Historically Black Fraternities Introduce Mentoring Brothers in Action, Elevating their Partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters to Change the Odds for African-American Boys

Popular Nationally Syndicated Urban Radio Host Michael Baisden Supports the Initiative and Challenges Other Radio Hosts, Celebrities, Corporations and Influencers to Step Up

Philadelphia, PA. January 12, 2012 –Big Brothers Big Sisters and its African American fraternity partners are marking National Mentoring Month and the January 16 Martin Luther King Day of Service with the launch of Mentoring Brothers in Action, Phase II of their two-year collaborative partnership. The goal of the program, which will include support from popular nationally syndicated urban radio host Michael Baisden, is to engage more African American men in fraternal, social, faith-based and professional organizations to get involved in one-to-one mentoring to change the odds for African American boys.

“With Mentoring Brothers in Action, we are working with our fraternity partners, bolstered by the support of Michael Baisden — one of the most prominent and passionate proponents of mentoring — to bring together our best resources to tackle one of the nation’s most urgent crises. Our goal is to have a positive impact on high school graduation, juvenile justice and economic equity,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Co-Chief Executive Officer Max Miller.

The 2012 action plan includes:

MentoringBrothers.org, powered by Big Brothers Big Sisters: The unique website and social media effort, which launches January 16, will enable African American men to be the impetus for dramatically changing the odds for African American boys across the nation. Initially developed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as an African American male mentor recruiting tool, the revamped MentoringBrothers.org will serve as the nation’s central source for in-depth, interactive mentoring resources.

Mentoring Brothers in Action National Summit: Michael Baisden will headline this Big Brothers Big Sisters summit February 10 in Atlanta, where invited guests include education and mentoring experts; mentors, mentees and supporters.

Replicating and expanding best practice partnership initiatives: African American fraternity chapters will team with a number of Big Brothers Big Sisters local agencies to host “friend raisers,” barbershop recruiting drives, Bowl for Kids Sake fundraisers, and other efforts that have been successful throughout the mentoring network to engage more African American men in long-term, professionally supported outcomes-focused mentoring.

Combining Resources: The plan will include strategic pilot programs aimed at assisting fraternity partners in demonstrating measurable outcomes for children who participate in their unique service initiatives and programs, such as Kappa Alpha Psi’s Guide Right; Omega Psi Phi’s Operation Lamp Light; and Alpha Phi Alpha’s Project Alpha.

Popular nationally syndicated urban radio host Michael Baisden supports Mentoring Brothers in Action and has challenged other radio hosts, celebrities, corporations and influencers to step up.

“Like so many of our young men, my father also abandoned me so I understand the importance of mentoring. I was fortunate to have uncles and other men in my community to set the right example and to correct me when I was out of line,” said Baisden, who is challenging other influencers, donors and celebrities to support the effort. “If we want to see different results in our young people we have to invest more into them and show them what is possible. I became a successful writer because I saw successful writers; I became a successful radio personality because I saw successful radio personalities, and so on. If we want to create more successful children we need them to see an example of success and integrity. Success is not an accident, it’s something you practice every day in the way you live your life and the way you treat people. Become a mentor today and be that example!”

Big Brothers Big Sisters expects Mentoring Brothers in Action to create new and broader pathways to provide mentors for African American boys who disproportionately represent children waiting to be matched with Big Brothers. The national mentoring organization carefully screens volunteer mentors and matches them with youth who face adversity in long-term, professionally supported mentoring relationships. One of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ largest funders is the Office of Juvenile Justice and Detention Prevention, which competitively awards Youth Mentoring Grants to nonprofits serving children who are exposed to high levels of family, community or social risks that could lead to educational failure, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses.

“Community centers give kids a place to go after school and many other programs expose young people to new cultural opportunities. However, only one youth intervention is proven by independent studies to help children who face adversity achieve in school and succeed in life. That intervention is Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Alpha Phi Alpha President General President Skip Mason. “Our fraternity has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters for more than two decades. Mentoring Brothers in Action expands our reach to other African American men who want to be a part of the solution as well as other individuals and organizations wishing to invest in this kind of work.”

“There is a real and pressing business and economic case for Mentoring Brothers in Action. The data and stories on MentoringBrothers.org illustrate that children in long-term, staff-supported one-to-one mentoring relationships are more likely to succeed in school; avoid risky and delinquent behaviors; and have higher aspirations and self esteem. Enrolling more African American boys in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America means more of these young men will enter college, get initiated into our fraternities and graduate to become tax payers. These achievements justify our investments and enable the participants to give back to the communities they live in and beyond. Kappa Alpha Psi is honored to be a part of this meaningful endeavor,” said Kappa Alpha Psi Grand Polemarch William “Randy” Bates, Jr. Esq.

“Mentoring Brothers in Action takes our two-year partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters to the next level. In a powerful demonstration of unity and a deep collective concern for our communities, we are taking accountability for ensuring that African American boys achieve in school and succeed in life. MentoringBrothers.org utilizes the strength of technology and social media, powered by Big Brothers Big Sisters and its longstanding proven mentoring success, to engage African American men across the country to take the lead in changing the odds for our boys,” said Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. President Dr. Andrew A. Ray.

Two-year Progress with the African American Fraternity Partnership

  • Since launching the Big Brothers Big Sisters fraternity collaboration partnership, the mentoring network has enrolled at least 440 of the fraternities’ members as Big Brothers. (Note: These numbers reflect fraternity members who self- identified during enrollment, a process which differs from affiliate to affiliate. The organization continues to improve its enrollment information data collection processes and believe the actual numbers of fraternity members are greater than reported data reflect.
  • Fraternity partnership members have joined Big Brothers Big Sisters national and local agencies as board members, agency leaders and staffers and are represented on the organization’s Nationwide Leadership Council.
  • The mentoring network’s fraternity partners have enlisted support from other National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations for Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraisers, for example, bringing in over the past two years more than $15,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit; $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana; $30,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star and $5,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan).
  • In the past two years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan)’s annual Pan Hellenic Big Brothers Big Sisters Wine & Cheese Reception raised nearly $30,400 to support the agency’s “Power of 40” recruitment event. The fraternity partners provided Support to Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates during nationally syndicated urban radio host Michael Baisden’s One Million Mentors Campaign and Save Our Kids tour, which raised $95,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies and resulted in more than 500 volunteer inquiries. The inquiries resulted in 128 new volunteers who are currently in long-term mentoring matches (60 of them, men).
  • Through Operation Lamp Light, Omega Psi Phi is working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit to adopt a Detroit high school and build a relationship with a core group of 13- to 14-year-old boys. Some Omegas are spending one-to-one time with boys while the larger fraternity supports bimonthly workshops or field trips to museums and sporting events.
  • Through Rico’s Roundtable and Theta Omega Chapter’s Men of (Q)UALITY Program in Louisville & Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana have partnered to mentor boys as a part of their project to close the achievement gap between minority & majority students.
  • The fraternity partners held barbershop volunteer mentor recruiting drives, bringing African American male mentors to Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Michigan); Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland; and other Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates.
  • In an unprecedented move, Kappa Alpha Psi appointed 12 regional mentoring directors to oversee recruitment and retention of prospective Big Brothers. The fraternity is working to provide opportunities for Kappa “Littles” to benefit from its Kappa League program, which has launched the Diamonds in the Rough campaign, promoting greater access to college scholarships and standardized testing preparation.

About Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has continued to supply voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The Fraternity has long stood at the forefront of the African-American community’s fight for civil rights, through Alpha men such as Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, Retired Senator Edward Brooke and Cornel West. Others include members of the 110th Congress including: Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO), Charles B. Rangel (NY), Danny K. Davis (IL), Chaka Fattah (PA), Al Green (TX), Gregory Meeks (NY), David Scott (GA), Robert C. Scott (VA). The fraternity through its college and alumni chapters serves the community through nearly a thousand chapters in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. For additional information, go to www.alpha-phi-alpha.com.

About Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. is an international organization founded on the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana on January 5, 1911. Since its inception, it has trained men, particularly undergraduates, for leadership roles in their communities and the attainment of a high degree of excellence in their academic pursuits. Its membership represents some of the most outstanding Americans in our country’s history including Arthur Ashe, Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, Johnnie Cochran, Jr., a host of Mayors and other elected officials, and five (5) current members of Congress. The International Headquarters is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For additional information, go to www.KappaAlphaPsi1911.com.

About Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is an organizational Brotherhood consisting of over 750 chapters throughout the world. The fraternity is a historically Black fraternal organization that provides and promotes programs of social, cultural and economic uplift to the communities we serve. For almost a century, we have recruited, trained and deployed men of color for leadership roles in service to humanity. . Its membership represents some of the most outstanding Americans in our country’s history including but not limited to; Langston Hughes, William H. “Bill” Cosby, William (Count) Basie, Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, Michael Jordan, Steve McNair, Keith Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, Earl Graves, Jessie Hill, Grant Reynolds, Roy Wilkins, Jesse Jackson, Vernon Jordan, Benjamin Hooks, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Benjamin E. Mays, Professor Frank Coleman, Lawrence Douglas Wilder, James E. “Jim” Clyburn, Kendrick B. Meek, Dr. Ernest Everett Just, Dr. Charles Drew, Percy Julian, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, etc. Our social action programs touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of families and individuals each year. Whether our efforts result in entertaining an audience, educating a group of young people; or simply helping those in need, we have developed a reputation for delivering programs and projects that make a difference in the lives of those we serve. For additional information, go to www.omegapsiphifraternity.org.

About Michael Baisden / Michael Baisden Show / Michael Baisden Foundation
Michael Baisden is a nationally syndicated radio personality and has been recognized as one of the most influential men in radio. The Michael Baisden Show is an entertaining four-hour afternoon radio program that airs Monday – Friday from 3-7 p.m. ET and combines the best in music, comedy and social commentary to inspire real change across America. Heard in 22 of the top 25 Urban radio markets, The Michael Baisden Show reaches more than seven million listeners each week and is syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks.

He is also a TV talk show host, filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author with nearly two million books in print. Baisden is well known for his philanthropic endeavors including spearheading the famous Jena Six March, promotion of free clinics, voter registration initiatives and, through the Michael Baisden Foundation, his “One Million Mentors: National Campaign To Save Our Kids” tour where he donated over $350,000 of his own money. Over the past five years the foundation has donated nearly a half million dollars to other 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. to help support Youth Organizations. These initiatives lead to him being awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation “Keepers of The Dream” Award. In October 2010 President Barack Obama publicly congratulated Michael on his efforts. He founded the Michael Baisden Foundation to focus on mentoring, education, and literacy. Michael believes that “books change lives” and he is living proof!

About Big Brothers Big Sisters
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports them in one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The organization holds itself accountable for children in the program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as higher aspirations; greater confidence and better relationships; educational success; and avoidance of delinquency and other risky behaviors. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are in single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated. Headquartered in Philadelphia with a network of about 360 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters has approximately 630,000 participants, including our volunteer mentors, their mentees, and the children’s parents/guardians. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.