The 100 Black Men of Greater Kansas City (100 BMGKC) was first formed in 2006 by eight men who envisioned building on the 100’s legacy of “Real Men Giving Real Time.” The chapter was formally chartered in February of 2007, inducting 28 men of varying industries and professional fields. The current president, Brian Foster, is a charter member of the chapter. President-Elect Herston Fails assumes leadership beginning January 2015.
As its first partnership, the 100 BMGKC’s Program Development committee partnered with Operation Breakthrough, a nationally accredited, not-for-profit organization, located in the center of Kansas City’s urban core, offering quality child care, meals, and youth activities for low-income parents. The goal of the partnership was to provide mentoring and supervised activities for the more at-risk young men, who often “dropped out” of Operation Breakthrough’s care around adolescence. The 100 BMGKC responded by creating 1:1 mentorship pairings, group activities (e.g., boating at Lake Jacomo), workshops (e.g., Professional Development), and excursions (e.g.campus visit to University of Missouri-Columbia). Eventually, the mentoring program expanded to include young men from Kansas City’s University Academy. Today, the 100 BMGKC’s mentoring program welcomes eligible young men from the entire Kansas City metroplex. Another program developed by the 100 BMGKC is its Reading Comprehension Program,
launched in 2008. In partnership with the Kansas City Missouri School District – specifically, Satchel Paige and King/Weeks schools – 100 BMGKC volunteers work with 6th-, 7th-, and 8th grade male students in the classroom during the winter semester, with the young men reading passages, discussing the context of the passage, and completing a review survey to measure comprehension. The reading material used – currently, Hill Harper’s “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny” – discusses topics that have interest to young men of this age (peer pressure, education, money, girls, etc.), contributing to the success of the program. The 100 BMGKC’s Education committee’s goal is a 95% overall comprehension rate; to date, the young men have averaged a 97% comprehension rate over the past three years. In April 2011, former Kansas City mayor Mark Funkhouser recognized the 100 BMGKC’s efforts, bestowing a “Somebody’s Hero” proclamation on behalf of the city. In 2012, the 100 BMGKC launched two major initiatives: the “Gentlemen’s Roundtable,” consisting of high school and college students
from partner 0rganization 20/20 Leadership, and the 100 Speakers Bureau, established to meet the demand for speaking engagement requests from schools and community organizations. Other activities of the 100 BMGKC include: “Call To Oneness” political community forum, partnering with NAACP to host panel discussion and serve on the panel (1 year); Professional Networking event (2 years); Father’s Day “Celebration of Fathers” recognition (4 years); “Teach Me Tuesdays” adult education series on financial awareness (3 years); Kansas City mayor “Town Hall” meeting, serving as host for community forum with KC mayor (3 years); “Kansas City Chiefs Charity Game” sponsorship, serving as chaparones for 250 Operation Breakthrough and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City kids as well as donating funds (4 years); American Red Cross “Cause for Alarm” event, distributing free smoke detectors in urban core neighborhoods (5 years), and; 100 BMGKC annual “Toy Drive” reception, benefitting various charitable organizations across the KC metro area (8 years).