California Community Foundation (CCF)

Since implementation in May 2012, our five service partners have enrolled 105 BLOOM youth into their respective programs. We are planning to add at least four more service partners in June 2013. We will continue to add partners over the next couple of years to help us reach our projected target number of 2,000 youth served by 2017. Our “BLOOMers” are being provided with unique opportunities. As part of our partners’ program models, BLOOMers not only have positive connections to male mentors but also spend more than 100 hours undergoing self-actualization training which includes leadership development, cultural enrichment, and guidance on succeeding in school and the workplace and other important topics. Two BLOOMers earned an exclusive opportunity to participate in the six-week AEG Job Shadowing program. The program takes place from February 20 through March 15. This exclusive opportunity is only offered to one out of every 2,000 high school students in Los Angeles. The program will allow BLOOMers an opportunity for regular exposure to the daily operations behind one of the most successful entertainment companies in the world while learning critical job skills that will make them competitive in the workplace. The following profile provides just one example of our BLOOMers (the name has been changed to protect confidentiality of the youth). James is completing his senior year at Evans Community Learning Center in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. James is on probation for being involved with a grand theft auto incident. He would like to attend San Diego State University in the fall. His interests lie in Human Behavior and Philosophy. James has participated in community service activities such as feeding the homeless and neighborhood beautification projects. People who meet James find it hard to believe he has any association to Probation. However, James recently shared that, “I thought I was living life the way it was supposed to be lived in the inner-city. I just didn’t know better. I now realize there are options and opportunities.” In conjunction with LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS, CCF has produced print and radio media placements and materials to expand BLOOM’s messaging. Examples of such placements include: KJLH radio (radio spots by BLOOM spokesperson Larenz Tate), The Huffington Post, California Crusader, and coverage on KABC7 Eyewitness News at 6 pm. BLOOM is also one of five philanthropic initiatives featured in Where Do We Go from Here?: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, a report published in October 2012 by The Foundation Center. The report examines U.S. foundation giving explicitly in support of Black males by issue area, type of support, and geographic area served. The analyses explore patterns of giving by larger U.S. foundations over the past eight years, with a focus on giving from 2008 to 2010.


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM)

    BLOOM is a bold initiative of the California Community Foundation (CCF). BLOOM seeks to support Black male youth (14 – 18 years old) who have been involved with the L.A. County probation system. By 2017, BLOOM will serve 2,000 of these youth with a specific focus on steering them away from the justice system and helping them complete high school, enter post-secondary education and earn taxable income. The end game is simple: school completion and jobs! BLOOM represents a landmark as the ONLY major philanthropic initiative in the country focused on Black male youth involved in the juvenile delinquency system. BLOOM seeks to have a minimum of 60% of youth served complete high school and pursue post-secondary education/training. This projected outcome is considerably higher than the current rate of 25% (high school completion) for probation-involved youth. Additionally, our expectation is that as more youth complete high school, more of them will be prepared to obtain meaningful employment and earn taxable income. To accomplish this, CCF intends to open avenues of access to educational and employment opportunities for 14-18 year old Black males, real and immediate opportunities such as academic support, scholarships, internships and jobs. BLOOM targets Black male youth who have been on probation because this is arguably the most vulnerable of any sub-group in Los Angeles County. The statistics reveal a grim reality: • Black youth make up a disproportionate percentage of youth on probation and in prison. Specifically, while they represent 10 percent of the county’s youth population, they comprise 33 percent of all youth under probation supervision; • In general, only 25% of youth on probation graduate from high school; • It is projected that one in four Black males will be involved with the criminal justice system in their lifetime, while only one in 10 will graduate from a four-year college; • It is estimated that for each cohort of 120,000 young adults each year that become part of the population that will never complete high school, they will cost California $46.4 billion in total economic losses over their lifetimes; and • In general, 45% percent of Blacks in Los Angeles County are either unemployed or not in the labor force, the highest among any racial/ethnic subgroup in the area. BLOOM invests in promoting Educational and Job Opportunity for youth in three ways: (1) academic/vocational advancement; (2) creation of a jobs pipeline; and (3) career-based mentoring. Investments are made through sub-grants to local nonprofit organizations serving this population, and in partnership with other nonprofits, foundations, corporations, and concerned individuals. Through these grants, nonprofit organizations and the local business community make an intentional, concentrated effort to reshape the trajectory of these youth by supporting them complete school, getting them job ready and ultimately placed in jobs. BLOOM provides the support and direction organizations need to embark on such efforts. Often times, efforts to support young Black men and boys are pursued one of two ways: (1) within a general framework to serve people of color in general or (2) under the auspices of a specific issue area (e.g., education). However, the wide disparities that persist in outcomes for Black male youth signal a need to take on a more concerted, focused effort. BLOOM is poised to demonstrate what a concentrated, intentional, and focused effort can achieve for young Black men.