McClinton awards more than $764,000 in grants to strengthen local gun violence prevention efforts

As part of her ongoing fight to stop the surging homicide count in Philadelphia, PA House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton today announced $764,886 in funding to help area advocate groups and schools combat the gun violence crisis. 

“It pains me to no end to see the city surpass the grim milestone of 400 homicides this year, and the fact is these tragedies could have been prevented,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “By securing these dollars to invest in our community-based groups and schools, we give our boots on the ground who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis the best opportunity to find gun violence reduction approaches that work, build upon them and, ultimately, better protect our neighborhoods – especially our young people.”  

During a news conference outside of Church of Christian Compassion, McClinton presented the Gun Violence Reduction Program grants to: 

Community of Compassion CDC Inc.: $225,000 to launch its “S.T.O.P.” Anti-Violence Program and utilize the Community of Care Violence Prevention model, which is a faith-based, multi-agency approach to mapping and deploying community resources and responses. Proposed activities include after-school programming, culturally responsive mentoring, education and law enforcement resources. 

School District of Philadelphia: $225,000 to hire Safe Passage staff at four of its schools – including Motivation and Sayre high Schools in McClinton’s legislative district along with Roxborough and Lincoln high schools – who will be tasked with increasing safe routes and transportation options for students as well as helping to deter violence and criminal activity. 

Dr. Bernett L. Johnson Sayre Health Center: $219,886 to support the creation of a community center in Cobbs Creek, which will offer training to members of the West Philadelphia community along with students and staff at Sayre High School who are in restorative justice circles. The center will also provide a safe after-school space for students to study.      

Muslims for Humanity CDC: $95,000 to implement a community outreach program. The funds will cover costs associated with training outreach workers, mentors and violence interrupters, among other things. 

“Working in the heart of our community, we’ve seen far too many of our friends and loved ones lose their lives to gun violence year after year,” said Terrilynn Donnell, principal officer of Community of Compassion Inc. “This funding will help us break that cycle by opening doors to more opportunities, allowing us to provide our neighbors with the resources and assistance they need when they need it, as well as promote peace over violence.”   

“The safety and well-being of our students has always been our top priority,” said Kevin Bethel, the School District of Philadelphia’s chief safety executive of the office of School Safety. “This grant will help in our continued effort to protect our young people inside and outside the classroom while guiding them away from violence and down a path to success.” 

“We understand gun violence is a public health crisis and these dollars will go a long way in helping enhance the positive work we’ve been doing to change lives by funding a new community center in Cobbs Creek,” said Kirsten Britt, associate director of outreach at Sayre Health Center. “This center will allow us to provide a safe space to educate our young people about workforce development, address trauma and expand opportunities for our neighborhoods.”

"It's time to change the game! We plan to continue fighting our fight with PCCD's state resources and collaborations with community leaders like Representative Joanna McClinton," said Isa Shahid, founder of Muslims for Humanity. "We cannot continue to be reactive to gun violence. Our proactive approach focuses on changing the mindsets of our youth. Our Game Changers Youth Mentoring Program could be the model for community gun violence reduction and prevention for communities across the world." 

McClinton added these projects were part of the more than $5 million in Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grants awarded to strengthen violence reduction efforts across the city. 

More information about PCCD is available on its website.