WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s signature program to help improve outcomes for boys and young men of color is getting a new name.
Obama signed a presidential memorandum Friday renaming the My Brother’s Keeper program as the “Task Force on Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color and Underserved Youth.” The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memorandum, which revises the earlier directive that launched the program, before the White House released it.
Broderick Johnson, an assistant to the president and chairman of the task force, said the new, though less catchy, name better reflects the initiative’s work and mission.
Obama’s decision to rename the task force and make other changes is designed to help ensure that the federal work continues, and that it remains a priority at the White House, Johnson said.
Participating federal departments and agencies will be required to report at least once a year on the work they are doing. New agencies have also joined the task force, including the Energy Department, the National Science Foundation and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
My Brother’s Keeper is a public-private partnership and there has been some concern that the federal initiatives could be undone after President-elect Donald Trump takes office next Friday, although Trump spoke often during the campaign about wanting to make life better for minorities and inner-city residents.
Johnson said the program has “really been embraced by Republican mayors and business leaders and others, so that gives us great confidence about the work going forward.”
The president launched the program in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color.
Communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are running their own My Brother’s Keeper programs. The private sector and various philanthropies have committed $1 billion to the effort, and federal initiatives underway are designed to help level the field in education and other areas.
Obama has said he plans to stay involved with the initiative after he leaves office at the end of next week.
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