The Black Men’s Success Initiative offers unique support for groups of Black men attending private colleges through a unique leadership program that combines scholarships with a set of leadership and personal development opportunities focused on helping them graduate ready to launch their post-baccalaureate careers. More than 100 students from 10 private colleges have taken part to-date.

Programming starts over the summer before their junior years, when the men complete an extensive leadership course, for which they earn credit. During the next two years, their experiences include working with mentors, a paid summer internship, a retreat, a trip to a national leadership conference, regular cohort meetings, a writing course and networking sessions with prominent Black businessmen.

Organized by the Minnesota Private College Fund, the Black Men’s Success Initiative was first created in partnership with the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota because of the opportunity that exists here and nationally to find new ways to support Black men and increase the odds they will earn college degrees. The Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children came on as a second partner funder.

Other support for the Black Men’s Success Initiative has been received from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Xcel Energy and 24 individual founding donors who helped to launch the Eddie Phillips Scholarship. In addition, this program has also been funded in part through two grants from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), a Capacity Building Grant (2019) and a Scholarship Challenge Grant (2022).