Funds will assist four organizations with community-based initiatives
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the County will award four grants of $200,000 each to support local violence prevention programs, the first in a total of $1.9 million in such awards to be made in FY 2016.
The County Board approved the grants at its meeting today. Use of the grants will be monitored by the County’s Justice Advisory Council.
Recipients of the grants were determined made following the competitive Request for Proposals process. An evaluation committee made up of multiple County stakeholders and officials, including the Justice Advisory Council, deliberated before selecting the four grantees.
The County Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Reduction Grants program has been operating since 2013. The program seeks to fund promising initiatives operated by 501(c)(3) or (c)(4)s that work to address violence in Cook County communities by reducing risks of violence involvement, working to stop the cycle of violence, and/or strengthening communities to reduce the occurrence of violence.
“I am pleased we are able to continue providing resources to support local anti-violence initiatives in community settings,” Preckwinkle said. “Many of our neighborhoods and their residents confront public safety issues on a daily basis, and it is critical for Cook County to take a pro-active role in addressing the complexities that underlie this problem.”
The awardees and their programs for the $200,000 demonstration grants are:
* OAI (Opportunity Advancement Innovation), Inc. will implement the Preventing Violence through Manufacturing Careers Collaborative program. The program will expand the Young Manufacturers Association to the West Side of Chicago and the South Suburbs. The expansion will target at-risk and “opportunity” youth with access to career pathways in manufacturing, peer support, life skills development and leadership training.
* Build, Inc. will operate the Safe Space-Safe Play Initiative in the Austin neighborhood. The program combines community and youth engagement, the creation of safe spaces for community gatherings, enhanced arts and athletic programming, the establishment of an Austin Youth Leadership Council and intensive mentoring for 50 at-risk youth ages 12-19.
* Brighton Park Neighborhood Council will operate the Leaders of Tomorrow program. The program includes case management and trauma-informed counseling for youth at Kelly High School, Davis Elementary and Shields Middle School. The students served are identified by school staff to be referred to the program due to behavioral challenges, poor grades, chronic truancy, gang involvement and other behaviors that lead to a higher risk of involvement in violence.
* Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. is offering intensive wrap-around services, 24/7 crisis management, mentoring, educational and vocational assistance, conflict resolution, court advocacy and links to other services for 50 juvenile probationers. Those eligible will be at high risk of recidivism and involvement in violence as shown by a risk assessment and a history of charges, particularly those that are weapons-related.
Since the program’s inception, the County has distributed violence prevention, intervention and reduction grants of more than $6 million dollars to community-based programs. An additional $1.1 million will be distributed later this fiscal year. Grantees report quarterly on their progress and the impact of their programs on the targeted population.
“I want to thank the officials and stakeholders who helped evaluate the grant proposals,” Preckwinkle said. “While we would like to do more, we are confident that our residents will benefit as a result of the programs chosen by our evaluation team.”