Conan Harris, deputy director of Public Safety Initiatives in the city’s Office of Public Safety, takes on an addition role as director of My Brother’s Keeper Boston as the program completes its second year.
“I have tremendous confidence in Conan based on the fantastic work he has done in our Office of Public Safety,” Mayor Martin Walsh said. “His experience in strengthening ties across agencies and institutions to better serve and provide opportunities for our underserved youth make him a great fit for the role.”
As the director of MBK Boston, Harris will be responsible for working across city agencies and partners within the private and public sectors, as well as community-based organizations to support youth development.
Helping guide efforts will be a recently released “Mapping Momentum” report, created from collaboration by the city, Root Cause and James Jenning. The report maps the landscape of programs and organizations serving black and Latino boys and young men in the city and includes assessment of both strengths and opportunities for improvement. One-hundred and forty-two nonprofits were surveyed.
Key findings from the report include that hundreds of organizations and programs collectively are serving approximately 40,000 black and Latino boys across Boston; there is a need and opportunity to strategically coordinate these programs to build off the assets that Boston has in place and that MBK Boston’s explicit focus on black and Latino young men is well-positioned to provide a central anchor point around its three target milestones. Those milestones are graduating from high school ready for college and career, successfully entering the workforce and reducing youth violence and providing a second chance.
Also bolstering MBK efforts: A new $100,000 mini grant program, launched in partnership with The Boston Foundation. Grants are to be used for expanding opportunities for young men of color.
Over the past two years, Walsh established the MBK Boston Advisory Committee which led engagement within the community and developed a set of guiding recommendations to support milestones across education, employment, public safety and second chances.