Firm: Deloitte Consulting
Type of Work: Pro Bono
Client: My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
Across the U.S., boys and young men of color (BYMOC) often face significant barriers to educational, economic and social opportunities. In February 2014, President Barack Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to help address these opportunity gaps. Just a few months later, Deloitte agreed to design, launch, and operationalize a detailed plan for a new nonprofit organization that would help reduce the opportunity gap and make the American Dream available to all BYMOC.
The non-profit would become the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA), which was unveiled by President Obama this year with support from CEOs, philanthropists, community leaders and young men of color determined to battle injustice and social immobility. In his remarks, President Obama thanked Deloitte for the role it has played in MBKA, which is already delivering on its mission to engage the private sector and has generated $85 million in funding with the goal of changing the lives of at least 250,000 BYMOC by 2018, says Allan Ludgate, Director of Deloitte Consulting within Monitor Institute.
“Deloitte’s deep experience helping companies, non-profits, and government work together has been invaluable to our efforts to help address opportunity gaps and strengthen America’s workforce,” says Marisa Renee Lee, Managing Director at My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. “Deloitte’s work with My Brother’s Keeper is a real example of their ability to engage a range of stakeholders to battle major social issues that have profound implications for both business and society.”
But before the success and accolades from the Oval Office and elsewhere, MBKA was just an idea that needed a champion. In Deloitte’s case, that champion was retired Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria, who is now serving as MBKA’s CEO and Board Chair. He has been instrumental in recruiting the founding board and generating donor commitments. He is supported by a team of Deloitte consultants that sustains MBKA’s operations.
Echevarria grew up in the South Bronx and often says it took him 35 years to travel eight miles from where he grew up to Deloitte’s headquarters in New York. That journey, he says, was about people over the years, reaching out and creating opportunities for him.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Ludgate says that social change is a team sport. “We have declared that improving educational outcomes for low-income and minority children to be the signature issue that we lean in on.”
In addition, Ludgate says the dedication and ongoing effort of Deloitte with MBKA shows a sense of the type of consultants at the firm. “Their hunger to have purpose be a part of their work is abundantly clear,” he says. “We know that to realize our ambition to be the greatest professional services firm in the world and we can only do that if we attract the best talent; and we can only do that if we are promising them a rewarding career by allowing them to have a vehicle and means to give back through the work.”
Case in point: On this project in particular, Ludgate says he knew there would be great interest so he just sort of informally mentioned it at the water cooler one day and within the first 24 hours he had about 40 highly passionate and talented people express interest in the engagement. And just because it’s pro bono, doesn’t mean it’s easy, he says.
“This team has worked incredibly hard, but I think the anchor around the sense of purpose and the ability to be out and inspired by the people in the field doing this work has been incredibly energizing for our team,” Ludgate says. “Our people have been incredible, and I think it speaks volumes about our team, who they are, what they stand for and what’s most important to them.”