City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois Partner to Support Community-Based Approaches to Safety

City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois Partner to Support Community-Based Approaches to Safety
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City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois Partner to Support Community-Based Approaches to Safety (Chicago, IL) — The Government Alliance for Safe Communities (GASC) is an unprecedented partnership between the State of Illinois, Cook County and the City of Chicago to strengthen the community safety ecosystem in the greater Chicago region. Today, GASC leaders announce the launch of a new website, ILGovAlliance.org, designed to share information on government investments in community safety, and provide a central hub for community-based organizations to explore grant opportunities and access capacity building resources.

“I’m thankful for this intergovernmental partnership, which is working to reduce community violence in our most impacted communities,” said Quiwana Bell, IDHS Assistant Secretary Designate, Office of Firearm Violence Prevention. “At IDHS, we remain committed to advancing community safety, and this new website will ensure that violence prevention resources are accessible and available to everyone.”

Comprised of leadership and key representatives from funding agencies at the State, County and City, the GASC was established in 2021 to maximize the impact of federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding coming to the greater Chicago region. Since then, the GASC has successfully stewarded a historic level of investment of nearly $350 million in public funding for community safety. It has engaged key partners in research and philanthropy and is collaboratively developing sustainability strategies to fund community safety initiatives beyond ARPA.

“Along with our partners, we recognize that active coordination, collaboration, and communication are critical to effectively and sustainably increase community safety in local communities,” said Lanetta Haynes Turner, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Cook County Board President. “It is essential that we take a regional approach as the drivers and impacts of community violence extend beyond municipal lines. Our work began with an unprecedented level of consistent intergovernmental collaboration that continues as we develop strategic partnerships and long-term sustainability plans.”

Over the last three years, GASC stakeholders have met continuously to coordinate and streamline grantmaking processes, align on data collection and evaluation, and increase access to capacity building resources for community-based organizations working on the ground to build safer communities. To further support these organizations, the GASC has launched the Capacity Building Resource Library, a central hub designed to help organizations apply for regional funding opportunities and navigate the grant process. The library provides resources in three categories:

  • Grant Readiness: Preparing to apply for a grant, including grant writing, program design, understanding application requirements, and using application portals.
  • Grant Administration: Meeting the technical requirements of government grants, such as compliance, budgeting, reporting, and managing subcontractors.
  • Program Implementation and Performance: Successfully putting a program into action, including setting program metrics, outcomes, goals, and targets, and conducting data collection and evaluation.

“Capacity building is crucial for providing historically disinvested communities access to the resources they need to thrive. Many small organizations need more capacity support and education to apply for and manage grant funds, said Delrice Adams, Executive Director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. “Last year, ICJIA launched capacity-building hub, Institute to Innovate (i2i). i2i offers technical assistance to small community-based and grassroots organizations committed to preventing violence in their communities.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of gun violence have remained elevated nationwide, including in Illinois. Despite this trend, there have been some promising reductions in rates of community violence over the past two years, with overall homicides in Cook County down by more than 20% from their peak in 2021. However, GASC leaders continue to actively collaborate, emphasizing the ongoing need for commitment, partnership and investment to expand access to resources and ensure sustained progress towards achieving and sustaining community safety goals.

“We are committed to centering community-based approaches to ensure lasting safety and peace. By focusing on both immediate and root causes of violence, and with strong partnerships across all levels of government and community organizations, we are building a unified response to the gun violence crisis,” said Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood. “Together, we will continue to support and invest in public health violence intervention programs to create safer neighborhoods for all.”

For more information on the GASC, visit ILGovAlliance.org

City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois Partner to Support Community-Based Approaches to Safety

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