We invest in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin.
The mission of the Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program is building safe and just communities in the Great Lakes region. Our grant making approach encompasses three focus areas: (1) reducing gun violence in the Great Lakes region; (2) reducing the harms and racial disparities in the criminal justice system’s response to gun violence; and 3) advancing violence intervention policy and practice as a gun violence prevention strategy, and an alternative to arrest and incarceration.
Reducing Gun Violence in the Great Lakes Region
Gun violence remains one of the central health and safety challenges of our time, with more than 110,000 Americans injured or killed by guns every year. Gun violence in all its forms—community violence, domestic violence, mass shootings, suicide, and accidental gun deaths and injuries— undermines the ability of the next generation to thrive. The evidence is clear that reducing gun violence requires reducing the easy availability of guns. To reduce deaths and injuries from gun violence, the Foundation supports projects to: (a) strengthen gun violence prevention policies in the Great Lakes region; (b) conduct research and improve data collection to inform policy development, implementation, and advocacy; (c) educate young people about the risks of guns; (d) use the courts to advance and defend gun violence prevention policies; and (e) engage funders in supporting gun violence prevention.
Reforming the Justice System
Racial equity is at the core of the Foundation’s focus on justice system reform, where police violence and mass incarceration disproportionately impact young Black and Hispanic males. We take an intersectional approach which seeks to reduce racial disparities in policing and incarceration by rethinking the standard response to gun crime of aggressive policing, arrests, and incarceration of young gun possessors. Our funding supports projects that: (a) reform policing through building police-community trust and legitimacy, reducing the use of force by police officers, and increasing police accountability; (b) develop alternatives to arrest and incarceration for young people who commit non-violent gun offenses; and (c) reimagine the future of public safety.
Community-based gun violence disproportionately impacts young Black and Brown people and is highly concentrated within neighborhoods and social networks. Victimization increases the likelihood that an individual will be victimized again or become a perpetrator of gun violence themselves. A growing body of evidence supports community-based violence intervention strategies as a way to break this cycle and contribute to individual and neighborhood safety and reduce reliance on the criminal justice system. The GVPJR Program will support violence intervention through: (a) research to identify best practices for design, delivery and funding of violence intervention programs; (b) professional development and technical assistance for the community of public and private sector violence intervention practitioners; and (c) support for policies to secure public sector support for violence intervention.
In the areas of policing, alternatives to arrest and incarceration for young people who commit non-violent gun offenses, and reimagining public safety, we are interested in funding projects including: