Shark Tank Style Grant Winners Announced!

The Yarbrough room at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta bustled with social sector professionals witnessing the Boys and Men of Color Executive Directors’ Collaboration Circle Funders’ Tank on Friday, June 9.

Participating organizations in the Collaboration Circle serve boys and men of color in metro Atlanta. The 12 cohort members selected for the Collaboration Circle formed four groups, and each group had an opportunity to win a $25,000 or $11,500 grant for their collaborative projects designed to help boys and men of color achieve and overcome barriers to success.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation donated the $25,000 first place prize while the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Georgia Pacific Foundation, and the Southern Education Foundation contributed additional funds for the generous $11,500 second place award.

1st place

1st place: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

The Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) Collaborative won first place. Team members Jason Terrell, Profound Gentleman; Ian Cohen, Next Generation Men; and John Kennebrew, The Showcase Group will create culturally relevant, engaging, and responsive content and evaluation tools for educators and mental health professionals to use to better serve boys of color. They will use the funds to develop curriculum and lesson modules needed to lay the foundation to build an ecosystem centered around improving the outcomes for boys of color.

The Dads and Grads Project won second place. Team members Jessica Johnson, The Scholarship Academy; Kenneth Braswell, Fathers Incorporated; and Lydia Thacker, Metro Atlanta YMCA, Inc. plan to empower fathers to serve as educational advocates for their sons. Fathers / male guardians in the program will have opportunities to learn and hone important skills on how to develop a “Plan of Action” for their sons (and all their children) to get ready for college, mentally, emotionally, and fiscally. The project will serve boys of color ages 16-18.

Two other equally deserving projects presented as well. Erwin Owens, CABEL Foundation, Inc.; Cheryl Bursh, Neighborhoods Focused on African-American Youth, Inc.; and Waverly Lucas, Ballethnic Dance Company, Inc. pitched their project, Being Fit for the Journey. They plan to provide workshops in low performing schools. The workshops are designed to take a holistic approach to development and encompass dance-focused wellness and strengthening activities, reading remediation, and financial literacy.

2nd Place winning team

2nd place: Dads and Grads Project

The final group deserving acknowledgement desires to change the stereotypical image of Latino males in mainstream media as “thugs” or “illegal immigrants.” Group members Kevin Amaya, LaAmistad; Susanna Spiccia, re:imagine/ATL and Chris Appleton, WonderRoot pitched a collaboration project designed to teach five Latino teen males workforce readiness skills for Georgia’s film industry through hands-on experiences in video creation including camera work, lighting, audio, and editing.

Rubye Sullivan, Senior Associate for Education Achievement, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atlanta Civic Site, engaged the audience in feedback sessions between presentations. Her engaging style stimulated questions that provided important insight for the judges who represented Southeastern Council of Foundations, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Lodestar Foundation, and United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Kweku  Forstall, Director, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atlanta Civic Site and Utoia Gabby Wooten, Community Outreach Manager, Foundation Center South championed this Funders’ Tank and are looking to continue engaging, supporting, and facilitating collaboration within the greater social sector as it relates to boys and men of color.

To find valuable publications, questions and answers, videos, podcasts, and blog posts on collaboration, visit Foundation Center’s Collaboration Hub, home to vast resources related to collaboration in the social sector.

To learn more about issues affecting boys and men of color visit Also, photos from the Funders’ Tank are now posted on our Facebook page, so follow us to stay abreast of latest news, happenings, and upcoming events.

Image of Asia Hadley

ASIA HADLEY is Atlanta City Lead, Foundation Center. Previously she worked as Training Coordinator and Virtual Assistant at Foundation Center, served as vice-president of the Atlanta Nonprofit Professionals, and volunteered as a grant funding peer reviewer for the Commission for Service and Volunteering.