Ten inspiring black men in Detroit are set to receive a total of $200,000 to further their work in the city.
Black Male Engagement (BME), a project of the Knight and Open Society Foundations with branches in Detroit and Philadelphia, announced its Leadership Award grant winners Monday. Twenty men, 10 in Detroit and 10 in Philadelphia, will receive grants from $5,000 to $40,000 for community projects.
BME (pronounced "be me") launched in August. The initiative offers support and positive reinforcement to black men who are active in their communities, as well as a social network for these men to discuss ideas and experiences. Some 1,065 Detroiters have shared their stories through videos on the organization's website.
Detroit's leadership award winners include a mentor, a lawyer, former prisoners who now teach literacy and media skills, an LGBT rights activist, entrepreneurs, and one Comeback Kid.
"The 10 BME winners and broader community exemplify Knight Foundation's vision for an informed and engaged Detroit: leaders who make it easier for others to lead," said Rishi Jaitly, Detroit project director for the foundation, in an email to HuffPost.
"There is no cavalry coming to save the day in black communities in America. The answers we're looking for reside right within the hearts, hands and heads of community residents," said Shawn Dove, campaign manager of the Open Society Foundation's Campaign for Black Male Achievement, in a release. "BME recognizes black men and boys as assets to the community, not as problems to be solved, and we're thrilled to be a partner in this strategy."
Detroit's BME winners already may be familiar local figures thanks to their community work. Now, with funding up to $40,000, they'll be able to significantly raise the profiles of their new projects and the communities they serve.
Check out the Detroit BME winners and watch their video statements below. For the Philadelphia winners, head here.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.