Saturday, 2:15 PM
Menino calls for black charities to focus more on education
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino greeted attendees at the Black Philanthropy Conference this morning at John Hancock Hall. To the right of Meinino is George Russell Jr., president of the State Street Foundation.
By Christopher Baxter, Globe Correspondent
Mayor Thomas M. Menino urged black community leaders this morning to consolidate their organizations and put more money towards education for Boston’s youngest minority children.
“We don’t invest enough resources in education,” Menino said at the Black Philanthropy "Building Stronger Communities" Conference at John Hancock Hall. “We have got to be smarter about how we invest in kids.”
Menino told a small gathering of grant makers, philanthropists, and business leaders that children under age 14 are being led astray – specifically citing violent television programming – and that more should be done to create a better image of minority success in the city.
The mayor also said that organizations that focus on similar neighborhood issues, such as healthcare or crime, should combine administrative staffs to save money and put more funding into neighborhoods.
“It can happen, but we have to be able to check egos at the door,” Menino said.
The conference, hosted by New England Blacks in Philanthropy, is a three-day event to develop new strategies for spending billions of dollars in assets held by the region's black community. Sessions will also focus on the dwindling numbers of black grant makers in senior management funding positions, both on corporate boards and at foundations.
Bithiah L. Carter, president of the organization, said there is an urgent need to reorganize and unify charitable giving across the city and among racial groups to address a number of issues, including school drop-out rates and the failings of the medical system.
“Kids are suffering and we can’t look at it as race or class,” Carter said after the mayor’s speech. “We know black children are suffering, but if we lift their boat, we’ll be lifting everyone’s boat because it’s one community.”
Menino agreed, calling a focus on black problems alone a “return to segregation.”
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