Dozens of Indianapolis community organizations based in districts experiencing high levels of violent crime will get new infusions of cash for crime-prevention projects.
The City-County Council, in partnership with the Office of Public Health and Safety and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, announced Tuesday evening it would award a total of about $400,000 to 40 not-for-profits in the first round of its Council District Crime Prevention Grants Program.
“Today’s announcement marks a new phase in the council’s commitment to addressing root causes of crime and violence in our community,” said Leroy Robinson, chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee, in a written statement. “In addition, this program is the council’s first attempt at an equitable distribution of resources using a data-driven approach that may reveal new opportunities for crime prevention moving forward.”
Each council member picked funding priorities for their district using district-level data from The Polis Center’s SAVI data program.
Districts were ranked into tiers using SAVI’s violent crime index, which combines violent crime rates, segregation and social determinants of crime, like poverty and unemployment, to create an index ranging from 0-100. The five 20-point tiers fall at different priority levels, with more funding for projects in areas scoring higher on the index. Five of Indianapolis’ districts scored above 80. One, District 17, scored 100 out of 100.
The program prioritized “neighborhood-based, resident-driven, grassroots, and nontraditional” groups in awarding the grants, according to the release.
“Grassroots organizations have a better understanding of the problems in their neighborhoods that contribute to crime, and we have the relationships within our community to make a difference,” said Peter Thawnghmung, president of Chin Community of Indiana. His organization was granted $5,000 to create a “safe space” for teenagers to connect with peers, under adult supervision, and share their struggles.
Many of the projects are youth-focused, like the Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center’s $17,500 award for a family basketball league for Northside residents or Freewheelin’ Community Bikes’ $23,00 grant to support its youth apprenticeship program for a year.
T3 Impact Inc. will get $32,000 to offer court-ordered diversion programs, youth re-entry programming, youth and young adult mental health counseling and fight food insecurity, while the Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation will have $18,500 to put toward an eight-week program providing educational and mental health support, along with paid work experience for youth currently or formerly involved in the justice system.
A second round of funding will be available later this year, according to the organizations.