Forward Promise Announces Depelsha McGruder as Recipient of Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders

Each fellow to be awarded $10,000 for their work to impact boys and young men of color
By: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Depelsha-McGruder - Founder and President of MOBB United
Depelsha-McGruder - Founder and President of MOBB United
NEW YORK - Oct. 3, 2018 - PRLog -- Forward Promise, a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed to empowering boys and young men of color, has announced Depelsha McGruder as a 2018 recipient of its Forward Promise Fellowship For Leaders.

Depelsha is the Founder and President of Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. and MOBB United for Social Change, Inc., two non-profit organizations that are dedicated to influencing policy and perception impacting how Black boys and men are treated by law enforcement and in society. Moms of Black Boys United is dedicated to changing negative perceptions and increasing awareness and understanding of the plight of Black boys and men in America. The organization creates an extended village and enables moms of Black boys to tell their stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and connect them to resources and opportunities that enrich their lives. M.O.B.B. United for Social Change is an advocacy organization that is a nationwide coalition of moms of Black sons focused on influencing policies that impact the lives of Black boys and men.

The Fellowship brings together an intergenerational cohort of both emerging and experienced leaders who have a vision for the healing of boys and young men of color and their communities. Each distinguished Fellow will be awarded $10,000, and will participate in an 18-month leadership development learning experience that includes retreats, peer learning strategy sessions, and skill-building webinars.

"The health of a community depends on leaders bold enough to ask tough questions, build coalitions, and take action on behalf of marginalized people," said Dr. Howard Stevenson, Director of Forward Promise. "I'm delighted that we have identified 20 visionaries across generations who are changing the way health services are provided to boys and young men of color in this country."

The Forward Promise Fellowship aligns with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health as it recognizes the accomplished work of a cohort of 20 leaders across the country that helps boys and young men of color have the access and opportunity to live a healthier life. The Fellowship provides opportunities for Fellows to build relationships and a community of support as they advance health strategies for boys and young men of color; to share and be exposed to emerging and best practices to support young men in their communities to heal, grow and thrive; and to elevate the lessons of transformational healing work from the work of all the Fellows.

"We are excited to uplift the culturally responsive healing work of each of this year's Fellows and build upon the Foundation's philosophy of leadership," said Maisha Simmons, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "We hope The Forward Promise Fellowship forLeaders will nurture and empower new, bold voices dedicated to the health and well-being of boys and young men of color."

The following Fellows have been selected and awarded:

Tashel Bordere, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Science and State Extension Specialist at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO

Marc Chavez, Director and Founder of InterTribal Youth in San Diego, CA

Bryan Echols, Community Restorative Justice Hubs Coordinator for the Community Justice for Youth Institute in Chicago, IL

Robert Jackson, Founder and Executive Director of Beats Rhymes & Life in Oakland, CA

Raymond A. Jetson, Chief Executive Catalyst for MetroMorphosis in Baton Rouge, LA

Karla McCullough, Ph.D. , Co-Founder and Co-Project Director of the Ambassadors of the Evers Academy for African-American Males (A-TEAAM) and Executive Director for the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation in Jackson, MS

Andres Pacificar, Outreach Worker for Seattle YMCA, Accelerator in Seattle, WA

Teli Shabu, Executive Director of The Magic of African Rhythm (TMOAR) in Durham, NC

Richard Smith , National Director for HealingWorks at Common Justice in Brooklyn, NY

Ron Walker , Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) in Lynn, MA

Azza Altiraifi , Organizer for the Justice for Muslims Collective, Alexandria, VA

Ariel Jimenez Bustos , Coordinator for the National Compadres Network's Joven Noble Youth

Academy in San Jose, CA

Rabiatu Barrie, Ph.D. , Assistant Professor at Adler University in Chicago, IL

Daniel Chhum, Community Defense Project (CDP) Coordinator for Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) in Providence, RI

Ricky Hurtado , Co-Executive Director of LatinxEd in Chapel Hill, NC

William Jackson, Ph.D. , Founder and "Chief Dreamer" of Village of Wisdom in Durham, NC

Depelsha McGruder , Founder of Moms of Black Boys United, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY

Keith Miller , Program Director of Block by Block for Deep Center in Savannah, GA

Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) in Los Angeles, CA

Clifton Uckerman , Therapist with Valley Behavioral Health in Salt Lake City, UT

About Forward Promise

Forward Promise is a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support culturally-responsive practices that buffer the effects of historical and systemic trauma on boys and young men of color. RWJF has funded the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to manage the Forward Promise National Program Office (NPO). The NPO has two strategic locations, one in Philadelphia, PA and one in Huntsville, AL.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated solely to supported research and programs targeting some of America's most pressing health issues—from substance abuse to improving access to quality healthcare.

For more information on the Fellows, visit

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