The White House on Racial Equality & Philanthropy



Ferguson. Staten Island. Baltimore. Charleston. Cleveland. These cities have become emblematic of the deep divides that still exist in this country, reigniting a national conversation about race and racism in the United States. President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in response to this unrest to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color. In this podcast, Michael Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother’s Keeper, discusses the initiative’s progress and sense of urgency as the President’s second term ends. Our conversation reveals Michael’s deeply personal connection to this work and his suggestions to funders for more effective philanthropy.


About Michael Smith:

Prior to joining the White House team, Michael was an appointee in the Obama Administration, serving as director of the Social Innovation Fund, a key White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that combines federal and private investment to help scale and replicate evidence-based solutions to complex social challenges. Before his work with the Obama Administration, Michael served as Senior VP of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, where he oversaw the Foundation’s giving and program strategy, and guided numerous sector-building initiatives and public-private partnerships, such as Startup America. In 2014, Michael was named one of eight nonprofit leaders to watch by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and was inducted in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed by the organization.