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Task Force Develops Path for Safe, Equitable and Thriving Community

After gun violence claimed the life of a Cedar Rapids teen in 2015, community members came together to form the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Task Force. For two years, the taskforce engaged community partners, including the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Cedar Rapids Community School District, local nonprofit organizations and neighborhood groups.

In a February 2017 report, the task force made recommendations that target improved economic opportunity, educational success, safe and affordable housing, supportive law enforcement practices and improved access to youth programming and other health and human services. In 2018, the taskforce asked the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation to help facilitate a competitive grantmaking process focused on working toward those recommendations.

Group Violence Intervention Strategy

In 2020, the SET Fund received a $465,000 grant from an anonymous donor to increase the funding pool for local nonprofits and implement Group Violence Intervention (GVI) in Cedar Rapids. GVI, developed by the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), is an evidence-based approach that creates a network of care for those most impacted by violence.

The GVI strategy brings community members together with law enforcement and social serviceproviders to focus an antiviolence message on highly active street groups.GVI focuses on the groups athighest risk for violent victimization and offending, with the intention to keep them alive, safe, and outof prison.

When GVI was launched locally, Foundation 2 was one of the earliest nonprofit partners, providing outreach coordination. Today, Foundation 2 leads the local GVI project management implementation, working with law enforcement, nonprofits, government, and community-based groups to reduce violence.

Grantmaking from SET Fund

The SET Fund continues to make grants in pursuit of the goals outlined by the SET Task Force. Since2019, the fund has granted more than $700,000 in support of community-based programs and projects working to make our community safe, equitable and thriving.

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Photo of Casey Baustian

Casey Baustian, MSW
Program Officer


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