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President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance has awarded Fresno Boys & Men of Color a $50,000 grant for its work in improving the lives of underprivileged youth.

For Efrain Botello, the grant is an indicator of the hard work he and other youth leaders put into their community.

“It is a really good feeling that people acknowledge our work and want to contribute.” — Efrain Botello, youth leader with Fresno Boys & Men of Color

“It is a really good feeling that people acknowledge our work and want to contribute. It’s a blessing,” said Botello, who joined the group four years ago.

Fresno Boys & Men of Color “supports young people in a way that makes them feel important,” Botello said. “We would like to connect more young people to our group who want to make a difference in their community.”

Nineteen Groups Received Awards

Fresno Boys & Men of Color was one of 19 organizations across 10 states and Puerto Rico selected as national models to expand evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

In addition to the grant, the MBK Alliance team and technical assistance partners will advise the nonprofit on further developing its plans and long-term infrastructure.

“We are really pleased and look forward to continue working to improve the lives of young boys and men of color in Fresno,” said Sher Moua, project manager of the nonprofit.

MBK Alliance launched the national competition in April to identify and invest in communities making steady progress to substantially improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

In an MBK video, President Obama said that the initiative “is something that I will be invested in the rest of my life.”

Fresno Boys & Men of Color

Founded as a Youth Leadership Institute program in 2012, Fresno Boys & Men of Color is a community of young leaders who heal, advocate, and serve to make a healthy home for all.

The organization gets the majority of its funding from The California Endowment.

“We are really grateful to the Obama Foundation, and honored,” said Tim Haydock, director of communications for the Youth Leadership Institute.

Two staff members and 30 youth leaders make up the nonprofit. Together, they invest their time and resources mentoring youth in Fresno’s disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Youth leaders primarily focus on leadership development and advocacy training. But they also provide assistance to better the entire community.

The group’s leaders have worked to upgrade Fresno’s public transit system and mounted a social media campaign to improve Fresno’s parks via Measure P.

They also played a big role in implementing a restorative justice program in Fresno Unified, Moua said.

Using Grant To Better Serve Fresno

Moua said he plans to use the funds to continue investing in boys and men of color to uplift their voices and ensure they have a platform to tell their stories.

“I have worked with young people most of my professional career and really enjoy helping them with the things they care about,” Moua said.

Learn More About the MBK Alliance

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