(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that 20 District residents are receiving up to $5,000 each in grant funding to support gun violence prevention work in their communities. This funding is a part of Mayor Bowser’s comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence by collaborating with residents to provide community-based services and programs.
“In partnership with our residents, we are taking a holistic approach to reducing and preventing gun violence in our city,” said Mayor Bowser. “These grants allow us to empower residents to break cycles of violence and address the needs they see in their community. When the government and residents work together, we can save and change lives and bring hope to our communities.”
The grants are part of Building Blocks DC (BBDC), the District’s gun violence reduction strategy. Using research-based models and lived experiences, Building Blocks DC aims to create long-term reductions in gun violence by helping people most at-risk of being involved with gun violence get connected to the services, supports and opportunities they need to succeed, engaging residents in co-creating solutions for communities most impacted by gun violence, and creating linkages of support between communities, government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
“For many years, District residents in communities hit hardest by gun violence have been helping their neighbors, often using their own money,” said Linda Harllee Harper, the District’s Director of Gun Violence Prevention. “These grants are one way the District provides additional support and learns from the success of its residents. These grants also help expose some of the recipients to the types of support in the District to expand their programs.”
The $5,000 grants will be used to create activities that engage residents, leaders, and organizations to promote public safety. Grants awarded this year include:
- A project that will train participants in de-escalation and unarmed civilian protection skills
- A project that will provide crisis intervention to youth ages 9-13 dealing with grief and loss resulting from gun violence
- An applied theater program for young adults
- The creation of meeting spaces for women to share, grieve, and learn healthy coping mechanisms
This is the second year that Building Blocks has funded community-based grants. Last year’s funding included programs like the successful Jobs Not Guns employment fairs that connected more than 250 people to companies and organizations willing to hire and help people with criminal backgrounds.
While new to the District, approaches like Building Blocks DC community grants are happening in cities across the country, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive gun crime reduction strategy includes funding for community violence intervention programs.
Progressive Life Center, a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to improving the delivery of mental health services to individuals and families, is managing Building Blocks DC’s micro-grant program.