Profound Gentlemen is a nonprofit organization for male educators of color to discuss educational equity, student achievement and what it’s like being among the educator minority in their school.
The organization was founded in 2014 by Jason Terrell and Mario Jones after noticing neither had a space to talk about issues they faced as a male teacher of color.
Profound Gentlemen provides professional development training, conferences and workshops that provide support to help male educators of color remain in the profession.
The organization currently supports over 700 male educators across the nation, 255 of whom reside in North Carolina with 92 of that number living in Charlotte.
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According to Juan Lascano, strategic operations partner, the nonprofit has three priority regions where most of their work is done: Charlotte, Chicago and Atlanta. These areas are, Lascano said, areas that are deemed to be in the most need for the organization’s support.
Helping male educators stay
“The mission of the organization is to build communities of male educators of color that provide a profound impact on boys of color,” Lascano said.
A 2021 report published by Pew Research Center found that Black teachers, regardless of gender, made up just 7% of educators in the U.S. And a NCES’ National Teacher and Principal Survey published in 2022 found that Black male teachers make up only about 2% of the nation’s teachers.
“We oftentimes find that many districts in North Carolina and across the nation put in a lot of initiatives to recruit male educators of color. Where we come in is being able to determine ‘Well, why did they leave?”
Because of their small presence in education, it’s not uncommon for a male teacher of color to be one of few — if not the only — in his school or district overall. This can create a sense of isolation or disconnection that sometimes leads to exiting the profession.
To combat this, he organization utilizes cohorts to establish community. It also offers mentoring with one on one coaching, leadership training and an overall system of support to ensure they feel seen.
Financial support in and outside the classroom
Profound Gentlemen offers financial support in the form of grants for classroom needs like supplies, books, or even specialty items — like a 3-D printer — to educators in order to enhance their students’ learning experiences.
Grants call also be used for professional development like attending a conference, enrolling in a course, or other skill-enhancing opportunities.
The nonprofit also finds ways to support educators outside the classroom.
Profound Gentlemen partners with Landed, a homeownership program, to provide members in priority regions with downpayment assistance.
According to Lascano, the support helps lessen the individual’s overall cost of living, considering some may live in environments where the cost of living — including rent — is expensive.
Additionally, Profound Gentlemen has a four year partnership with UNC Charlotte, which graduates the largest number of educators, to provide additional support.
“Being able to provide additional support to those that decide to go into [education], whether it’s practice, training, and or just shadowing and mentorship to those gentlemen, is something that we really pride ourselves on,” Lascano said.
“That way we can really just assist with the pipeline.”
Profound Gentleman is free to join, but there is a one time membership fee of $25 to access its conferences and cohorts.