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Funding available for Louisville groups working to mitigate violence

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Small organizations can get $20,000 in funding.

With increased reports of violence in Louisville, the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, or OSHN, is offering funding to grassroots organizations working to help their communities.

This month, local groups working to put a stop to violence can apply for $20,000 to expand their efforts. Beneficiaries would also get access to training opportunities in areas like grant writing, budgeting, marketing and to hone interview skills.

OSHN will fund the work of 10 groups.

Joe Newland is program manager for the ReImagine Network, a branch of OSHN that’s overseeing the violence reduction fellowship.

“It's not always easy, through Metro, to set up funding a grassroots agency, especially a relatively new one,” Newland said. “The organizations that we’ve been able to fund at the grassroot level, what we've seen is that the money has sort of gone further. And we have found that's the case, because this is neighborhood level work.”

The fellowship’s last cohort included The Hope Buss, Inc., a nonprofit that gives residents who live in the city’s food deserts rides to the grocery store. The organization also operates Hope Village, a city-backed outdoor space for unsheltered residents.

Other past participants include the Real Young Prodigys, an educational rap collective that has successfully lobbied for the passage of local protections against natural hair discrimination. Its members continue to push for a similar measure on the state level.

Groups applying for this round of funding must already be focused on reducing and preventing violence. Newland said their approaches to doing that work can vary.

“For some people, that's sports and education. For others, that art and music or even direct conflict resolution training,” Newland said. “We are looking to be innovative in some ways. If somebody is seeing this, and they think, ‘Hey, I have a really good idea for violence prevention,’ this is your chance to pitch that. We want to hear it.”

Eligible applicants must also be adults who:

  • serve Jefferson County residents
  • carry liability insurance
  • have an annual operating budget less than $100,000

Newland said interested groups aren’t required to have tax-exempt status, but must be willing to work on becoming nonprofit organizations throughout the course of the year-long fellowship.

“Some of these grassroot organizations are going up against larger organizations with professional grant writers. So, even if they are in the best position to do the work, they may not have received that formal training on budgeting, on marketing and fundraising,” Newland said. “We’ve partnered with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence to be able to offer one-on-one consulting, supportive services, a free membership and access to a grant writer.”

Successful applicants will be required to participate in one to two fellowship meetings between March and May.

Applications are open now until 11:59 p.m. on January 31. Interviews with top contenders will take place during the first two weeks of February, and the city aims to inform all applicants of their status by Feb. 20.