A new website to promote the coordination and development of programs for American black men and boys was launched this week.

The Black Male Achievement website, www.bmafunders.org, offers an interactive map showing which nonprofits and philanthropies across the country are involved in what programs and where.

It provides an “Outcomes Toolkit’’ that points users to key indicators that can measure the impact of their work. It also offers state-by-state, and sometimes county-by-county, data on poverty and other indicators of well-being. Plus, there are links to other websites focusing on black men and boys.

The project was launched by the New York-based Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations, founded by investor and philanthropist George Soros. The Open Society Foundations has invested $50 million in black male achievement over the past five years.

“We hope that putting the data out there facilitates coordination among funders and their nonprofit partners,’’ said Seema Shah, the Foundation Center research director who oversaw its recent report on philanthropy for black men and boys.

“We hope that folks can learn what their peers are doing,’’ said Shah, “and can identify potential collaborators.’’

The data track grants explicitly targeting black men and boys, said Shah, not broader grants that also help them. Funding focused on black men and boys has risen from $22 million in 2008 to nearly $29 million in 2010, she said. Education received 40 percent of the funds.

The narrow focus stems from growing concerns over black males’ educational, financial and social achievement. For example, 47 percent of black male students in the U.S. graduate from high school compared to 78 of white male students, the foundation center reports. Median hourly wage for black men is $14.90; for white men it’s $20.84.

To tackle these issues, the website will share the nation’s best practices. Said Shah: “There are many opportunities for foundations to become engaged.’’


Jean Hopfensperger 612 673-4511