The Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund at the Community Foundation will make its second round of grants this fall, and the aim is to reduce youth violence. The SET Fund, which was established in the fall of 2018 by the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and the Cedar Rapids Community School District, grew from the recommendations of the SET Task Force in a 2017 report.
The first round of SET Fund grants were made in April for summer programming. “So far this has been about learning,” said Rachel Rockwell, the Program Officer who facilitates administration of the SET Fund. “We’ve looked for innovative ideas and new models, now we’ll spend the summer identifying which programs are successfully engaging youth and what challenges the community is still facing.”
For inspiration and guidance, the Community Foundation is looking to other communities as well. In June, a delegation made up of Community Foundation staff, community leaders and representatives from local government and law enforcement attended a National Network for Safe Communities conference on the Emerging Science of Violence Prevention. The conference provided opportunities to learn from communities that have reduced violence by as much as 63 percent. Funding for the conference came from the Community Investment Fund to support the ongoing efforts of SET Fund initiative.
Insights from the conference and from summer programming will inform grants made this fall. The Community Foundation will host planning sessions on July 30, August 19 and September 9 ahead of the October 10 grant application deadline. The planning sessions will allow community members to share ideas, knowledge and concerns, and will facilitate collaboration on future programming.
“We’ve learned two things already this summer,” Rachel said. “First, that there’s a real need for engaging youth to find a solution to ending violence. But we’ve also learned that there are a lot of people out there committed to this work. We will continue to learn, and I think we can get to a place where we are providing our young community members with hope and opportunity.”
Funding is available to organizations and community groups with programming that approaches systemic causes of economic, racial and academic disparities and/or aims to avoid, reduce or stop high risk behaviors that can lead to involvement with the criminal justice system. Priority will be given to projects informed by research and evidence-based practices, and to applicants who involve directly affected community members in program design and implementation.
For the fall grant cycle, a total of $120,000 will be available, with the goal of funding 5-10 projects. The duration of the grant is 12 months beginning in January 2020.
For more information about the planning sessions and fall grant cycle, click here.