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Mayor Bowser Awards Over $750,000 in Building Blocks DC Grants to Residents and Community Organizations Working to Reduce Gun Violence

Friday, July 30, 2021
More than 60 District residents and community groups will receive grants to support their work in the community.

(Washington, DC)  Today, the Bowser Administration, led by Building Blocks DC, announced the recipients of the Building Blocks DC Community Grants. The grants, which total more than $750,000, are going to more than 60 individuals and community-based organizations that lead efforts to support residents and neighborhoods impacted by gun violence. The recipients were announced by Chris Geldart, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Linda Harllee Harper, Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (GVP), and representatives from the Progressive Life Center (PLC).

“These grants are about empowering organizations and people in our community,” said Mayor Bowser. “This is what we mean by a ‘whole-of-community’ approach to addressing gun violence. We mean everyone coming together to support each other, to think creatively, and to develop solutions that match the needs of our communities.”

Community leaders applied for two types of grants:

  • $5,000 mini grants awarded to individuals to create activities that engage residents, leaders, and organizations in promoting public safety; 
  • $50,000 grants awarded to entities or organizations who will create innovative programs to reduce gun violence in the District of Columbia 

“The grantees have designed exciting programs and will now get right to work to implement gun violence prevention opportunities in communities across the District,” said GVP Director Harllee Harper. “I was really struck by the number of great ideas that residents have which proves that our community know the answers to address gun violence and now have the financial support to bring their innovative ideas to the residents who are impacted the most.”

Programs to be offered through these grants include:

  • a youth program that provide workforce skills, self-care training, mentoring and money management;
  • a virtual program that teaches conflict resolution for black mothers whose children were victims of violence;
  • a Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) Program for youth ages 8-18 to be conducted both in-person; and 
  • a financial literacy program for youth and families.

Each grant winner will submit an implementation plan to the Progressive Life Center, which is partnering with Building Blocks DC in the management of the grant program. The community grant program includes a special Technical Assistance session that will be held in August to assist applicants from the first round who want to re-apply for future grants. 

“This is just the first step in a program we believe will help promote the co-creation of public safety in our communities and have a positive impact across the District of Columbia,” said Charles Evans, PLC’s DC Regional Director.

The next community grant application cycle is scheduled to begin the first quarter of FY22, between October and December of 2021.

To view the complete list of the recipients from the first round of BBDC grants, visit buildingblocks.dc.gov