The Black Male Leadership Development Institute (BMLDI) is a program which brings 75 African American boys in grades nine through 12 to participate in a year-long program designed to increase educational and leadership opportunities for the selected participants. BMLDI allows young African American men to take the competencies that they already have and expand them into a repertoire of leadership skills that can have a practical impact in their local communities. By creating a supportive learning community and offering a challenging curriculum and rich set of activities that enhance their awareness of themselves and the world around them, they will acquire leadership skills that can help change the outcomes for African American men and boys in this region.
BMLDI, which is co-sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University (RMU), kicks off with a week long residential program on the RMU campus. Throughout the week participants partake in seminars, workshops, panel discussions, leadership exercises and hear keynote speakers nightly on topics ranging from values clarification, identity formation, visioning, community engagement, networking, to the media’s portrayal of African American manhood, fatherhood and personal accountability. Staffed by a faculty consisting of mostly African American leaders from the region and beyond whose diverse backgrounds span the range from the pulpit to the boardroom, these sessions are designed to inspire and motivate the participants as well as to provide a venue for adult men role models to share their stories. The evening hours consists of fun activities and entertainment to suit every taste.
The weeklong program is followed by The BMLDI Saturday Institute, which is an ongoing year round series of activities and workshops on leadership development, community service, advocacy, college and career preparation, networking, presentation skills, character education and more. These activities will take place in a central location downtown one Saturday a month from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from August 2012 through May 2013. In addition, BMLDI hosts four Saturday luncheons a year for participants and their guests featuring notable keynote leaders in the African American community. Workshops include Stocking the fire: finding, nurturing and managing the leader within; Stepping In and out: leadership for self, team, and community; Developing A+ positive identity; Civic Engagement through creative expression
Criteria for selection into BMLDI include a GPA of 2.0 or better, a record of good school attendance, and a short essay. It is open to students attending all schools districts in the greater Pittsburgh area. The program is supported by a grant from the Heinz Endowments and Buhl Foundation.