03-08-2017 · African-American Partnership

All young people require support to develop into successful adults and engaged citizens. For boys of color, the barriers they face along the path to adulthood contribute to educational and health outcomes that are far below their Caucasian counterparts. They are less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to pursue a post-secondary education and less likely to be employed as teens – all important steps to prepare for becoming a productive adult. United Way of Greater Atlanta and African-American Partnership are committed to improving outcomes for boys and young men of color in the Greater Atlanta area through partnerships to increase educational opportunities and develop pathways to employment for these young males.



With so much focus on 3rd grade reading, it can sometimes be forgotten how important it is to continue a focus on building literacy skills as youth age. Per the Alliance for Excellent Education, more than 60% of eighth graders and twelfth graders score below the proficient level in reading achievement. More alarming is the fact that half of students of color enter fifth grade with skills below even the basic level.

Renaissance Learning’s 2016 report highlights that three characteristics are critical to strong reading practice:

  1. Comprehension – understanding the main points of a book
  2. Volume – the amount of time spent reading, and
  3. Challenge – the level of difficulty of the text


United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Role

United Way of Greater Atlanta and African American Partnership (“AAP”) are committed to supporting youth serving organizations in addressing this need by building libraries where youth play and learn.  United Way of Greater Atlanta’s AAP affinity group is currently working with the YMCA Villages at Carver, Whitehead Boys and Girls Club and Atlanta Mentoring Cares to build out their libraries.

AAP and these nonprofit partners are collaborating to build a literacy engagement program focusing on volunteer engagement efforts, after school and Saturday programming opportunities for college and career readiness through year-round literacy efforts and more.  The partners will receive $3,000 worth of books in support of the Build A Library plan.  All organizations will work to improve access to programs and services for boys of color and to meet the goals of improving educational and career outcomes for these young males. Key focus areas include:

  • Supporting improved literacy by equipping out-of-school-time providers with the library resources to run robust programs for middle and high school aged youth
  • Providing early intervention services focused on school retention and dropout prevention
  • Exposing youth to career pathways through career exploration, job training and experience
  • Connecting youth to mentors/coaches focused on educational and career planning


Start Here to Help


$5,000 – build a library for middle and high school aged youth

$5,000 – train 30 volunteers on coaching for academic success

$5,000 – to provide two youth with a six week summer internship

$25,000 – comprehensive job readiness and career exposure program for 25 youth

$60,000 – dedicated case manager to work with 30 youth at high risk for dropping out of school

$100,000 – will provide over 75 youth the resources and supports to remain in school, be engaged in learning and start developing a plan for their future.