Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $4,990,000)
Abstract: The One Hundred Black Men Business and Entrepreneurship Centers
The One Hundred Black Men of New York (OHBM) intends to stimulate the economy, create new jobs, support entrepreneurism, and develop new business owners with the creation of the One Hundred Black Men Business and Entrepreneurship Centers (OBEC). This innovation is directed toward 18–29-year-old criminal justice involved Black men who often never find livable wage work opportunities after being touched by the criminal justice system. Additionally, this project addresses the stigma justice involved men face when trying to re-enter as contributing, productive, gainful, and responsible citizens. But for an innovative approach, many otherwise healthy, inspired Black men are likely to return to the practices and habits that led them to their justice involved situations in the first place.
This citywide New York City program will consist of five centers planted in zip codes that unfortuantely have the most incarcerated residents. Each center will house a series of services to address the needs of these valued citizens. Services include business and entrepreurship training, mentoring, mental health and life coaching offered during 12-week cycles for cohorts of 40 criminal justice informed students. Our goal is to have 25 students per cohort complete all objectives. There will be four cohorts run at each of the five sites. The One Hundred Black Men OCJI curriculum will prepare students, to create small start-ups or be hired by existing businesses. OHBM is acutely aware that less than 20% of new businesses survive. With this statistic in mind, OHBM will help launch businesses with an expected start and sunset in mind. During this trial, it is our intention that participants will come away significantly armed and incentivized to own a business or work in a related interest area. Though this initiative is designed as a pilot, assuming success based on its merit, OHBM plans to extend the program for a minumum of three-years.
Black men lag behind every other American demographic in employment and business ownership.
Black men are disproportionately represented in America’s incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and justice involved population; moreover, when released from prison, they face serious challenges finding sustainable work. According to the Bureau for Justice Statistics, more than 40,000 New Yorkers are incarcerated and another 337,000 have spent time in prison. More than 250,000 of them are Black or Latino. Astonishingly, as of 2019, NYS’s Black population is 15%, however, Black people make up 38% of arrests and 48% of prison sentences. According to a recent Brennan Center report--Conviction, Imprisonment, and Lost Earnings: How Involvement with the Criminal Justice System Deepens Inequality. Time spent in prison can reduce lifetime earning potential by half a million dollars. In New York State alone, imprisonment translates to nearly $2 billion annually in reduced earnings with the largest impact on Black Men and their families.
Jobless men often turn to unlawful means to support themselves, creating a tragic cycle of crime and imprisonment. OHBM intends to disrupt this cycle by providing men who are court involved or at-risk of becoming incarcerated with a viable career opportunity as business owners. Moreover, should participants choose not to pursue business ownership, the transferable business and entrepreneurship skills, outlined in this proposal, will increase their ability to obtain gainful employment. Business creation, founded, sustained, and operated by Black Men is a powerful disruptor and ally against the negative cycles perpetuated by America's, often, unfair criminal justice system. Business ownership drives innovation, creates generational wealth, mitigates employment issues, especially for court-involved men, and helps stabilize Black families.