This is an excerpt of an article by Ellen Alberding (Joyce Foundation), Gillian Darlow (Polk Bros. Foundation), David Hiller (McCormick Foundation) and Julia Stasch (MacArthur Foundation) which originally appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business on May 23, 2018.
Chicago is facing dual crises of rising gun violence and a decline in police legitimacy, and many Chicagoans have stepped up to respond.
Families, community and religious leaders, civic and church groups, and others are working to make blocks and neighborhoods safer throughout the city. Businesses and local nonprofit organizations are reaching out with jobs and services for individuals at risk of violence. Reforms are underway at the Chicago Police Department. Chicagoans realized that continuing to do the same thing, hoping each year would be better than the last, is no longer acceptable.
We, as Chicago funders and foundations, must play our role, too. The Partnership for Safe & Peaceful Communities grew out of an effort in 2016 to support the operations of the Police Accountability Task Force, which examined how the police department can improve the way it serves all Chicagoans. The partnership is investing more than $40 million in complementary strategies to meaningfully reduce gun violence over the next two to three years. A 25 percent decrease in homicides by the end of 2019 would restore the 20 years of progress on violent crime Chicago experienced prior to the 2016 spike in crime.
Members of the partnership are coordinating our individual investments with a focus on four key strategies:
Each strategy is rooted in data, research and common sense. Each reflects the best thinking of experts in the field of crime research, men and women in uniform, and a cross-section of Chicago’s residents and community- and faith-based leaders. Based on the successful implementation of programs in other cities, such as the Los Angeles-based GRYD Foundation, we made the strategic investment decision to adapt these approaches locally.