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Image: Crushers Club, a repeat grant recipient, uses boxing and music to develop bonds among at-risk young African-American men, encouraging education and discouraging gang participation.
As part of its broader effort to address the public health crisis of intentional violence, the University of Chicago Medicine has awarded more than $50,000 in grant funding to seven local community groups for their summer violence prevention and recovery programs.
This is the second consecutive year UChicago Medicine has funded “rapid-cycle” violence prevention, intervention and recovery grants – named for the expedited application timeframe that ensures funds are available to organizations at the start of summer.
“These seven organizations are doing the important and necessary work to keep people safe,” said Brenda Battle, vice president of the University of Chicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “This is especially critical in the summer months when school is out, the risk of violence runs higher and young people can benefit from having access to reliable safe spaces, as well as activities to build their leadership and life skills.”
One of the grant recipients is the Centers for New Horizons, which operates a summer program to serve young people in Bronzeville and surrounding communities who have had involvement with the justice system. Grant funding will help the organization expand its programming to provide cognitive behavioral therapy for those affected by trauma, a fitness program and training in restorative justice and conflict resolution, including Peace Circles.
“We are honored to be a recipient of a UChicago Medicine violence prevention grant for our summer REACH! program,” said Christa Hamilton, chief executive officer and executive director of Centers for New Horizons. “The summer months present a critical safety challenge for many of the youth we serve, so we are intentional about creating opportunities to keep them engaged. The grant will help us address some of the challenges our community faces with constructive, evidence-based solutions.”
Another grant recipient, Alliance of the SouthEast, plans to use funding to train African-American and Latino youth in peer mediation, leadership and conflict resolution. “At Alliance of the SouthEast, we believe it’s our responsibility to provide the tools and trainings to help young people carry out the change they want to see in their community,” said Lali Avila, the group’s youth coordinator. “This violence recovery and prevention grant will help us provide these essential resources to those who can immediately benefit from them.”
At the recommendation of its Community Advisory Council’s Trauma Care and Violence Prevention work group, UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative awarded the first group of rapid-cycle violence recovery grants in June 2017. Recipients used the grants to build the capacity of their summer violence prevention programs, including funding more counselors, new equipment and expanding their programs expansion to include more participants.
The 2018 rapid-cycle grant awardees are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that operate or deliver services within the 12-zip code area that defines the UChicago Medicine service area. The awardees are:
Awarding rapid-cycle grants represents one of many approaches UChicago Medicine is taking in response to the community’s need for violence prevention and violence recovery following trauma. In May 2018, the academic medical center began providing Level 1 adult trauma care services. Through the Urban Health Initiative, and in partnership with its Community Advisory Council and other local organizations, the health system complements clinical care with violence recovery and wraparound services to help trauma patients fully recover from traumatic injuries and successfully transition back into the community.
Violence prevention was one of the top health-related needs cited in the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which is conducted every three years by the Urban Health Initiative. The CHNA surveys the top health concerns for South Side communities.
The Urban Health Initiative (UHI) is UChicago Medicine’s community health department through which population health and community benefit are administered.Learn about our community health department