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Manhattan DA Selects 10 Grassroots Groups For Grants to Fight Gun Violence

The groups will implement hyperlocal programs for at-risk youth in gun violence hotspots.

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg greets violence interrupters at his Harlem office, July 27, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is giving $20,000 grants to each of 10 community groups that applied for funding for youth programs aimed at tamping down gun violence.

The groups, operating in seven neighborhoods and 11 public housing projects, will work on a variety of initiatives. Some will train teens as community activists focused not only on gun violence, but also on environmental and voting campaigns. Others will lead financial literacy or therapy sessions, among many other activities. 

Collectively, they are projected to involve about 100 young people in communities where Bragg’s office identified shooting hotspots.

“Gun violence is my number one priority,” said Bragg at a meeting with the 10 groups at the DA’s office in Harlem on Thursday. “We’re not going to prosecute our way out of this. 

“This is lives invested in, cases that will not be brought because harm wasn’t done,” he said.

Wearing a button reading ‘I Am Peace,’ Street Corner Resources founder Iesha Sekou speaks at the DA’s meeting, July 28, 2023.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The funding for the programs comes from the district attorney’s “Criminal Justice Investment Initiative,” which was launched by Bragg’s predecessor Cyrus Vance Jr. with asset forfeiture money taken from international financial institutions. 

Michael Jacobson, executive director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance and a consultant for the program under both Vance and Bragg, said the new district attorney’s selections marked a shift. 

Under Vance, he said, many grants went to well-established institutions like The Legal Aid Society and NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Center, whereas most of Bragg’s are for smaller groups. “I’m not sure any of them were this small, even the smallest ones weren’t smaller than these,” Jacobson said.

Justin Nappler, of the East Harlem organization Not Another Child, said his group planned to use the grant money to work with 10 young men who have pending gun charges. Each will be involved in formulating and implementing an individualized work or education plan over 10 weeks, and receive counseling and a $1,500 stipend.

The grant recipients at Thursday’s meeting encouraged parents and youths to contact them about participating in this summer’s activities. The organizations are Brotherhood Sister Sol, The Children’s Village, Emergent Works, Exodus Transitional Community, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement, New Future Foundation, Not Another Child, Police Athletic League and Street Corner Resources.

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