Ikenna Asomba, Editor reports from Atlanta, United States

Come March 2018, organisations in over 250 communities in Chicago, will now have the opportunity to apply for planning grants of up to $500,000 as part of former President Barack Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,’ (MBK).

The alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, announced Sunday, that it is seeking proposals for two-year programs tackling youth violence and increasing mentorship for boys and young men of color, according to a statement.

A statement by the Director, MBK Alliance and Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation, Michael Smith, said a request for proposals for the new competition will be sent to organisations that work within the 250 communities that participated in the 2014 ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ challenge, reports Chicago Tribune.

“We are excited to let these communities know the Obama Foundation remains committed to their success, and provide some tools and resources to help them accelerate the pace of impact and inspire action nationwide,” Smith said.

Winners of the MBK Community Challenge Competition could get grants of up to $500,000. In addition, the winning groups will be provided with experts and practitioners to help the organizations plan and carry out their program, according to the announcement.

The selected organizations will be able to receive matching funds to hire a full-time local coordinator for the project. The Obama Foundation also will help attract local and national resources to help keep the program going beyond the two years, according to the statement.

At least one Chicago-based organisation is expected to be selected, but other nonprofits based in the city will be able to compete for smaller grants of up to $50,000, according to the announcement. The number of total grants to be awarded was not specified.

My Brother’s Keeper was launched in 2014 to improve the lives of minority boys by reducing youth violence, providing them with mentors and helping young men land secure jobs. My Brother’s Keeper Alliance was influenced by the Chicago-based Becoming a Man, whose leadership met with Obama in 2013.

The alliance was folded into the Obama Foundation in September. Obama has listed My Brother’s Keeper Alliance as one of his post-presidency projects.

Late last year, Obama teamed up with basketball player Stephen Curry and Chance the Rapper for a 60-second YouTube video about the program.

“I want you to know you matter,” Obama said in the video. “There is nothing, not a single thing, that’s more important to the future of America than whether or not young people all across this country can achieve their dreams.”