Everytown Will Also Provide Strategic Support Including Peer Convening, Capacity-Building Training, Data and Research Access and Support from Everytown’s Volunteer Networks
FORT WORTH, Texas — Today, the Everytown Community Safety Fund (CSF), part of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, announced $100,000 in funding for V.I.P Fort Worth to sustain their work and better position them to access federal funding. The grant is part of Everytown Community Safety Fund’s $2.1 million investment in funding to 30 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.
Violence Intervention and Prevention Fort Worth (VIP FW) is dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in Fort Worth neighborhoods by investing in the development, health, and wellbeing of those at the center of this crisis. VIP FW uses credible outreach workers that have respect and influence in the communities in which they serve. Their jobs consist of mediating conflict that may lead to gun violence or altercations where a gun has been involved. The goal is to de-escalate the situation and prevent any retaliatory gun violence from occurring.
“Pastor Rodney McIntosh’s inspirational journey, fueled by a deep desire for change led to the creation of VIP Fort Worth, a transformative organization that the Everytown Community Safety Fund is thrilled to recognize as a 2023 Support grantee,” 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. “As a pillar of community health and solidarity in times of loss, VIP Fort Worth prevents conflicts and provides effective off-ramps for high-risk individuals. They will use this grant to provide direct support to their young mentees and fuel their continued efforts to foster positive change and save lives.”
“VIP FW is dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in Fort Worth neighborhoods, and we are grateful for this deepened support,” Rodney McIntosh, executive director of V.I.P. Fort Worth. “The Everytown Community Safety Fund grant will be used for transformational travel opportunities for our program participants, which we have seen is in leading our program participants towards positive change, along with direct stipends.”
“We must act with urgency to combat gun violence, and organizations like VIP Fort Worth are making immediate and direct impacts in their community,” said Anthony Smith, a member of the Everytown Community Safety Fund advisory board and executive director of Cities United. “Investment into their work creates positive impacts on Fort Worth as we all work together on building safer communities.”
“We are incredibly grateful to VIP Fort Worth, whose daily check-ins with at-risk individuals, conflict de-escalation, and mentorship are crucial to public safety,” said Cori Ferraro, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Pastor McIntosh and his team are empowering communities that bear the disproportionate burden of gun violence, and offering youth and young adults the opportunity for a safer, healthier future.”
As gun violence continues to devastate communities following an exponential increase in recent years, community-based violence intervention programs (CVI) like V.I.P. Fort Worth 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 Support Grants, 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.