$100K in grants open to black men improving Baltimore


BMe is accepting applications for its 2014 “BMe Leadership Awards” for inspired black men in Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia who are committed to helping others and improving their community.

The BMe Leadership Award was created to recognize the many ways that black men are assets to communities. It rewards and celebrates everyday black men whose meaningful contributions are often overlooked. The application form is basically three questions: “how do you contribute to your community,” “what’s your story,” and “how would you use the money to help others.”

Ten inspiring black men in each city will receive BMe Leadership Awards and will be publicly recognized as BMe Leaders. They will each receive $10,000 to apply towards their efforts to strengthen the community and will be able network locally and nationally via the BMe Community. BMe’s mission is to build caring and prosperous communities inspired by black men, and BMe Leaders are the everyday men whom BMe lifts up as examples of what we all can do.

“We all personally know men like these— our grandfathers, fathers, co-workers and friends,” says Trabian Shorters, BMe’s founding CEO. “Here’s a chance to honor them because their contributions are so often overlooked. Everyone nominated will have a chance to be recognized, not just the guys who ultimately earn the title of BMe Leader.”

All nominees, as well as their nominators of any race or sex, will gain access to the BMe Community, its news, web tools and local community-building events.

Detroit-based entrepreneur Clement Brown, Jr. won a BMe Leadership Award in 2013 and credits the opportunity with connecting him to outstanding black men from around the country and with people of all races and gender who care about improving communities. It even helped him get an extraordinary opportunity to expand his business.

“Becoming a BMe Leadership Award recipient has impacted my life tremendously,” says Brown. “Being a part of BMe has given me the opportunity to learn from and work with outstanding men, from here in Detroit, as well as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It has also motivated me to apply for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which has been a great resource to grow my business. I’m very fortunate to belong to such a powerful, positive group of brothers, who are dedicated to improving our families and communities.”

Rashaun Williams, a Philadelphia college student, was recognized as a BMe Leader in 2013 when he was 19-years-old.

“Being a BMe Leader,” says Williams, “has been a phenomenal experience – there’s a genuine sense of brotherhood among us and the other BMe Leaders continue to inspire and motivate me every day.”

Nominees must be at least 18 years old and their contributions to the community must benefit those in Detroit, Baltimore or Philadelphia. Since 2012, BMe has named 70 BMe Leaders who continue to make a significant and lasting impact on the lives of their fellow residents, young and old.

Emmanuel Cephas, a nationally acclaimed software developer in Baltimore emphasizes, “BMe provides a unique environment that adds dimension to the meaning of brotherhood. Collaborating and bonding with the BMe brothers from Philly and Detroit, as well as my hometown Baltimore empowers me to look around and see that I belong to a community of men who look like me, are motivated just as I am, and who are all achieving major success by following their passion. We are a community of builders -collectively we’re living proof that black men are assets, and we are each making a difference using our respective talents.”

The BMe Leadership Award application is available at www.bmecommunity.org/app. Submissions must be made by 11:59AM EST on Monday, April 21, 2014.