Several chapters have opened their own high-performing charter schools, for example 100 Black Men of Memphis opened the Memphis Academy for Health Sciences; the Las Vegas chapter, in partnership with Imagine Schools, opened Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence;Â and 100 Black Men of Atlanta, in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools system, opened the Business Engineering Science Technology (B.E.S.T.) Academy and the New York chapter’sÂ Â Eagle Academy prepares students for college. To achieve these goals, 100 Black Men has received support from black entrepreneurs, as well as corporate and philanthropic leviathans such as Walmart and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Giving young African American men–the organization’s primary focus–a fair shake requires mentorship and, in many cases, addressing issues related to poverty and inadequate resources. For example, members have identified misdiagnoses of learning disabilities, malnutrition, and lack of access to affordable healthcare.
Chairman Albert E. Dotson believes success will ultimately come through the organization’s approach of “mentoring the 100 way across a lifetimeâ€ rather than making temporary connections with at-risk youth. “We don’t just enter a young person’s life and then come out because we think that can sometimes do more harm than good. It’s all about a sustained and sustainable relationship,â€ he says. “We focus on youth mentoring and believe the young people we mentor must not only be prepared to continue their education, but must be capable of participating in the economic fabric of our country.â€Â
By Robin White Goode and Dale Coachman