Philadelphia, PA – This month, 10 Philadelphians will receive $100,000 of the more than $400,000 given directly to forty-three black fathers, nonprofit leaders and businessmen in Akron, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to help them build better communities in their cities.

The grants are presented by BMe Community, a growing national network of 12,000 black men and others of all races and genders who are committed to building better communities across the U.S.

According to BMe Community, Detroit’s 10 awardees, called “BMe Leaders”, were nominated by local residents and chosen because they were already consistently helping thousands of their neighbors.

“We’re thrilled about the BMe Leader Award celebration on June 22nd because these men create opportunity and hope in our city,” says Jeff Jones BMe Philadelphia Community Manager.

BME Awards 10 FathersAlex Peay was one of the first men to receive the BMe Leader Award in 2012. His organization, Rising Sons, worked to visit untapped communities and transform the lives of young men 18-30 years old through civic engagement. He helped individuals in the program to vie for competitive jobs, by giving them the hands-on experience they needed while also working on their character. He has since been given the Humanitarian Award from his alma mater Ursinus College and been featured in BMe’s bestselling book “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living Leading and Succeeding.”

Alex and each of the newest BMe Leaders has also agreed to stand up for important values in America’s evolving dialogue on race, community and our nation’s future.

Specifically, BMe Community believes that the most prosperous way forward for America is to value all its people, recognize black men as assets, reject stories that denigrate people, and work together for our common interests in caring and prosperous communities. The BMe Leaders embody those values. Their personal stories and leadership inspires others to reach for those values as well. Participants in BMe Community are encouraged to use the hashtag #ReachWithUs to share, inspire, and empower each other with words of congratulation, useful information, images, and event invites.

As Father’s Day approaches, these 10 “Community Fathers,” will be celebrated at 7pm on June 22nd at The African American History Museum on Arch Street. The celebration and BMe Community were originally brought to Philadelphia in 2012 thanks to a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. Since then, BMe has named 143 BMe Leaders altogether in five cities, sponsored over 100 community events and produced countless stories of solutions and the inspiring people behind them.


The Impact

BMe Community began as a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Its 143 BMe Leaders in five cities since 2012 provide educational, economic, human rights and other services to over 300,000 of their neighbors every year (over 1-million people directly helped since 2012). Since BMe spun off from Knight Foundation in July 2013, more than 12,000 people have formally registered as BMe “Community Builders” at

“The people who experience BMe Community in action become fans of it because we have an optimistic, fact-based, aspirational message about black men and about America’s future,” says Trabian Shorters, Founder and CEO of BMe Community.

The Leaders

BMe Leaders come from all walks of life, ranging in age from 21 to over 80. They are black men who are often unheralded yet lead by example on matters ranging from creating businesses to educating children to protecting human rights. The BMe Leaders work with men and women of all races who also want cities that are prosperous, safe, and provide hope and opportunity to future generations.

“America is at another one of those historic moments where we can choose chaos or community” says Shorters, “These men have always been here. We just admit their existence and invite people of all races and genders to reach with us to build assets, build community and give our children a better story of America’s future.”


joel austinJoel Austin

Male Engagement, Mentoring

Joel Austin, a devout father of four children, takes what he has learned about being a father and applies it to helping raise up other fathers in his community.  Joel teaches classes on male engagement and fatherhood.






mont brownMont Brown

Art and Community Engagement

Mont Brown, leader of the hip-hop band “The Astronauts,” is bringing a new sound and a fresh face to the Philadelphia hip-hop movement. He is founder of the Kick Back Community Festival which aims to bridge the divide between communities and reduce violence in the city.





otisOtis Bullock

Economic Opportunity, Reentry

Otis Bullock is the first Black executive director of Diversified Community Services. He is also an attorney with a combination of cross-functional experience in law, government, and nonprofits. Otis has dedicated his career to fighting poverty, strengthening communities, and ensuring equal opportunity for all Philadelphians.




nehimiahNehemiah Davis

Youth Mentoring and Advocacy and Economic Opportunity

Nehemiah Davis is an author, entrepreneur and founder of The Nehemiah Davis Foundations an organization that aims to inspire youth and assist the homeless with a helping hand.







Marvin Dotton

Education, Youth Mentoring

Marvin Dotton is a full time kindergarten teacher and the CEO and founder of Marvin Education services where he serves youth in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  He uses his experiences as a teacher to develop high quality programming in the area of tutoring, school readiness and workshop development.






tracyTracey Fisher

Reintegration, Economic Capacity Building 

Tracey runs his own non-profit organization that provides necessary reentry services and training to individuals returning home from jail or prison.  Through his program, he offers daily workshops on a multitude of topics including job readiness, anger management, life skills, dressing for success, and resume writing.





malcomMalcolm Kenyatta

Youth Mentoring and Advocacy, the Arts and LGBTQI Activism

Malcolm Kenyatta is a mentor and activist in Philadelphia and the youngest board member of Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club. He has created and teaches several performance art classes with tweens and teens through the nonprofit Mighty Writers and Babel.







sulaimanSulaiman Rahman

Youth Mentoring and Advocacy, Technology

Sulaiman Rahman is a social entrepreneur who uses his skills and resources to engage, empower and connect the next generations of business developers and civic leaders. Sulaiman’s business, The Urban Philly Professional Network, has grown to have thousands of members and hosted various events to strengthen communities in Philadelphia.





wayneWayne Rucker

Reintegration, Community Building

Wayne Rucker works at the Mayor’s Initiative PowerCorpsPHL, which empowers communities through green initiatives, environmental clean ups and similar community driven efforts. Wayne also works to empower men who have faced difficult trials and tribulations.






ericEric Worley

Education, Youth Mentoring, Athletics

Eric Worley is Co-Founder and Director of Triple Threat Foundation. Eric uses sport to engage, mentor and develop young athletes all across his beloved city. He is developing a basketball program that ensures the boys and girls teams from 8th grade through 11th grade are able to travel and compete at national level college exposure events.



The Induction Ceremony

BMe Leader Induction Ceremonies are open to the press and the public:


  • Philadelphia – June 22, 2015 at 7:00p.m.
    • African American History Museum

701 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106



The “Reach With Us” Campaign

BMe Community has an ongoing campaign to modernize the narrative about black men, community, and America’s future. In addition to its BMe Leaders, BMe Media and BMe Events, in February 2015 BMe released a book of micro-biographies called “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living Leading and Succeeding” by co-editors Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters. REACH has become a bestseller and has been praised by men and women ranging from Alisa Swidler to Desmond Tutu.

Insightful personal stories from men like John Legend, Talib Kweli, Isiah Thomas and Benjamin Jealous grace the pages, alongside stories from BMe Leaders such as Dr. Eddie Connor who survived stage four cancer at age 15 and went on to become a great teacher and motivational speaker. REACH includes inspiring true stories from black men who are media owners, foundation executives, explorers, financial wizards and BMe Champions such as footwear guru D’Wayne Edwards, film actor and activist Lamman Rucker, and TV personality and activists, Van Jones. All of whom have made a deep personal commitment to helping others as part of their role as black men.

The hashtag #ReachWithUs on social media, is an opportunity for everyone to promote the causes that matter to them and to do so in solidarity with black men who are deeply committed as well. BMe encourages people of all races and genders to register by texting Brother to 96000 (and follow the prompts), using the hashtag #ReachWithUs, and making a donation at



About BMe Community

BMe Community is a growing network of all races and genders committed to building better communities across the U.S. It is built upon black fathers, coaches, businessmen and students who lead by example to strengthen neighborhoods, mentor young people, and create businesses. Each day they help to change our futures for the better. You can too by sharing their inspiring stories, useful information and important opportunities with your friends and family. Purchase a copy of BMe’s 2015 bestseller, “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading & Succeeding” and gift it to a friend or loved one who can use the inspiration.

BMe is backed by leading foundations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments. Anyone can join BMe Community by signing up at

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