California will dispense $156 million in grants for gun violence prevention programs.
The millions in grants will be dispersed to 79 cities and nonprofit organizations through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program – a state grant program codified by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 as part of Assembly Bill 1603.
Cities that are "disproportionately" impacted by gun violence and community-based organizations in those cities are eligible to apply for grants through CalVIP. Cities and nonprofits can apply for up to $6 million in grant funds, and grants "must be used to support, expand, and replicate evidence-based violence reduction initiatives that seek to interrupt cycles of violence," according to the California Grants Portal.
The Thursday grant allocation announcement comes just weeks after a shooter entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers. In the aftermath of the shooting, California lawmakers and Newsom promised to take action to prevent future acts of gun violence by swiftly passing a package of bills.
"While gridlock and division block progress on the national stage, California is leading the way with commonsense gun safety laws and prevention programs like CalVIP that save lives," Newsom said in a statement. "We're doubling down on these successful measures – tested and proven in California every day – as part of an all-of-the-above approach to making our communities safer and ending the tragic cycle of violence playing out in schools, churches, workplaces and public spaces across the country."
In the latest grant allocation, Richmond and San Francisco received $6 million in grant funding, Oakland was awarded $5.9 million, and Pomona received $5.1 million. In addition, 11 other cities received grant funding ranging from $963,000 to $3.8 million.
Cities have different plans for how they will use the grant funding. According to the governor's office, the City of Fresno plans to offer a camp to young people at risk of committing violence, while the City of Oakland will use the funds to "conduct outreach, coaching and counseling" for families with a child at risk of committing violence.
In addition to cities, more than a dozen "small scope" community-based organizations received up to $400,000 in funding, while nearly 50 other community-based organizations received up to $6 million in funding. Among the grant recipients is the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which plans to use the grant to provide services and case management to youth from Sacramento and Los Angeles who are housed in juvenile facilities, according to the governor's office.
Thursday's disbursement was the fourth round of funding distributed by the Board of State and Community Corrections, which oversees the allocation. In total, $209 million in grants were available for CalVIP, and about $53 million of the grant money remains unclaimed, according to the governor's office.
Advocates say the funding will help prevent future gun violence incidents by focusing on prevention efforts.
"The CalVIP program funds the work of heroes – frontline violence interrupters who put themselves in harm's way, protect and heal survivors, and stop shootings before they ever happen," Ari Freilich, state policy director at Giffords Law Center, said in a statement.