Heists continue with Philly violence prevention grant process

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Meanwhile, they continue to funnel dollars into the separate but related Anti-Violence Community Expansion Grant program, which provides up to $1 million in funding for year-long violence prevention programs. . Budget 2022 funneled $13.5 million into this model, and the proposed budget for 2023 currently includes an additional $12 million for community organizations focused on reducing violence through “healing and restoration practices that take trauma account.

Scott Charleshead of trauma awareness at Temple University Hospital and advocate for gun violence prevention, said the shift to giving dollars to family nonprofits is a good thing, but only if it’s done. is deployed with precision and support.

“These organizations are unprepared for what they are asked to do in many cases, and little technical assistance has been provided,” he said. “If we don’t help them, they will fail. And then the donors will say: “You see, we tried and it didn’t work”.

Those familiar with the grant distribution process say there will likely be a lot of variation in the nonprofit’s experience with a program like this, depending on the size of the organization and how familiar they are. with reimbursement documents.

During the TCIG’s fourth round distribution process, WHYY heard from more than a dozen selected organizations, but most were unwilling to speak formally about their experience. Some said they found the checkout process reasonable, while others said it was cumbersome and time-consuming.

Some said they were denied reimbursement for simple expenses such as pizza nights because they did not have proper paperwork or because the UAC did not accept their receipts. Others could not be reimbursed for hiring a speaker for a presentation if the name of the guest changed from what was in their original budget and grant application.

Nonprofit leaders suggested the city give organizations initial funding and then request reports upon completion, so they can serve youth with urgent needs in a timely manner.

“I understand that because this is taxpayers’ money, there needs to be some sort of accountability process, but 501(c)3 organizations and other nonprofits shouldn’t have to be intensely accountable for how the funds are spent,” Owusu said.

Asked about these issues, the UAC said they “are only allowed to distribute funds to recipients who provide accurate paperwork and documentation for payment in accordance with city rules.”

The children of the Positive Choices program discover the video production of Jacques Princivil, owner of My Life My Film Media, after breakfast on Saturday morning, at the Shepard Recreation Center in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Many nonprofits who received partial or deferred reimbursement said the grants ultimately allowed them to start programs they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, and that it was still worthwhile. to participate despite the onerous paperwork.

Williams-Davis has decided to apply for TCIG’s fifth round of funding and hopes to be selected.

She said she expects the same difficulties in the next round. But this time, she’s willing to spend her own money, rely on help from donors and partner organizations, and ask her presenters and other contractors for flexibility in payment terms.

“It’s going to be tough, I’ll tell you,” she said. “We are all also helping to make things happen for children. So it’s just, you know, it’s teamwork.

The rest of the Williams-Davis summer program will include a gun safety course for children likely to encounter guns at home or in public, and a Boy Scout-led merit badge program. to cultivate practical skills and volunteer work.

If you or someone you know has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia, you can find bereavement support and resources here.

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