Philly announces $900K in microgrants to fight gun violence

Body bags represent Philadelphians killed by gun violence

Body bags represent Philadelphians killed by gun violence in 2021 at a rally in support of Carlos Vega, a district attorney candidate. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia officials announced close to $900,000 in microgrants going to community groups working in gun violence prevention Wednesday. The announcement comes on the heels of the city recording its 400th homicide over the weekend.

The funds will be going to 41 community groups with a special consideration given to programs that work with “young men between the ages of 16 to 34 in areas most vulnerable to high levels of violence.”

“There’s a special emphasis placed on what we know to be interrupters to the cycle of violence — mentorship, education, employment, and trauma-informed supports and services,” said Erica Atwood, Senior Director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety at City of Philadelphia.

The grants range from $10,000 to $40,000.

Atwood said the awards announced Wednesday include a mix of more established organizations combating violence and community groups newer to the scene of violence prevention, but hopes are high for all.

“They have the potential to have an impact on reducing the risk of gun violence for those in those neighborhoods and across the city,” she said.

The city established these “targeted community investment grants” in 2018 and this is the fourth round of funding awarded via microgrants. According to Atwood, should the recipients go through the required onboarding without any hiccups, organizations could have the funds in hand within four weeks at the earliest.

More than 280 organizations applied for funding between June 1 and July 23 of this year.

These microgrants draw half a million in funding from $22 million City Council set aside for community gun violence prevention grants but are separate from the effort.

The $22 million are part of the Anti-Violence Community Expansion Grant Program announced in late summer. That funding is also going to community groups working in violence prevention efforts, but the awards range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

The first round of the expansion grant program is expected to be announced about two weeks from now, according to Atwood.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal