(CNN) – In a moving and honest message Thursday, President Barack Obama challenged young minority men to make good choices.
"Part of our message in this initiative is 'no excuses'. Government and private sector and philanthropy and all the faith communities, we have the responsibility to provide you the tools you need," he said at a White House event.
"We need to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience," he continued. "That's what we are here for but you have responsibilities too."
The message was part of his new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper," where leading foundations and businesses will donate at least $200 million over five years towards programs aimed at minority youth of color.
"This is as important as any issue that I work on. It's an issue that goes to the very heart of why I ran for President because if America stands for anything, it stands for the opportunity for everybody – the notion of no matter who you are or where you came from of the circumstances under which you were born – if you work hard, if you take responsibility then you can make it in this country," he said.