Giffords Launches Giffords Center for Violence Intervention
Giffords Commits to Unlocking $2 Billion in Resources for Community Violence Intervention Over the Next Five Years
Washington D.C. — This fall Giffords launched the Giffords Center for Violence Intervention with a commitment to unlock $2 billion in federal, state and local funding for community violence intervention efforts over the next five years. Community violence intervention (CVI) utilizes evidence-based, community-driven strategies to reduce gun violence, such as street outreach work, hospital-based violence intervention programs, and other approaches that work with credible messengers to directly address the root causes of violence and intervene with individuals at the highest risk.
Community violence—the daily shootings on America’s streets that disproportionately impact underserved neighborhoods of color—is one of the main drivers of this country’s gun violence epidemic. In 2021, there were more than 25,000 homicides, the vast majority committed with a firearm, and tens of thousands more nonfatal shootings. Yet, all too often, community violence and some of the most effective solutions fail to make the headlines or factor into the national policy debate over public safety.
Giffords Center for Violence Intervention is building on five years of leadership in the field. In addition to expanding Giffords’ advocacy, organizing and research role, the new Center will offer quality technical assistance to cities and communities and will convene diverse CVI stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels. The Center, which is staffed by subject matter experts, will be led by Paul Carrillo, one of the nation’s leading experts on community violence.
Paul Carrillo, Director, Giffords Center for Violence Intervention:
“The United States has a uniquely deadly gun violence problem that has inflicted lasting damage on underserved communities. Growing up in Southeast Los Angeles, I experienced firsthand how everyday violence destroys families and ruins futures. That’s why I’m committed to continuing to raise awareness of CVI work and filling in the gaps that are often overlooked by government services and law enforcement. In collaboration with our local partners, Giffords Center for Violence Intervention will bring new resources and expertise to communities most affected by gun violence. Together, we can save lives.”
After successfully advocating for a historic $250 million investment for community violence intervention programs in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Giffords Center for Violence Intervention will assist communities in unlocking these funds as the law is implemented. Additionally, each year, the Center will host a conference bringing together CVI leaders who are committed to supporting effective, sustainable efforts to reduce gun violence in underrepresented communities. The first annual spring conference is expected to bring together over 600 CVI leaders representing 50 organizations from 25 states.
This announcement follows five years of Giffords leadership on CVI work. Between 2017 and 2021, state investment in CVI strategies increased by more than $600 million, and cities across the nation have launched new Offices of Violence Prevention and pledged billions of dollars of federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act to expand their CVI infrastructure. Through the ongoing advocacy of Giffords and our many partners, 2022 marked the nation’s largest-ever investment in supporting the CVI field.
Success at the Federal, State, and City Levels
The Biden/Harris administration has made CVI a central pillar of its Safer America Plan and has instructed federal agencies to prioritize CVI work across dozens of federal grants representing billions of dollars in federal resources. The current federal fiscal year (FY22) marks the highwater point for federal investment in CVI, with $50 million appropriated to the new Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative and an additional $250 million over five years coming from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Approximately a dozen statewide community violence coalitions have started since 2017, with direct support and participation from Giffords Center for Violence Intervention. Total state-level investment in CVI has since increased from just five states spending $60 million in 2017—when Giffords first began investing in CVI work—to 15 states investing nearly $700 million in 2021.
In California, the Giffords-led CalVIP Coalition has grown to include close to 200 individuals members and dozens of organizations, and has dramatically bolstered California’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP), increasing overall funding from just $9 million per year to more than $70 million per year in 2021. Giffords has also helped pass legislation to codify key CalVIP reforms, including allowing community-based organizations to directly apply for funding, and successfully pushed the state to allow Medicaid to directly reimburse frontline CVI workers for their services.
Many cities have opened Offices of Violence Prevention to fund and coordinate CVI work, including the City of St. Louis, which allocated $10 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds for this purpose in direct response to report recommendations from Giffords Center for Violence Intervention.
Thought Leadership in the Field
Since 2016, Giffords has released groundbreaking reports every year examining and uplifting CVI strategies, beginning with Healing Communities in Crisis, which reviewed the available evidence and made a powerful case for the importance of this work. This marked the first time a national gun violence prevention group comprehensively explored the issue of community violence.
Other in-depth Giffords reports addressing community violence include:
- Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence
- A Case Study in Hope: Lessons from Oakland’s Remarkable Reduction in Gun Violence
- America at a Crossroads: Reimagining Federal Funding to End Community Violence
- In Pursuit of Peace: Building Police-Community Trust to Break the Cycle of Violence
- On the Front Lines: Elevating the Voices of Violence Intervention Workers
- A Second Chance: The Case for Gun Diversion Programs
- Addressing Community Violence in the City of St. Louis: Existing Strategies, Gaps, and Funding Opportunities
Federal agencies have directly incorporated Giffords Law Center’s CVI recommendations into national grant programs. The CVI team has helped author more than a dozen op-eds about the importance of investing in community-based solutions to the gun violence epidemic, and has been quoted in news outlets around the country on this issue.
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