Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is Awarded Anonymous Grant to Expand SET Efforts

Published: September 16, 2020 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is awarded a $465,000 grant to support the work of the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund. The grant, awarded through a competitive process by an anonymous funder, will increase the funding pool available to nonprofit organizations for SET programs, and will aid in the implementation of Group Violence Intervention (GVI), an evidence-based approach developed by the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC).

The SET Fund was established in 2018 through a partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and the Cedar Rapids Community School District to address inter-relational factors that lead to youth violence in Cedar Rapids.

“We want youth and young adults in our community to thrive,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart. “It was a great first step to bring these partners together to form the SET Fund, and this grant will help us create a safer, healthier future for our community.”

This grant will help SET funded organizations and community partners create a seamless network of care for those who are most impacted by violence in our community. “We’re very excited about what this grant means for our community,” said Rachel Rockwell, SET Program Officer at the Community Foundation. “Cities of all sizes across America have improved safety through this multi-sector approach, resulting in significant and measurable reductions in gun violence. Bringing organizations together to implement this model will be transformational.”

In the fall of 2019, SET Policy Committee members were introduced to the GVI model and made the decision to pursue this grant opportunity. “The idea of NNSC working with key community partners in Cedar Rapids to implement and support the core GVI approach is something we were excited to pursue,” said Noreen Bush, Superintendent of Cedar Rapids Community School District. “These are cutting edge innovations in support and outreach for the highest-risk communities, which will benefit our community greatly.” NNSC technical advisors will help the community create and sustain strategic partnerships and will facilitate a multi-sector, community-driven strategic planning process for improving community safety.

“We have numerous organizations working to keep our young people safe but research shows us that a comprehensive strategy is critical to success” said Cedar Rapids City Council member Dale Todd. “Bringing everyone to the same table and coordinating our work will make our efforts much more effective.”

Since the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Fund was established in 2018, it has received $446,700 in contributions from partners. This anonymous grant will add $465,000 over the next three years.

“This grant award is a gamechanger,” said Stacey Walker of the Linn County Board of Supervisors. “It not only validates the efforts of our partners over the last several years, but it also allows us to scale and provide critical funding to even more nonprofits on the ground doing the hard work of violence intervention and community-building.”

This grant will also fund the expansion of the SET Program Officer position at the Community Foundation, held by Rachel Rockwell, to full time. Rachel has led the grant application effort and has identified the strategy for implementation. She will act as primary point of contact for the NNSC technical assistance strategists and as a liaison with the local community groups. She will also continue to manage the grant funding process and support the organizational capacity needs of the funded nonprofits.

The SET Fund is currently accepting applications through October 1, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. 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. Grant applicants are expected to engage in the implementation of the GVI model through monthly local SET network meetings, quarterly trainings, and attendance at the NNSC 2021 National Conference.

For information about the SET Fund community collaboration, click here.

For more information on the NNSC and GVI, click here.

To more information on grant eligibility requirements, priorities and exclusions, or to apply to the SET Fund, click here.

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