ATLANTA — Yesterday in Atlanta, ahead of the 10th annual national Cities United convening, the Everytown Community Safety Fund hosted a pre-institute convening with all 50 current Everytown Support Fund Grantees and the Atlanta micro-cohort in attendance. The pre-institute was an opportunity for community violence intervention leaders to learn from each other and celebrate this year’s accomplishments. The gathering drew 90 in attendance for panels featuring guest speakers including James Timpson, the managing director of local capacity-building partner the Roca Impact Institute, Jordan Murphy, the executive director of Girasoll Wellness, Rohit Malhotra, the executive director of Center for Civic Innovation, Eric Lam and Jessica Canales of the Urban Peace Institute, Anthony Smith, the executive director of Cities United, and Michael-Sean Spence, managing director of Community Safety Initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and creator of the Everytown Community Safety Fund.
“Cities United’s annual convening provides a unique opportunity to be in community with our Everytown Community Safety Fund grantees working to reduce gun violence in cities nationwide,” said Michael-Sean Spence, managing director of Community Safety Initiatives at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and creator of the Everytown Community Safety Fund. “We were ecstatic to ensure all of our grantees could attend this momentous 10th convening as well as participate in the Pre-Institute convening, which we curated to provide unparalleled access to some of the brightest minds in gun violence prevention and a safe space where they can learn from each other and share best practices..”
“Creating safe spaces for those who are leading the work on the ground in their city is a priority at Cities United,” said Anthony Smith, executive director of Cities United. “These spaces give them time to rejuvenate, learn new skills, and build new relationships – giving them the fuel they need to keep doing their life saving work.”
Cities United is building a movement of cities, empowering leaders across the who are committed to reduce homicides and shootings among young Black men & boys. The 10th annual Cities United convening is bringing together thought leaders, innovators, and advocates committed to working together to save lives. The goal is not merely to convene, but to equip cities with the tools, knowledge, and network to create a safer, healthier, and more hopeful future for those most impacted by community violence.
The Everytown Community Safety Fund, a program of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, is the largest national initiative solely dedicated to fueling the life-saving work of community-based violence intervention organizations in cities nationwide. Since 2019, the Everytown Community Safety Fund has granted $10.6 million in support of 117 community-based violence intervention organizations implementing promising strategies, like street outreach, hospital-based violence interventions and youth development and counseling, in more than 67 American cities. The Safety Fund grantees receive access to funding, the Community Safety Fund’s quarterly calls, peer convenings, capacity-building trainings, national conferences, as well as support from Everytown, Moms Demand Action volunteers and national partners. Grantees include organizations from cities across the country currently grappling with high rates of gun violence. These programs include the IVYY Project at Grady in Atlanta. The full list of community-based violence intervention organizations currently supported by the Everytown Community Safety Fund and more information about the fund can be found here.
As gun violence continues to devastate communities following an exponential increase in recent years, community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs are working tirelessly to sustain their work, working with individuals at the highest risk of shooting or being shot and helping reduce violence through targeted interventions — including street outreach and hospital-based violence intervention — in the country’s most vulnerable communities. These programs are on the frontlines in the cities with the highest gun violence and communities experiencing the disproportionate impact of gun violence. While historic investments have been made at all levels of government, CVI organizations still struggle to access promised funding and when they do, funding is restricted to programmatic expenses, preventing them from increasing staff, building their capacity or scaling to more people and places in need. The Community Safety Fund’s investment will allow community-based violence intervention organizations to build their capacity to sustain and scale their programs long-term, enhancing their ability to successfully access additional government, philanthropic and corporate support.