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Orlando Youth Organization Receives Nearly $400,000 In Community Support

March 3, 2022

MAN UP Mentoring awarded multi-year grant to increase impact amongst Black and Brown Male Youth Across Northwest Orlando


By:  Samantha Wallace


Orlando, FL, Mar 3, 2022 – The City of Orlando recently announced MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. was awarded a $100,000 multi-year grant for a series of three years as part of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Orlando Initiative. Through this work, MAN UP endeavors to collaboratively work with MBK to improve life outcomes for minoritized boys and young men between the ages of 10-26, who reside or attend school within the City of Orlando.


“Growing our My Brother’s Keeper program has been a key part of the city’s ongoing equity efforts to create a city where every resident is equally valued, equally protected and has equitable access to opportunities,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We are grateful for local organizations, like MAN UP Mentoring, who have partnered with us to provide our local youth with more opportunities to learn, grow and thrive in the City of Orlando.”


In accepting the grant, Chris Wallace, co-founder, MAN UP noted, “Being awarded the MBK Grant serves as a much-needed lifeline because the pandemic created such urgency for more support, particularly for Black and Brown male youth who have been disproportionately affected by it.” Wallace went on to say, “This grant will allow us to expand our reach across Northwest Orlando, along with the other grant recipients to bolster achievement in education, mentorship, family stability and juvenile delinquency. Most importantly, it provides concentrated resources to help young men see a different vision for themselves.”


“When so many of our youth are craving for direction as they try navigating the challenges of adolescence, organizations like the MAN UP Mentoring play a critical role in meeting youth where they are and guiding them toward a better tomorrow. So many communities, especially those of color, need the people and the resources to help their youth avoid life’s pitfalls and this grant will further support this endeavor,” said Ronald Blocker, the former superintendent, Orange County Public Schools, the past president, Florida Virtual School, and current Honorary Chairman, MAN UP.


Coupled with the MBK Grant, MAN UP has raised nearly $400,000 in the past nine months. plans to use the funds to improve the lives of 200 mentees by 2025. The organization’s work throughout the next three years begins a period of excitement as they set out to help young men within the community by:

  • Cultivating impactful, stable, and lasting relationships with program participants (mentees remain in the program an average of three to five consecutive years)

  • Decreasing the percentage of suspensions and expulsions for youth participating in the program

  • Decreasing the amount of juvenile justice involvement for youth enrolled in the program

  • Increasing graduation rates for youth in the program, with an emphasis on literacy.

  • Fostering and increasing positive parental/guardian relations and involvement, recognizing supported parents can better support their child; and

  • Hiring trauma-informed staff.

The MBK Orlando Grant Initiative is funded by the City of Orlando Families, Parks & Recreation Department. As a community resource, MAN UP continues to acknowledge the support of its key volunteers, community partners and constituents.


Congratulations to the other grantees, Boys 2 Men Mentoring, King Solomon Foundation, New Image Youth Center, and Wake-Up Mentoring. The MBK Grant is a win for the entire community. It represents upward mobility and will help propel youth and families forward.


For more information about MAN UP Mentoring, Inc, to donate or volunteer, visit


About MAN UP Mentoring, Inc:

MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. is community-based non-profit 501c (3) charity organization primarily serving at-risk youth ages 11 through completion of high school or the equivalent across Metro Orlando, with a focus on delinquency prevention and intervention by providing social, educational, and mentoring services. Established in 2014 by Orlando natives, brother and sister duo Christopher and Samantha Wallace. Currently, it is managed by a full-time staff of volunteers and is overseen by a Board of Directors with more than 150 years of law enforcement and civilian experience, as well as advisors from the Orange County Public School System and social workers.


About My Brother’s Keeper Orlando:

The City of Orlando joined the My Brother’s Keeper national initiative in 2014, aiming to improve life outcomes among Orlando’s boys and young men of color by providing strong, lasting opportunities for success.


About My Brother’s Keeper Alliance:

MBK Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. We work to accelerate impact at the community level, strengthen the network of MBK Communities, promote what works and mobilize individuals and institutions committed to improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color. By realizing this vision, we are creating a brighter, more promising future, not just for boys and young men, but for the entire country.

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