implement strategies to help boys and young men of color,” President Obama said. “Today, I’m proud to see the incredible impact My Brother’s Keeper Alliance communities are having – helping hundreds of community leaders across the country solve problems for the next generation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of MBK communities, cities like Tulsa have changed the odds – creating opportunities for our young people to achieve their full potential. The MBK Model Communities initiative represents the next phase of the MBK Alliance’s work to help communities take on their biggest challenges – and I look forward to continuing this work alongside them for years to come.”
“As we strive to build safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color across the country, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is proud to recognize Tulsa as an MBK Model Community,” said Dr. Adren Wilson, MBK Alliance Executive Director. “Tulsa has demonstrated a commitment to Milestone One: Entering School Ready to Learn, achieving a 33 percent increase in students of color enrolled in Pre-K between 2013 and 2019. By providing direct coaching, peer-to-peer learning, financial resources, and evaluation support, the MBK Alliance is confident that Tulsa will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and best practices for other communities to follow. Together, we can ensure our boys and young men of color have access to the opportunities they need, including the opportunity to have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.”
Each selected MBK Model Community has achieved significant impact in at least one of the six MBK Milestonesby instituting programming and initiatives that have positively shifted outcomes in the educational or violence reduction ecosystems throughout their municipal areas. Tulsa was chosen because of its demonstrated impact in MBK Milestone One: Entering School Ready to Learn – All children should have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.
Between 2013 and 2019, the number of students of color enrolled in Pre-K in Tulsa increased by 33 percent. A 2022 study reported that Tulsa’s free, universal, and full day pre-Kindergarten program has successfully produced a wide range of outcomes—from early academic progress and socio-emotional development, to high school graduation, college enrollment, and even participation in civic life as young adults.
ImpactTulsa will lead the Model Communities initiative for MBK Tulsa. The Obama Foundation’s MBK Alliance will provide MBK Tulsa with the necessary support to continue implementing systems-level change in these areas and to grow its impact in other areas within municipal infrastructure. Specifically, the MBK Alliance will provide MBK Tulsa with:
- Access to direct coaching, evaluation support, and peer-to-peer learning
- Direct resources, including an $800,000 grant ($400,000 a year for two years)
- Ongoing technical assistance for its work
By investing in and spotlighting Tulsa as an MBK Model Community, the MBK Alliance intends to seed other communities across the country with knowledge, best practices, and resources so that they too can achieve systems-level impact in the lives of boys and young men of color.