Six community groups focused on reducing violence at the grassroots level will get microgrants from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office to boost their efforts.
The money from forfeiture funds will help community groups working in the neighborhoods to stop the violence.
“This is essentially money that was taken from criminals engaging in criminal activity, it’s either their tools or their profits from this criminal activity,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
David King represents one of the groups getting support called Shoot Basketballs NOT People. He says the group’s organizer Gary Mills is saving lives by offering young people an opportunity to do something non-violent.
“He’s helped a lot of young men mature and just change their lives,” King said. “When kids are bored and things like that, they just need things to do.”
Another group receiving a grant recently talked a man out of shooting a person through peer counseling. Bilal Qayyum of the Father’s Day Rally Committee said this funding could help stop other incidents of violence, too.
“He was going to shoot someone, and because of him attending our group sessions, we convinced him he shouldn’t do that,” Qayyum said. “He went to a family function and his nephew was there. And the young man that he was going to shoot was there. He convinced his nephew not to shoot that young man.”
The groups who received the awards include the following:
- Father’s Day Rally Committee offers counseling sessions for young Black men. It also runs the Jobs Not Guns initiative and offers therapy services for Black fathers who have recently lost loved ones to violence. The group was awarded $25,000.
- Forget Me Knot Children and Youth Services provides supportive housing and trauma-informed group counseling for shelterless youth, in addition to employment and business development programming. They received $40,000.
- P. Michael Boone Foundation, Inc. teaches barber skills to at-risk youth and people returning from incarceration. The group received $15,000.
- Shoot Basketballs Not People also got a grant of $15,000. They are a nationally-recognized basketball development program for youth aged 10-16.
- Unity in the Community also received $15,000. The group was launched in 2009 to provide housing and utility relief, youth mentorship, employment opportunities, and much more. The group currently offers a comprehensive 24-week carpentry program for at-risk youth aged 14-19.