Helping Funders Address Neighborhood Trauma and Violence

Posted December 6, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog helpingfundersaddressneighborhood 2017

From left: Sherise Brown, NPU-V Community Safety Advisory Committee; Amoretta Morris, Casey Foundation; Alexander Camardelle, Casey Foundation; Shelly Lindsey, CHRIS 180; and Sam Gonzalez, Atlanta Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

How can fun­ders help address gun vio­lence in com­mu­ni­ties of color?

What does it look like when res­i­dents take the lead in design­ing and imple­ment­ing those strategies?

How can data inform smarter com­mu­ni­ty-safe­ty poli­cies and practices?

Three experts from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion explored these very ques­tions at the Amer­i­can Pub­lic Health Association’s annu­al meet­ing in Novem­ber. Alexan­der Camardelle, Natal­lie Keis­er and Amoret­ta Mor­ris of the Casey Foundation’s Cen­ter for Civic Sites and Com­mu­ni­ty Change joined a pan­el of res­i­dents, non­prof­it and agency lead­ers to tell what they have learned from sup­port­ing trau­ma-response and vio­lence-inter­ven­tion efforts in Atlanta.

Their advice to funders?

  • Solic­it feed­back from res­i­dents and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty stake­hold­ers to iden­ti­fy miss­ing voic­es and invite these part­ners to share their experiences.
  • Let res­i­dents lead. Sup­port those who have been impact­ed by vio­lence and trau­ma in both devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing the work.
  • Cre­ate feed­back loops that enable res­i­dents to see and respond to safe­ty data in an ongo­ing manner.

Gun vio­lence is the lead­ing cause of death for young black males ages 15 to 24, and its effects are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly felt in low-income com­mu­ni­ties and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. High lev­els of neigh­bor­hood gun vio­lence can reduce busi­ness growth and job cre­ation and are linked to low­er home val­ues and finan­cial insta­bil­i­ty, research indi­cates.

These are chal­lenges that Casey is com­mit­ted to address­ing. In 2016, the Foun­da­tion worked with com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers in Atlanta’s Neigh­bor­hood Plan­ning Unit V to help equip res­i­dents with the tools nec­es­sary to effec­tive­ly address vio­lence. The process includ­ed an in-depth scan of exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty resources in Atlanta, sev­er­al work­shops on vio­lence-inter­ven­tion meth­ods and trau­ma-response pro­to­cols, and a nine-month com­mu­ni­ty design process to devel­op inter­ven­tion pro­grams tai­lored to the needs of NPU‑V neighborhoods.

In the wake of this effort, Casey has part­nered with the non­prof­it Chris 180 to estab­lish heal­ing cir­cles and devel­op a net­work of res­i­dents to par­tic­i­pate in a coor­di­nat­ed com­mu­ni­ty trau­ma-response plan. The Foun­da­tion has also start­ed work­ing with the PIV­OT (Pro­gram to Inter­rupt Vio­lence thru Out­reach and Treat­ment) Atlanta Task Force to estab­lish a coor­di­nat­ed hos­pi­tal and street inter­ven­tion pro­gram that will launch in 2018.

As a foun­da­tion focused on trans­form­ing neigh­bor­hoods into safe, sta­ble places where fam­i­lies can thrive, we can­not ignore the impact of gun vio­lence and trau­ma,” says Mor­ris, direc­tor of Casey’s nation­al com­mu­ni­ty strate­gies. We hope that the lessons and strate­gies we’re devel­op­ing with com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers here in Atlanta can be a blue­print for oth­er pub­lic and pri­vate part­ners through­out the nation who want to take on sim­i­lar work.”

Learn more about Casey’s com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty work in Atlanta

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