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Foundation Funding of Violence Prevention Projects



January 6th, 2012
by Lee-Lee Prina

On December 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released findings from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. The results may surprise you. For example, over the course of her lifetime, one in four women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Here is a sampling of some foundations’ efforts to prevent violence of various types.

Sexual violence (rape), stalking, and intimate partner violence “take the largest toll on women, who are more likely to report immediate impacts and long-term health problems caused by their victimization,” the CDC’s Linda C. Degutis said in a press release.  (Women are more likely than men to report the effects, the CDC clarified in an e-mail.)  The survey findings emphasize that violence is “a major public health burden,” said the CDC.

And, of course, men are also affected: Approximately one in seven men, during his lifetime, has been victimized by severe physical violence by an intimate partner, the survey found.

Foundation Funding for Domestic Violence Prevention

Also on December 14, the Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Blue Shield Against Violence program awarded more than $2 million in grants. These fourteen grants were for strengthening culturally appropriate domestic violence services for Black and African American, Native American/American Indian, and recent immigrant populations across the Golden State. “Our research shows that many of California’s ethnic groups experience higher rates of domestic violence but may be less aware of and less likely to seek services,” according to the foundation’s president, Peter Long, in a press release.

Read about the “advancing the policy dialogue” facet of the foundation’s domestic violence prevention program. Please note that the Blue Shield Foundation is not accepting unsolicited requests for funding for this policy work.

Foundation Funding for Youth and Young Adult Violence Prevention

* Violence prevention is one of the eight health issues funded by the California Wellness Foundation under its Responsive Grantmaking Program. For example, it recently awarded $200,000 in core operating support to Commonweal for sustaining production and dissemination of reports on California’s spending on violence prevention.

According to the foundation’s Fall/Winter 2011 Grantee magazine, in an article titled “Violence Prevention: A Long-Term Commitment to Keep Youth Safe,” author Frank O. Sotomayor reports that, between 2002, when the foundation’s landmark Violence Prevention Initiative concluded, to the time he wrote the article, Wellness awarded some $58 million in violence prevention funding, making it California’s largest private funder of such programs.

Back in 1992, Wellness “embarked upon a long-term, multifaceted campaign to curb violent deaths and injuries for young people ages 12 through 24,” says the article. It notes that Wellness “became the nation’s first major philanthropic organization to embrace a public health model for violence prevention” and also worked with other foundations (the Alliance Healthcare, Crail Johnson, James Irvine, David and Lucile Packard, San Francisco, S.H. Cowell, and Sierra Health Foundations; and the California Endowment) which collectively pledged an additional $10 million for grants to prevent youth violence.

The article also discusses the Wellness Foundation’s role in changing the public policy conversation around youth violence; the work of its recently retired president and chief executive officer (CEO) Gary Yates and his predecessor, Howard Kahn; milestones during the initiative; and its grant making today in this field.

* The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has been a long-time funder of CeaseFire. In early 2011 it awarded its most recent grant (for $4.5 million) to the organization, which is based at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. CeaseFire, which started in 2000, “reaches out to teens and young adults to offer them direct alternatives to shooting and killing,” according to a page on the RWJF website, dated July 29, 2011. The newest grant is for expanding the initiative beyond Chicago.

 “In Chicago, murders in CeaseFire zones dropped sharply over the decade,” the foundation reported. CeaseFire has national partners working in other cities such as New Orleans; Kansas City, Missouri; and Crown Heights, New York.

View the trailer for The Interrupters, a documentary film on CeaseFire’s work in Chicago.

The RWJF and government entities support CeaseFire sites around the country. The Chicago Community Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Michael Reese Health Trust, Polk Brothers Foundation, state of Illinois, and others have supported CeaseFire Chicago.

* Another program to check out is Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships, which “is the largest initiative ever funded to target 11- to 14-year-olds and rally entire communities to promote healthy relationships as the way to prevent teen dating violence and abuse.” This RWJF national program funds ten sites around the United States; the Blue Shield of California Foundation funds one site in that state. Futures without Violence (formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund) houses Start Strong’s national program office.

Related resources:

The Firearms Research Digest, a database launched by the Harvard School of Public Health, contains summaries of articles gathered from social science, criminology, medical, public health, and public policy journals, according to Harvard. The digest is meant to be clear and accessible to people outside academia, such as news reporters, policy makers, public health officials, and those in law enforcement who seek research and data on gun violence, said a press release. The website now covers the years 2000 to 2009, but Harvard updates it periodically. A current Joyce Foundation grant to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center includes funding for expansion of this online library. A previous grant helped to launch the digest.

The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health is based in Chicago. Directed by Carole Warshaw, the center recently received five years of renewal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. See the center’s warning about Internet safety. The center also has current funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Irving Harris Foundation, Chicago Tribune Charities (a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation), Michael Reese Health Trust, and Crown Family Philanthropies. Read the 2003 GrantWatch article by Warshaw et al., “Fragmented Services, Unmet Needs: Building Collaboration between the Mental Health and Domestic Violence Communities.”

Read about the National Violent Death Reporting System, a state-based surveillance program that makes available information on violent deaths from a variety of sources, including hospitals, medical examiners and coroners, and public health officials, says the website of the National Violence Prevention Network (a coalition advocating for nationwide implementation of the program). The information helps public health officials and organizations to better target prevention resources and programs, according to Paul Bonta of the American College of Preventive Medicine. In 2011 the Joyce Foundation awarded a one-year grant to that professional society; the funding is for education and advocacy efforts at the federal level aimed at expanding the reporting system to all fifty states and to U.S. territories. Eighteen states now participate. The grantee advocates for increased funding to the CDC for additional states to participate in the reporting system.

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