For Immediate Release: July 17, 2013

CLASP Receives Funding to Advance Efforts Improving Health and Success of Young Men of Color


For more information, contact:

Tom Salyers



Princeton, NJ, July 17, 2013-The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its support of CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) through Forward Promise, the Foundation's $9.5 million initiative to improve the health and success of boys and young men of color. CLASP will receive $700,000 over 24 months to support its work that advances multiple pathways towards secondary and post-secondary credentials and employment and that examines trauma and its impact on readiness for education and employment.

"Young men of color are the future of our communities. CLASP understands the unique strengths and critical needs of our young men of color - and we work to bolster and support them," said Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant, Senior Policy Analyst at CLASP. "We are excited to be part of the Forward Promise community that is putting all youth of color on a path to a healthy and successful adulthood.  We have worked over many years to facilitate policy changes that benefit young men and boys of color, and Forward Promise is an exciting effort that will build upon and extend our work in the policy arena."

RWJF launched Forward Promise in 2012 to address the fact that boys and young men of color are more likely to grow up in poverty, live in unsafe neighborhoods, and attend schools that lack the basic resources and supports that kids need in order to thrive. In addition, actions that might be treated as youthful indiscretions by other young men often are judged more severely and result in harsher punishments that have lasting consequences.

Statistics reflect these troubling trends: 44 percent of Latino males and 46 percent of African American males do not have a high school diploma, and Latino youth are two times more likely and African-American youth are five times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system than their white counterparts.

"So much of our health is shaped by forces beyond the doctor's office that are rooted in where we live, learn, work, and play. Far too many boys and young men of color become disconnected from school and work opportunities, undermining their ability to live healthy lives and strengthen their communities," said Maisha Simmons, RWJF program officer. "We look forward to working with CLASP to create a new future of hope for America's young men of color."

"Our fellow Forward Promise grantees are implementing innovative models of addressing issues that shape the health of boys and young men of color. They are ensuring that boys remain connected to learning and work so that they can lead healthier lives. At CLASP, we see our work as supporting these local efforts. By advocating for public policy reforms, we help to create the conditions that support the work happening on the ground. Our goal is the same - to ensure boys and young men of color have opportunities to be successful no matter where they live," said Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant.

RWJF is investing in best practices and successful models around the nation that can be strengthened and spread to help even more boys and young men of color.  CLASP, together with the wider group of grantees supported through RWJF's Forward Promise initiative, seeks to improve outcomes for African-American, Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander, and/or Native American boys and young men in one or more of the following areas: 1) school discipline approaches that do not push students out of school; 2) early interventions that focus on dropout prevention and increasing middle school retention and high school graduation rates; 3) mental health solutions tailored to young men who have been exposed to violence and trauma; and 4) career-training programs that address both education and employment to ensure that youth are college- and career-ready.


CLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people. We focus on policies that strengthen families and create pathways to education and work. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America. For more information, visit and follow @CLASP_DC.



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