In 2015, RWJF launched Forward Promise, a special initiative that aimed to help remove barriers to success for boys and young men of color. In doing so, they knew the grassroots grantee organizations they supported in this work would need technical assistance to achieve the outcomes they sought. ACS not only provided a wide range of technical assistance to the Foundation’s grantees, but also helped RWJF to plan and facilitate a convening of 40 leaders from across the country representing organizations and programs working to improve lives and opportunities for boys and young men of color. In 2017, RWJF funded the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to manage the Forward Promise National Program Office (NPO). Building on the work of previous Forward Promise grantees, NPO continues to support culturally-responsive practices that buffer the effects of historical and systemic trauma on boys and young men of color.

How we did it: ACS provided a variety of technical assistance services to help RWJF’s Forward Promise grantees build strategies and internal capacity, including communication planning, coalition building, collateral development, and development of promising practice research. ACS worked with grantees in multiple ways, conducting a group coaching session at an RWJF grantee conference, developing individual advocacy and communication work plans tailored to the needs and goals of each organization, helping grantees learn how to successfully work with multiple partners, informing their processes with national research, and helping them develop processes for sustainable leadership and funding. As the grant initiative drew to a close, ACS helped plan and facilitate a national convening to gather input and recommendations for future work.

Outcomes: RWJF’s Forward Promise grantees now have tools, approaches, and strategies to sustain local efforts to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. This work supported RWJF in developing recommendations, which led to the new Forward Promise NPO.