Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the country’s largest advocacy groups for gun control and gun violence prevention, provided the funds.
A $2.35 million cash infusion in community-based programs across the country will strengthen the capacity to address gun violence, a crisis that disproportionately affects Black people who are two times more likely to die by that method.
Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the country’s largest advocacy groups for gun control and gun violence prevention, announced that 35 community-based violence intervention organizations received portions of the $2.35 million.
Everytown provided three different types of grant awards. The organization allocated $1.5 million for 15 first-time recipients to share; $600,000 for 15 previously assisted programs as part of Everytown’s Sustainer Grants; and five organizations received $250,000 each for a new grant program to support innovative gun violence prevention work.
Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Baltimore are among the cities with programs that received Everytown funding.
Youth Empowerment For Advancement Hangout (YEAH Philly), is among them. Kendra Van De Water, a co-founder of YEAH Philly, said the investment reflects a belief in the work they do. YEAH Philly is among the first-time recipients of money from Everytown.
“On one end it benefits us because it’s a national funding source, and we’re in more national spaces, and that’s helpful,” Van De Water told theGrio. “On the other end, it shows that people understand and believe in our model and the work we do.”
Van De Water and co-founder James Aye created the organization in 2018. They provide peer mediation and conflict resolution training, food banks, job training and other engagement activities to Black teens and young adults who have been affected by gun violence. The funds will help sustain and grow operations, Van De Water said. They’ll add more staff, pay for their office space and expand programming.
“Investment in Gun Violence Prevention and Community Violence Intervention programs are proven methods to successfully make our communities safer,” U.S. Representative and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Steven Horford said in a statement. “It’s especially important that these investments and grants support Black-led organizations because they are trusted and know how to do the work in our communities.”
For the youth in Philadelphia, shootings and killings have increased this year, and Van De Water says a small percentage of kids contributed to that growth. “It’s going up because kids are not getting the things they need. The population that they’re talking about, there’s really no services for them,” she said. “We have to make sure that their needs are being met. We have to help uplift these kids.”
Throughout the city, shootings decreased by 20% in 2023 compared to 2022. Nationally, homicides are down 9% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to data from the Council on Criminal Justice. The scourge of guns, however, still weighs heavily on the Black community across the country.
From 2018–2021, gun homicides rose 61% for Black Americans. Last year, Philadelphia set a new homicide record for the third straight year. One in every 67 Black men from ages 18–24 died or suffered a gun injury in the city in 2022, according to data from The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In Chicago, Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK) is among Everytown’s first-time recipients. Started in 2015, MASK is comprised of concerned community members on the South Side of Chicago who socialize and host cookouts and BBQs on blocks and in areas that can be shooting hotspots. They also assist residents in securing housing and mitigating food insecurity.
The new funds will help MASK to provide food and activities The same goes for the Paterson Healing Collective in New Jersey. They’re part of the Sustainer Grant cohort. They use violence interrupters and credible messengers to try to resolve conflicts between people who might engage in violence. The money will help pay staff and team members who do the work in the streets.
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