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MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings) Awarded $100,000 Grant from the Everytown Community Safety Fund to Sustain Critical Gun Violence Prevention Work in Chicago


Everytown Will Also Provide Strategic Support Including Peer Convening, Capacity-Building Training, Data and Research Access and Support from Everytown’s Volunteer Networks

CHICAGO — Today, the Everytown Community Safety Fund (CSF), part of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, announced $100,000 in funding for MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings) in Chicago to sustain their work and better position them to access federal funding. The grant is part of Everytown Community Safety Fund’s $2.35 million investment in funding to 35 community-based violence intervention organizations. 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.

MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings) is a violence intervention group, working to end gun and gang violence in the most affected neighborhoods in Chicago. MASK was established in 2015 as a way to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. MASK started as a group of caring individuals in the community who began to simply hang out on the block, cook food, and emanate love. Their data-driven method of community investment focuses on violence prevention, food insecurity, and housing. MASK partners ensure that community members have access to necessary city services, opportunities for education and professional skills growth, and economic development.

“We are proud to announce MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings) has been awarded a 2023 Support Grant from the Everytown Community Safety Fund. MASK’s dedication to preventing gun violence by addressing food insecurity, and housing challenges is essential to Chicago’s mission to create safer and stronger communities,” 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. “With this grant, the Everytown Community Safety Fund will support MASK’s continued efforts to engage young people at high-risk of gun violence, ensuring access to necessary services and support.” 

“Gun violence is a public health crisis that demands immediate, courageous action. The Everytown Community Safety Fund Grantees represent the best of our nation, working day in and day out to protect communities from gun violence,” said U.S. Representative Robin Kelly of Illinois, Chair of the CBC Health Braintrust. “I’m especially thrilled to see support for a premier, Chicago-based violence prevention organization, Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK). I commend Everytown for Gun Safety for recognizing their invaluable contributions and investing in their important work. By investing in preventing the root causes of gun violence by empowering our communities, we can save lives in Illinois and across the nation. I look forward to supporting increased community investments in Congress. Together, we can build a safer and more secure future for every American.”

“MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings) is a guiding light for the city of Chicago in our fight against violence,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “The team at MASK holds an unyielding dedication to creating safer communities and nurturing a sense of unity, and I’m proud to see MASK recognized as a 2023 Everytown Community Safety Fund Support Grantee.”

“MASK works to interrupt the roots of gun violence in the communities we live in, many of our community members bear the brunt of social, economic, and environmental disparities, and these systemic inequalities often manifest in higher rates of gun violence,” said Tamar Manassehpresident of MASK. “We are grateful for this support from the Everytown Community Safety Fund, allowing us to invest in our community center, mutual aid programming, summer school, and general capacity building.”

“Community-centered programs like MASK play a critical role in the comprehensive approach Chicago is taking to prevent city gun violence,” said Dr. Chico Tillmon, a member of the Everytown Community Safety Fund advisory board and director of the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. “I’m proud to serve on the Advisory Board of the Community Safety Fund to help support MASK and other organizations doing life-saving work in Chicago.”

As gun violence continues to devastate communities following an exponential increase in recent years, community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs like MASK 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. 

Since 2019, the Everytown Community Safety Fund (CSF) 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. This latest round of first-time support Gsants, currently CSF’s largest grant offering, will provide grant recipients $100,000, in two disbursements over two years, as well as access to CSF’s quarterly calls, peer convenings, capacity-building trainers, national conferences, as well as support from Everytown, and it’s grassroots networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, and national partners. 

Grantee selection follows a rigorous process administered by Everytown Community Safety Fund staff, as well as Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and an external review panel of experts from across the country, including the Everytown Community Safety Fund Advisory Board, made up of advocates, academics, survivors and city leaders from diverse backgrounds who recognize the critical role community-based violence intervention organizations serve as a component of a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence.

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.