There is a significant crisis in the minority communities around the country as it relates to the underachievement occurring for Black males. The statistics are alarming pointing to further degradation in opportunities and progress towards aspirational growth and achievement.
Community action is required to change the environment and it starts with individual actions and commitment. We were fortunate to partner with the Giving Challenge in 2020 which provided a vehicle for giving that our donors responded to and made a huge difference in young, disadvantaged men’s lives! Donors give to causes that touch their hearts and many donors are touched by the opportunity to help others overcome obstacles they may have faced in their past. Our donors saw young men committing themselves to a self-help program and were inspired and motivated to help. The Giving Challenge platform made that support possible where otherwise it may not have existed.
The following statistics point to a need for intervention measures to stop the downward spiral and create/inspire a new reality for this major demographic in our community.
- 46% of Florida minority households are struggling to make ends meet.
- Minority communities typically make up the smaller percentage of groups accessing higher education and/or technical degrees due to financial shortfalls. This reality does not
bode well for future upward mobility and prosperity.
- 65% of Florida jobs will require a degree or technical credentials by 2025.
- Black male reading levels at 3rd grade are well below average and a leading indicator of future assimilation issues into mainstream America.
- Black males continue to score at the lowest end of all measures of achievement, improvement, and access to educational opportunities and benefits.
- Florida faces a talent gap, with jobs increasingly requiring education beyond high school.
- Florida must boost education attainment—especially for our most vulnerable students—so we don’t fall behind.
- Well-paying jobs with opportunities for growth require education or training past high school.
- New solutions must be created & developed to address this growing chasm of failure.
SBPGR Foundation is keenly aware of this foreboding reality and is taking direct action to address it head-on and make a difference. In order to begin changing the dialog and addressing the downward trends, we encouraged and engage the public to help through donations to help us fund our highly acclaimed training syllabus specifically created to address many aspects of deficient behaviors.
We engaged in 2020 Giving Challenge with the purpose of raising funds specifically for the use of our Kappa League program to provide the following:
- Weekly meetings to teach, train, mentor, and coach young men of color in various fields of study
- Provide a lecture series that includes prominent educators, motivational speakers, athletes, religious leaders, health & wellness experts, and other positive influencers to show alternative and aspirational images
- Provide travel experiences to training and educational clinics for unique life experiences
We then asked the parents and the children to gather their supporters to rally behind them and contribute the most funds in a contest to raise the most funds for themselves and the organization.
The Giving Challenge program was a smashing success! Our Kappa Leaguers were able to raise over $8,000 for their support of the programs and secured funding for learning opportunities that would have never existed. The Giving Challenge and the donors made the difference. Without this well-known and trusted vehicle forgiving, the process would have been much more challenging and difficult to enact. Our donors came together for the purpose of making a difference in the young men’s lives and they did it in an outstanding fashion! We look forward to even greater participation in 2022!
As Covid-19 has turned traditional fundraising, philanthropy and in-person events upside down. In this new environment locally our fraternity brothers through hard work and dedication persevered by continuing to impact the lives of students in our community. On April 10, 2021, our foundation hosted its 38th Annual Steve Lewis Achievement Awards Ceremony.
Hosting this event during the pandemic presented many challenges as people were still in fear to gather as new variants of COVID continued to emerge but with the creativity and perseverance of our brothers and community members we were able to host our event at our community center outside in open air and the with the ability to social distance safely.
This year, the fraternity presented seven scholarships and to date, has awarded over $208,000 in scholarships. We also recognized the citizens of the year from Sarasota and Manatee County, Olympia Baylou CEO of Blooming Impressions, and Manatee County Commissioner Reggie Bellamy. Scholarship recipients were DeMario Antwon Evans, Jr. Julian Jerold Gauthier. Zorian Veshawn Geathers, Kaivon Jamal Moran, Reid Anderson Pitts. Myles Edward Woodard and Jabrielle Nelson who received our nursing award, which this year was extremely unique that a male student applied for the award this year. Our brothers and board members did a fantastic job working with all of the local candidates making sure their GPAs were qualified and all applicants were accepted to a 4-year college or technical school and were ready for our prestigious event.
Being able t sustain our project guide program of mentorship and giving only cultivates trust in our community as we continue to impact our community one day at a time.