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Indianapolis spends $45M on organizations combating violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Over the next three years, the city government of Indianapolis will give out $45 million to grassroots organizations that are working in different ways to combat the city’s violent crime.

LaNisha Clark, executive director of Freewheelin’ Community Bikes, said Wednesday, “We’re going to take the high road on it, and we’re not going to give up, we’re going to continue to do what we do, because we’re seeing a change.”

Freewheelin’ is one of 31 recipients of the federal funding, known as the Elevation Grant Program, handed down by the city government. Twenty of those organizations are new to the program. According to the city government, this first round of “$4,318,539 will go towards projects focused on thriving neighborhoods, empowering youth, and restoration and resilience through mental wellness.”

Pamela Ross, vice president of opportunity, equity and inclusion for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, said, “The biggest thing is that we have the opportunity. We have the funds. We’re going from $3 million per year to $15 million per year.”

Ross says her Community Leadership and Equitable Initiatives team is monitoring how the money is being spent. She tells I-Team 8 that the city is providing a series of workshops and one-on-one counseling to help organizations navigate where to best use the funds.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the city has seen a 10% decrease in homicides this year compared to the same time last year. However, after a violent holiday weekend, public safety remains top of mind.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, said, “We measure that progress by the overall level of gun violence the city experiences compared to previous years, and that’s why I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction.” 

The 31 first round recipients of the Elevation Grant Program will receive their funds on July 21. Applications are open for the second round. An organization must meet requirements to qualify, according to the city government. More than $8.6 million is available in this round for community-based organizations supporting work in these priority areas:

  • Thriving Neighborhoods: grassroots organizations performing resident-led solutions
  • Empowered Youth & Young Adults: organizations performing longer-term crime prevention activities, including activities for young people in Marion County who have been identified as at high risk for violence or have an existing involvement with the criminal legal system.
  • Restoration & Resilience: organizations addressing trauma, providing therapeutic support and healing, and/or reducing the use of drugs and/or alcohol.  
  • Intervention: organizations performing longer-term crime intervention activities, including reentry services, neighborhood engagement and activities for Marion County youth and adults who are currently or at risk of interacting with the criminal legal system 
  • Violence Reduction: organizations able to target and support individuals who are at very high risk of being involved in gun violence with integrated, evidence-based outreach activities/crisis intervention, violence interruption, cognitive behavioral therapy and/or family-based programming. 

The Indianapolis Foundation will host grantmaking clinics on Thursday and again July 14. The clinics will provide potential applicants tailored guidance to assist in the application process.

The deadline to apply for the second round of Elevation Grant Program funding is noon Aug. 1.

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