(RISE) for Boys and Men of Color

Research, Integration, Strategies and Evaluation

RISE for Boys and Men of Color

Early on, EA members recognized the need for better, more targeted research and evaluation focused on improving life outcomes for boys and men of color. So they created the RISE initiative as a vehicle for sharing knowledge, coordinating strategies, and promoting better assessment of interventions and outcomes.

The Story

EA members hoped to spark a paradigm shift in the way research and evaluations are conducted regarding boys and men of color. RISE’s work focused on Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native American boys and men across five issue areas: Education, Health, Human Services and Social Policy, Juvenile and Criminal Justice, and Workforce Development. Its major activities included knowledge production and dissemination, convening key stakeholders, grantmaking, and developing a pipeline of rising men of color scholars.

The initiative was led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in conjunction with Equal Measure, a national evaluation and philanthropic services firm. Funders of RISE have included the Atlantic Philanthropies, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation.

RISE set out to address a set of entrenched, institutionalized, and long-standing problems in the field:

  • Existing research largely advances deficit-based narratives about boys and men of color
  • Research is rarely accessible to families, community stakeholders, practitioners, and policymakers
  • Culturally responsive evaluation is limited
  • Studies are rarely interdisciplinary
  • There is no central hub for BMOC data and expertise
  • Studies are too narrowly focused on Black boys and men, largely excluding other racial and ethnic groups
  • Too little attention is given to the role of racial/gender dynamics on outcomes
  • There is little consistency in research methodology between disciplines (e.g., education and criminal justice)


RISE’s key contributions to the BMOC field include a set of field scans and issue briefs aimed at addressing these core problems, shaping effective strategies for improving outcomes for boys and men of color, and guiding the future work of funders and the BMOC field. Topics for the issue briefs have included the importance of being included in the 2020 U.S. Census and the vital role that data disaggregation has to play in uncovering disparities, while the field scans incorporate “grey literature”—research that is not disseminated through traditional academic outlets—to amplify overlooked voices and perspectives about solutions for boys and men of color.

In its first year, RISE identified more than 100 scholars and researchers who specialize in issues facing boys and men of color, and also convened them and other stakeholders for periodic convenings designed to build community and demonstrate momentum for their work and scholarship. In total, RISE has committed nearly $3 million in grant support for a combination of field scans, technical assistance, capacity building, a scholars pipeline, and general support for key organizations seeking to improve their ability to interpret and deploy data and research resources to advance their work focused on boys and men of color.

Issue Briefs

Examine phenomena and relevant matters that affect the experiences of boys of color within RISE’s five fields of focus: education, health, human services and social policy, juvenile and criminal justice, and workforce development.

Field Scans

Review interventions and recommendations for RISE discipline areas and ethnic populations of focus. These reports incorporate research that is not disseminated through traditional academic media and channels.