By now you have heard that President Biden asked Congress to invest $5 billion dollars into “community violence prevention” over 8 years. This is great news however this does not mean that the money is available, and we should temper our celebration until the funds are actually accessible to Community Based Public Safety (CBPS) organizations doing violence reduction work in the community. If the organizing and advocacy is not managed correctly we will see what always happens: Black and Brown communities are left out. As we know, the Devil is always in the details and this is not a victory until we can count how many of our partner organization receive investment.
What happens next:
The Biden Administration asked Congress to include a total of $5 billion for community based violence prevention in the Infrastructure Plan. Now that the Biden Administration has publicly announced what he wants, Congress has to draft a bill, with these new policy and funding provisions, that will then be debated by Congress.
Congress has to vote on and approve the bill. During this process they will decide how much funding goes to violence prevention and how it is spent. Congress will pick a federal agency or agencies to spend the money. These agencies will develop rules and regulations for spending the money. If the program is not structured correctly, our respective organizations will likely not see much benefit. If you want to talk about how to do this, reach out.
A portion of the funding should go directly to Community Based Public Safety (CBPS) organizations. Only a portion of the funds should go to institutions and government agencies unless they have a plan to sub-grant to community organizations.
No funding should go to police or law enforcement agencies.•Funding cannot be on a reimbursement basis. Grants have to award at least 90 days of up-front funding. Federal grants typically operate on reimbursement and very few community based organizations can afford to front several months of salaries and await reimbursement.•Grants cannot require a cash match.
Eligible expenditures must include: support for CBPS workers including health insurance,alternative therapies for managing trauma, respites, and more; organizational infrastructure expenses such as databases, audits, HR systems, and more; and, food and stipends. Eligible expenditures must also include meeting the needs of people engaged in violence: healing services, housing, stipends during job training, and more.
Getting Ready; What CBPS organizations will need to access this funding:
501c3 status or a fiscal sponsor (a larger organization with 501c3 status that manages your money for a fee)
Case management system to track work and generate reports. This can be in paper forms entered into Excel or something more sophisticated like Apricot. You will need to track everything you do and report it.
Organizational annual budget•Organizational project budget. Think about what you will ask for.
Organizations with budgets over $500K in federal funding during a grant cycle need a professional audit.
Community Based Public Safety Organizations should start working now to get ready to apply. If this would be your first federal grant, you want to plan ahead. A few of our partner agencies have written successful federal grant proposals to a few of the federal agencies who will be pass through for ARP dollars. If you need support please let us know.
This is a multi-tiered, simultaneous effort being engaged by many partners. Moving the funding to accessibility, having the infrastructure to apply, having resource to implement, track and report on project must all be apart of the strategy to redefine public safety. If we change the narrative around what and who makes us safe, we change the game!We will be reaching out in the coming days with additional information.