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President Preckwinkle Announces over $14 million in Initial Awards of Cook County’s Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Grants

gun violence prevention
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO) confirmed 1,002 gun-related homicides in 2021. (MGN)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry and Avik Das, Executive Director of the Justice Advisory Council, to announce the first set of awards for the Cook County Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant program.

This American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funded grant program, managed by the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, was designed in response to the increased levels of gun violence experienced in Cook County since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant program aims to invest in community areas and municipalities in Cook County that have experienced the highest rates of gun violence.

“These grants represent an important step toward building safe and thriving communities for all residents of Cook County,” said President Preckwinkle. “In some of our communities, the epidemic of gun violence has claimed and damaged many lives. Yet gun violence is preventable and violence prevention programs have proven to be effective at reducing involvement in shootings. It is vital that we invest in organizations providing this life-saving programming that supports at-risk residents and increases community safety for all.”

The first five Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Grant awards, totaling $14,387,260 over a three-year period were made to Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Friends of the Children Chicago, Kids Above All Illinois, the Roseland Cease Fire Project and Saint Anthony Hospital. These five organizations proposed different evidence-based violence programs leveraging strategies such as street outreach and case management, trauma-informed counseling, and intensive youth mentoring.

“Priority number one is to place the safety and well-being of all kids above everything else,” said Dan Kotowski, President of Kids Above All. “This significant investment in violence prevention through mental health, mentoring and job placement services will save kids’ lives and help those young people who have experienced trauma to start healing, ensuring they have every opportunity to become independent adults who lead meaningful, productive lives.”

The Justice Advisory Council is in the process of reviewing additional grant applications and additional grant awards will be announced this summer. A total of $65 million in funding is available for this initial three-year grant period.

“This grant campaign reflects our commitment to fund a comprehensive array of supportive services focused on helping our communities and residents most vulnerable to gun violence and its destructive effects,” said Avik Das, Director of the Justice Advisory Council. “The volume of high-quality, innovative grant proposals we have received speaks to the expertise of the many community-based providers offering these services. We are grateful to be partnering with the exceptional organizations who were awarded funding and are excited to announce the additional grant recipients later this summer.”

This is news from Cook County.