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Rise Up Rochester Awarded $50,000 Innovation Grant from the Everytown Community Safety Fund to Sustain Critical Gun Violence Prevention Work in Rochester


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

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Today, the Everytown Community Safety Fund (CSF), part of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, announced $50,000 in funding for Rise Up Rochester to sustain their work and better position them to access federal funding. This grant is part of Everytown Community Safety Fund’s $2.35 million investment in funding to 335 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.

Rise Up Rochester is a violence prevention organization that empowers communities to establish and maintain a nonviolent culture, and provides support to crime victims and their families. Since 2008, Rise Up Rochester has supported Rochester families that have had their lives turned upside down by homicide by helping families to navigate available services. They offer regular support group meetings and hospital-based interventions, also assisting victims with housing or even relocation. Their focus on rapid rehousing to prevent retaliatory violence is an innovative, evidence-informed strategy. Hundreds of classrooms in Rochester have learned how to prevent violence in their neighborhoods and thousands of students have taken a stand against violence through the Rise Up’s Stop the Violence Billboard Contest. 

“Rise Up Rochester’s innovative approach to reducing gun violence by ensuring rapid rehousing to prevent retaliatory violence is a creative solution that is already making a difference, in addition to their community-led support group meetings and hospital-based interventions,” 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 Rise Up Rochester’s continued delivery of direct support and services to local youth and vulnerable families to help them address their most pressing challenges and reduce exposure to gun violence.”

“Rise Up Rochester is dedicated to fostering and maintaining a non-violent culture, and we do this work by collaborating with local agencies and working directly with victims of gun violence and their families,” said Wanda Ridgeway, executive director of Rise Up Rochester. “The Everytown Community Safety Fund Innovation Grant is crucial in supporting our efforts to establish our innovative gun violence prevention programs supporting youth and their families.”

“The Rochester-area Moms Demand action volunteers are thrilled that our community partner, Rise Up Rochester, has been awarded this grant,” said Deborah Antoniades, a volunteer with the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This community violence intervention program uses every tool available to strengthen its outreach and provide valuable services to gun violence survivors. This grant will enable them to do even more good in our community.”

As gun violence continues to devastate communities following an exponential increase in recent years, community-based violence intervention (CVI) programs like Rise Up Rochester 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 grant is part of the first round of Innovations Grants awarded as part of the Community Safety Fund’s largest grant offering. Innovation Grants are awarded to violence intervention organizations with an innovative gun violence prevention, intervention or healing strategy, and address an emerging or underserved demographic, drivers of gun violence, or adopt an evidence-based strategy to a new setting for one year. CSF provides grant recipients $50,000, over one year, as well as access to CSF’s quarterly calls, peer convenings, capacity-building trainers, national conferences, as well as support from Everytown, and its 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.