Network of black men gets boost

Posted: September 19, 2013

BLACK MALE Engagement (BMe), a growing network of community-minded black men that began two years ago with pilot programs in Philly and Detroit, is about to reach new heights.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation said yesterday that it will invest $3.6 million to help grow the size and power of BMe, which expanded this year to Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

BMe aims to show that black men make positive contributions to their communities.

About 1,500 Philly men took part in the organization's pilot program in 2011, contributing videos that documented work they did in their neighborhoods, said Trabian Shorters, BMe's founder and a former Knight Foundation vice president.

Shorters said about 30 guys from the city have received grants from BMe to get philanthropic projects off the ground.

"The biggest thing we want to see is a stronger sense of community," he said.

In November, BMe plans to ask residents of cities where the program has laid roots to nominate men who deserve recognition.

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