Do The Right Thing

New York City is initiating a new effort to bring young black and latino men into the life of the city and to prevent their further marginalization from job markets and education. It will spend $130 million on the effort which will remodel how the city interacts with roughly 350,000 young men who are ‘undereducated, incarcerated or unemployed’. The New York Times article is here.

It is a very stubborn and longstanding problem. There is a difference this time: Mayor Bloomberg is contributing $30 million of his own money, and he asked George Soros to match that contribution, and Mr. Soros happily complied.

It’s unusual for someone who (at least publicly) defines success in America to put their money to work like this. And yes, I know that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett together formed one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. Their effort is aimed primarily at childhood diseases across the globe. This effort is aimed at a subset of New Yorkers whose lives generally consist of unemployment, ignorance, crime, poverty and social alienation. If it works, it will provide meaningful assistance to these young men and their families, and it will also help the city in ways that are difficult to predict and/or measure.

I am so impressed by this. I hope it works. I hope others follow this example. I hope it does not devolve into a Randian argument in the blogosphere.

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