Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men of Color.

Momentum Solutions
Social Impact Today
3 min readJul 22, 2019


Transforming the Lives of Young Black Men in South Los Angeles. Below is the executive summary of the full report, that can be found here.

This report tells the story of BLOOM, its impact, and the lessons we learned along the way. Through the initiative, BHC and SJLI developed programs that tap into the potential of young Black males through developmental relationships with male mentors along with positive peer relationships and accountability with other young Black men. Since its launch, BLOOM has impacted the lives of nearly 800 young Black men in South L.A.

Over the past six years, CCF’s commitment of $500,000 per year, totaling $3.5 million, leveraged $3.3 million from other foundations, as well as contributions from individual donors, with an additional $3.2 million pledged over the next five years. In achieving these outcomes, we learned several key lessons:

  1. Big Change Takes Big Commitments: It took CCF four years to find partners who were well-positioned to take the lead on this initiative, both because we were still sharpening our own priorities for the work and because the initial grants we offered were too small for the scope of change needed. We would encourage others to be realistic and upfront about just how big an undertaking this type of change is and to structure their work accordingly.
  2. Empower Your Community: We believe foundations should not lead by themselves, but rather should enable the success of those who are closest to the community. By setting up a BLOOM Advisory Committee, we were able to engage funding partners, community leaders, grantees, and public agencies such as probation departments and school districts early and give them a meaningful stake in BLOOM.
  3. Commit for the Long Term: Though BLOOM was a pilot, the excitement around working with this population left some stakeholders wanting to scale up the initiative before fully defining and validating the program model. To give BLOOM an opportunity to achieve its full impact, we had to simultaneously resist this urge and also shift our own staffing to ensure the initiative was given its due attention.
  4. Build Capacity and Infrastructure: Community organizations know the landscape and the population, but they may not have the infrastructure and the resources to implement what needs to be done. Partners told us one of our most effective contributions was bringing in UCLA’s Black Male Institute and Luskin School of Public Affairs to ensure evaluation measures were well designed and would allow them to compete for future public funding.
  5. Align Program and Evaluation Methods: To build an evidence-based model that can be replicated, evaluators must engage organizations early in the process of articulating and refining goals, metrics, and outcomes. One major challenge we faced was a disconnect between the program evaluators and the grantees’ internal evaluation staff. With the benefit of hindsight, we would have managed this proactively.
  6. Cultivate Trust Between Donors, Grantees, and the Community: Creating more opportunities for youth to engage directly with donors is often the most powerful and compelling way to garner donor support. However, if these opportunities are not carefully structured, we risk objectifying marginalized communities or wasting partners’ time and resources. One of the most powerful elements of the initiative was our July 2018 event, “A Midsummer Night in BLOOM,” which brought together more than 150 donors, community members, elected officials, nonprofits, and foundations to hear the stories of young Black men and boys. BLOOMers sat with guests and engaged in meaningful conversations, with key policymakers like the mayor, county supervisors, and councilmembers serving South L.A.

Additional background information and the full report can be found here.