The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a $310 million effort to give disadvantaged black and Latino men more access to New York City’s cultural, educational and economic resources. In a time of austerity, Bloomberg himself will fund about a quarter of the program. A matching contribution is to come from hedge fund manager and philanthropist George Soros. The program will create new probation offices located in local neighborhoods, find 900 mentors for inner-city minorities and encourage community service programs.
What’s the Big Idea?
Tackling high recidivism rates and high unemployment among minorities is not a new goal, says Elijah Anderson, a professor of sociology at Yale University. Whether Bloomberg will succeed where past mayoral administrations have failed, according to Anderson, depends on area businesses’ willingness to embrace minorities after the City’s program has run its course. “Companies have to be much more receptive to these young people and meet people like Bloomberg halfway,” he said.