JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) and Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) program are expanding to Washington DC. TFI and BAM plan to work with four DC Public Schools in Wards 5,6,7, and 8 to facilitate programs with the goal of helping young men of color reach graduation and postsecondary success. This multi-year program will provide leadership development opportunities, academic coaching, college and career preparedness services, and social and mental health support to DC students.
This initiative was created in response to the high percentage of “at-risk” youth attending DC Public Schools. According to D.C. Policy Center research, 43 percent of DC Public School students are considered “at-risk,” which refers to a local statutory group covering students who receive certain public benefits, experience homelessness, are in foster care, or are over-age in high school. Furthermore, many students of color fall under the category of “at-risk” in DC due to racial disparities that perpetuate increased instances of homelesness and poverty in communities of color. This new TFI and BAM school-based initiative seeks to minimize the number of “at-risk” young men of color in DC Public Schools by helping to put more young men of color on a pathway toward economic mobility.
Since launching in 2010, JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative has worked with schools in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles to match more than 350 high school Fellows with JPMorgan Chase mentors. In 2020, JPMorgan Chase announced its goal to expand the program to 1,000 more Fellows over the next decade, and JPMorgan’s partnership with BAM illustrates this ongoing effort. Black PR Wire reported, “[JPMorgan’s] investment in the DC program is part of its broader $30 billion racial equity commitment and builds on a $350 million, five-year global initiative to prepare people for the future of work.” Since its inception, 100 percent TFI graduates have been accepted into postsecondary opportunities. Since 2010, 50 percent of TFI graduates have reported becoming the first member of their family to attend college.
The BAM program has also been successful in providing essential development tools for students nationwide. Former President Obama gave The BAM program national recognition for their efforts to reduce trauma and increase violence prevention for young men of color who are “at-risk.” Black PR Wire reported that, “While 94 percent of BAM participants have encountered trauma and around 70 percent report symptoms of depression, nearly 60 percent report a substantial decrease in feelings of depression after one year of participation.”
In support of the TFI and BAM initiatives, Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase said, “Young people are our next generation of leaders, yet too many, especially in communities of color, don’t have access to the high-quality education and career experiences they need for a successful future. The Fellowship Initiative has a proven track record of helping to close the academic opportunity gap and bringing it to Washington D.C. will help put more young men of color on a path toward greater economic mobility.”
DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee added, “This partnership advances our commitment to closing the opportunity gap and ensuring each of our students have the support they need to excel in college, career, and life. We are grateful for this investment in our young men of color and the partnership with The Fellowship Initiative.”
Together, TFI and BAM will serve DC Public School students at Dunbar High School, Eastern High School, D.Woodson High School and Ron Brown College Preparatory High School.