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Gun Violence and Grants: Echos of Sandy Hook in Philadelphia and Chicago

I recently wrote about the likely impact of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting on grant making and seeking, which is why this CNN piece about ongoing gun violence in inner-city Philadelphia and Chicago in the context of Sandy Hook resonated with me.

Unlike the sudden impact of Sandy Hook, which captured the nation’s attention and created a focused debate on gun violence, the thousands of poor black and brown youth and young adults who are shot every year in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago barely perturb our collective consciousness. One can speculate on complex issues of class, race and media incompetence that may be the cause of this curious and enervating dichotomy, but my task as a blogger is simpler: what does this mean for the world of grants?

It means that there is wealth of grant opportunities in communities affected by gun violence, whether it be the random act of an apparent madman in an affluent exurb or the everyday grind of a generation coming up lying bleeding on the streets of disadvantaged neighborhoods. The CNN article discusses one such effort, the Cradle to Grave program of Temple University Hospital.

Cradle to Grave uses a scared straight in which mostly African American and low-income youth are invited into the hospital to hear trauma staff talk about what happens to a shooting victim and see the trauma teams in action. The visit culminates with a visit to the hospital morgue.

This is a great example of applying an existing project concept, “scared straight,” to a persistent problem and shows how program development should work. The Cradle to Grave program seems to have significant funding from such funders as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, as well as sufficiently good PR to get on CNN.

This project concept, or ones like it, could be replicated in your community in part by tying them into larger trends and media narratives. Alert nonprofits will be able to write more compelling proposals when they find a way to connect local issues to national debates.