There are more questions than answers so far about the Young Men's Initiative, a highly touted three-year, $127 million program launched in New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last August. It was hailed at the time as an innovative approach to ending the cycle of poverty and educational disadvantage that has condemned thousands of young minority men to a bleak future. But details of the program have been hard to come by, and skeptics are wondering whether the project is as innovative as it claims to be, according to The Crime Report.
The initiative stands out because of the way it mixes philanthropy with tax dollars in an effort to help revenue-starved municipalities promote innovative ideas at a time of economic crisis. Financier George Soros pledged $30 million to the project, and Bloomberg, one of America's richest men, is kicking in $30 million of his own money. Taxpayers would provide the remaining $67 million. But when Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs was grilled about the program last month by City Council members, she referred them to the program’s website. In an interview, Gibbs conceded that she had made some tactical mistakes in getting the initiative off the ground.