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UChicago Medicine awards grants to support local grassroots violence prevention programs during summer

June 27, 2017

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) has awarded seven capacity-building grants to provide immediate support to existing community-based violence prevention, intervention, and recovery efforts on Chicago's South Side.

The grant money will allow the selected community organizations to fund new counselors, new equipment, and program expansion to include more participants. The grants are designed to support programs that will help create safer spaces during the summer.

"Violent incidents in our community are more prevalent during summer months," said Brenda Battle, Vice President, Urban Health Initiative and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the University of Chicago Medicine. "As a community partner, it is imperative that we work with local grassroots organizations to identify and activate solutions that will help keep children and adults safe."

The concept of responding to the immediate needs to address violence while working together on a long-term solution was developed at the suggestion of UChicago Medicine's Community Advisory Council and its Trauma Care and Violence Prevention work group. The group recommended that UChicago Medicine proactively respond to increasing violence at the close of the school year and the beginning of summer. The response was rapid-cycle grants for grassroots organizations that have violence prevention programs. Community-based organizations were encouraged to apply for the grants in early May with UChicago Medicine's goal to select awardees and distribute funding as summer began.

The recipients of the grants are located in UChicago Medicine's service area. Awardees include:

  • Breaking Bread: The organization mentors at-risk, young African-American men and hosts workshops that will focus on violence, substance abuse, self-awareness and cultural respect.
  • Crushers Club: Utilizing the sport of boxing and music to develop bonds among at-risk African-American men, the program discourages them from joining gangs and promotes education.
  • Gary Comer Youth Center: Youth at the facility will be engaged in social activities that support positive social interactions, and a teen career development program helps youth learn the necessary skills to obtain jobs.
  • Global Girls, Inc.: The organization provides a safe space for girls ages 8-18 to learn the arts while gaining social, emotional, leadership and communications skills.
  • Kids Off the Block, Inc.: A "holistic care center for prevention, personal growth and empowerment," KOB provides a safe place especially for youngsters who do not feel welcomed by traditional youth programs.
  • Mothers Against Senseless Killing Foundation (MASK): The foundation aims to prevent and disrupt violence in targeted communities by promoting good health and addressing safety issues.
  • Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors: The group thwarts gang-related violence by developing youth leadership skills, connecting young people to social services, and demonstrating freedom through artistic expression.

The rapid-cycle grants are part of UCM's ongoing efforts to assist community organizations with evidenced-based violence prevention programs. UChicago Medicine will continue its work with community partners and stakeholders to develop a more sustainable and larger-scale, population-based violence prevention effort.

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David Rudd
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