The Pipeline Crisis for Black Boys and Early Education - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue


Charles J. Ogletree and Deborah C. Wright talk before the Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies luncheon.

Early childhood development research shows that since early experiences create a foundation for lifelong learning and behavior then a strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes.


In New York City, African American children get off to a bad start and end up worse. Sixty-one percent of African‐American children are born into poverty, according to a 2005 report from the Citizen’s Committee for Children of New York Inc. By high school 22.1% of black students drop out, and in adulthood more blacks are unemployed then any other race.

“The sad thing is if you can fall off the wagon before you’re even school age, [life] is a tough challenge,” said Deborah C. Wright, chairman, president and CEO of Carver Federal Savings Bank (No. 1 on the B.E. 100s Banks list with $800,000 in assets under management).

Wright spoke at the “Young Black Leaders of Tomorrow Luncheon” at New York’s Metropolitan Club on Tuesday for Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies, an organization that seeks to resolve the obstacles, which hamper success in young black children, specifically black boys.

William J. Snipes and William E. Schroeder, co-founders of Pipeline are convinced that through early childhood education and care these disparities can be fixed. However, a goal just as formidable is to convince the legal and financial communities in New York City to pool their resources with academic experts who know the winning strategies for these problems. One such expert is Harvard University professor Charles J. Ogletree, who received an award Tuesday for his dedication to their cause.

So, with the goal of raising $225,000, the Pipeline Crisis Working Group, in conjunction with the United Way of New York City set out Tuesday to hold their contemporaries accountable. They placed pledge cards at each table and echoed the possibility that the benefits of their support could provide the foundation for a young Wright or Ogletree to build upon.

Since 2007 the two organizations have raised $75,000 for three early childhood centers in Brooklyn, New York for children 2-5 years old. They hope to create a consistently nurturing environment that will minimize the children’s exposure to “toxic stress.”

Toxic stress can damage a developing brain’s architecture and lead to lifelong problems with learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health, according to the Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child.

“One-third of young black boys are destined for prison. There are generations that are essentially lost unless we can break this cycle,” said Snipes. “The private sector has a stake in that and it is a force that has to be listened to. The direct economic consequences of ignoring these problems are enormous.”

Marcia A. Wade is a reporter at

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.