31 Oct 2019

MacArthur Foundation Awards ALSO $1 Million to Further Vision of Safe Homes, Safe Streets

The Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) has received a four-year, $1 million Community Capital Grant award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant strengthens ALSO’s sustainability by investing in a cash reserve, supporting administrative infrastructure including website development, and creating an innovation fund to ensure that the organization remains competitive in its areas of expertise.

Jorge Matos (right), Director of ALSO’s Safe Streets program, with two participants in ALSO’s 10-10-10 Employment Program.

“Our sincere thank you to the MacArthur Foundation for making a commitment that will help us grow in significant ways in the coming years and effectively serve those living in risk of violence,” says ALSO Executive Director Lori Crowder. “With MacArthur's support, ALSO will increase its capacity to innovate, share lessons learned, and sustain its work.” For more than 40 years, MacArthur has been committed to Chicago, investing $1.4 billion in over 15,000 local organizations and individuals across the Chicago region. 

The award is part of MacArthur’s Chicago Commitment. The grant will support ALSO’s vision for “Safe Homes, Safe Streets” through continued efforts to reduce firearm violence and gender-based violence, increase youth engagement, and work toward policy and systems change. ALSO is one of six Chicago organizations that focus on community safety and gun violence prevention to receive Community Capital grants totaling $3.36 million in September 2019. The other organizations are BYP100 Education Fund, Enlace Chicago, House Development Corporation, Sweet Water Foundation, and Youth Peace Center of Roseland. 

ALSO's award will support the creation of new partnerships, and allow us to strengthen existing ones. As communities and organizations locally and nationally focus on complex and urgent problems related to violence, ALSO works with many as a consummate collaborator. We regularly work with individual, community, non-profit, governmental, and foundation stakeholders in intentional and innovative ways. At a time when the city of Chicago has signaled an increased focus on violence prevention, we have established strong relationships that support this work. One example is our work with Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P), which features ALSO and seven other leading outreach organizations in Chicago who have combined their expertise to jointly impact nine Chicago communities most affected by gun violence. One project of CP4P is the Metropolitan Peace Academy, a training ground committed to promoting continuous learning and professional development for street outreach workers, which includes members of ALSO’s Safe Streets team. In its work around the U.S., ALSO builds partnerships with organizations that have expertise and can help to guide the work of states, communities, and individuals that are taking steps to change the way that they respond to violence. One example of this is through the STOP Intensive Technical Assistance Project (SITAP), an initiative ALSO is leading in partnership with several organizations that is intended to help states create systems and response changes, and support equitable approaches to resource distribution. 

In 2018, ALSO announced a new strategic plan that set forth its vision of “Safe Homes, Safe Streets,” and the mission to work in partnership with people living in risk of violence to promote safer streets and homes. The grant from MacArthur will make a significant difference to ALSO as it works to realize its vision and mission in a variety of key ways and support improvements in service to community and individual safety.

Recipients of ALSO’s 2019 Community Ally Award (from left to right): Pastor Edgar Rodriguez, Jr. of New City Fellowship, Humboldt Park; retired Cook Cty. Judge Gloria Chevere, and Darrell F. Spencer, Commander, 11th Police District. To right in photo, next to Cmdr. Spencer are Lori Crowder, Executive Director of ALSO and Jorge Matos, Director of the Safe Streets program at ALSO.

The MacArthur award will promote innovation in an area that ALSO emphasizes: the intersections of community violence, gender-based violence, and other forms of interpersonal violence. ALSO’s Safe Streets outreach, case management, workforce development, and re-entry projects work directly with about 150 street-involved men and women each year to offer supports for the purpose of helping individuals increase safety, decrease risks, and transform their own lives. Since 2007, ALSO’s Safe Homes and Policy teams have provided training and consultation across the U.S. intended to improve victim services and systemic responses to survivors of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. In 2017, ALSO began offering pro bono legal assistance with expungement and sealing of criminal records to help individuals remove barriers to employment and housing; the MacArthur award will allow the organization to offer free representation in expungement and sealing cases, and legal services in a number of other areas, in partnership with Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc.

ALSO’s recognition that community violence and relationship violence can be connected has led to the development of a set of practices and trainings to help others work at this intersection in a variety of ways. At ALSO, programs are integrated and interdependent; this synergistic framework allows us to deliver richer services and products based in cross-programmatic knowledge. In the communities we serve, different types of violence are often connected – and so are ALSO programs that address that violence.

Through the MacArthur award, ALSO will be able to develop plans and practices that promote sustainability, a pivotal goal for an organization that is committed to having a long-term impact on violence prevention in Chicago and around the country. In addition, the four-year grant will support critical infrastructure needs related to technology, development (including staff development), and documenting our work.

ALSO, which was founded in 1998, is poised to build on its innovative work to promote safer streets and homes.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the MacArthur Foundation,” says Crowder. “This grant will have a major impact on our work to create a sustainable future for ALSO as it reaches people living in risk of violence and communities that strive to be safer.”

RECAP:

The Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) has received a four-year, $1 million Community Capital Grant award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

The grant strengthens ALSO’s sustainability by investing in a cash reserve, supporting administrative infrastructure including website development, and creating an innovation fund to ensure that the organization remains competitive in its areas of expertise.

The grant will support ALSO’s vision for “Safe Homes, Safe Streets” through continued efforts to reduce firearm violence and gender-based violence, increase youth engagement, and work toward policy and systems change.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the MacArthur Foundation,” says ALSO Executive Director Lori Crowder. “This grant will have a major impact on our work to create a sustainable future for ALSO as it reaches people living in risk of violence and communities that strive to be safer.”

DONATE TODAY!

ALSO is an organization committed to end violence in homes and communities nationwide. Your contribution will help us live out our mission to develop, promote and implement model programs in order to build a movement for peace and safety in the coming year.

With your support, we will:

  • Continue providing jobs for in-risk youth through our 10-10-10 job training program.
  • Provide bystander intervention training for youth and community members, giving people the skills to know how to increase safety in high risk situations.
  • Explore and reveal the relationship between intimate partner and community violence to create programming that will reduce both.

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