Is Mentorship The Missing Ingredient Young Men Of Color Need?
By Ryan Velez
Black Enterprise has recently covered the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit and one interesting topic coming out of the summit was how to ensure success for Black male students. The session “BE Smart: How to Scale Models for Mentorship,” sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co, says that mentorship could be the winning ingredient to help young Black men.
This session looked to the Fellowship Initiative, created by JP Morgan Chase professionals that “provides intensive academic and leadership training to help young men of color from economically-distressed communities complete their high school education and better prepare them to excel in colleges and universities.”
“Instead of donating money, our firm wanted to get on the ground to have a firmer impact in these young men’s lives,” said Miles L. Warren III, vice president of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
TFI combines three Saturday sessions a month as well as holiday break intensives with speakers and special projects plus a two- to three-week summer program. The program’s results are already showing positive effects in the young men who choose to use it, with 100% of the students who have completed the program have graduated from high school and been accepted to a four-year college. In addition, since 2013, students who have gone through the TFI program have earned more than $28 million in scholarships and financial aid.
At the session, five students were in attendance, crediting TFI with helping with the college process, providing a support system, improving their communication skills, and giving them greater exposure.
Also attending the panel were several JPMorgan and Chase professionals, Jonathan B. Simon, Executive Director, Head of Student Strategy Advancing Black Leaders; Malcolm Johnson, Executive Director, Real Estate Banking; Gerald Owusu, Fixed Income Sales Analyst, who was part of the first TFI cohort in 2009; and Daniel Horgan, Senior Director of Corporate Engagement.
“All of us can choose to apply our talents at any bank, but there are no other firms who have a commitment to the people who look exactly like I did 18 years ago. And that was meaningful to me,” Johnson said. “So it was a no-brainer to raise my hand to be a mentor.” Johnson added that everyone in attendance should go back to their firms and challenge them to back young black males and their potential success.
“Fifty-one percent of mentoring programs operate on an annual budget of less than $50,000. We’ve got to invest a lot more in the mentoring field,” added Horgan.