Amid an unrelenting gun violence crisis, Philly DA Krasner sends $250,000 to community groups working to reduce bloodshed

James Aye, wearing a mask, speaks at a DAO press conference

James Aye of YEAH Philly speaks after his organization was awarded a $40,000 grant by the District Attorneys Office for its work with young people impacted by violence. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office on Monday awarded a collective $254,400 to 10 community groups dedicated to violence prevention.

The grants, which range in size from $10,000 to $48,400, will go toward community-based anti-violence programs and help small organizations staff up to confront an unrelenting homicide crisis that has taken 337 lives already this year — a 26% increase over the same time in 2020, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.

James Aye, co-founder of YEAH Philly, said his group’s $40,000 check would be used for a new program designed to help those recently released from the Juvenile Justice Services Center, as well as other state-run juvenile detention centers.

“This population that typically has this reputation of no one wants to work with, too difficult to work with, those are the young people that we felt were most vulnerable, and needs the most support,” Aye said.

Through Sunday, a total of 1,449 people had been shot in 2021. The overwhelming majority of the victims have been Black men, who, in Philadelphia, are now more likely to die from gun violence than anything else.

Shelah Harper, executive director of the Asia Adams Save Our Children Foundation, an organization dedicated reducing intimate partner violence and sexual assault, said she’ll use her group’s $20,000 grant to help hire more staffers.

Harper said the need for her nonprofit’s services remains high, especially as the pandemic continues to fuel increased instances of domestic violence, but she doesn’t always have the resources to help meet that need.

“I feel like an octopus a lot of times trying to do a number of things,” Harper said. “This will definitely help to undergird us.”

Grants were also awarded to:

  • Greater Hope Ministry Incorporated ($48,400)
  • Amandla Incorporated ($10,000)
  • Committed Community Mentors ($17,000)
  • RAW Tools Philly ($29,000)
  • NOMO Foundation ($25,000)
  • Beyond the Bars ($12,000)
  • Community of Compassion CDC ($28,000)
  • Philadelphia Youth Basketball ($25,000)

Lymere Mapp, 18, has participated in PYB for the last five months. He started going on the basis of a court order, but he’s kept it up because the organization gave him “a family outside of his family.”

“Even though it started as a place to basically expunge my record, it gave me somewhere to be a part of. I’ll always be grateful to them for that,” said Mapp.

Lymere Mapp (left) and Kyle Lafferty hold a check for $25,000
Lymere Mapp (left) and Kyle Lafferty hold a check for $25,000 awarded to Philadelphia Youth Basketball by District Attorney Larry Krasner (right). The organization was recognized for its mentoring program to prevent young men from committing crimes. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

To date, the grant program, funded by assets seized during criminal investigations, has awarded roughly $500,000 to groups across the city. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the next round of grants would likely be announced sometime around Labor Day.

And he took the opportunity to again call on the city’s private corporations and educational institutions to help fight Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic, which is putting the city on pace to set a new single-year record for homicides.

“Show me the money,” Krasner said repeatedly.

As part of a separate $155 million investment in anti-violence efforts, Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration will award roughly $20 million to a group of grassroots organizations through a new Anti-Violence Community Partnership Program.

That initiative is meant to help mid-size organizations reduce violence, and will award grants ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. Recipients will also receive guidance from the city on how to build capacity to handle larger grants, as well as monitor outcomes.

The application is now posted online on the Office of Criminal Justice and Public Safety’s website, with the application window closing on Sept. 3. Recipients were slated to be announced on a rolling basis starting Monday.

Larry Krasner, wearing a mask, speaks at a DAO press conference
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announces the distribution of more than $250,000 to 10 community groups working to curb violence. Krasner called upon the city’s richest corporations to shoulder some of the financial burden of fighting gun violence. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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