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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES $1,000,000 FOR 2021 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FUND

 

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES $1,000,000 FOR 2021 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FUND

Double the investment of Fiscal Year 2020; funds now available for nonprofits providing programming for youth violence prevention and identified gaps

 

BOSTON - Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Offices of Health and Human Services and Public Safety today announced $1,000,000 in grant funding through the 2021 Youth Development Fund to support and increase youth development and violence prevention programming. With this funding, the City of Boston is targeting two priority areas: youth violence prevention programming and a continuum of support to fill gaps in existing programming. Up to 25 nonprofits will be selected to receive funding and awards will vary in size up to $100,000, with $75,000 of the funds reserved to be awarded for the 2021 summer. Applications for grant funding are now open, and responses are due by Monday, November 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

"In Boston, we are committed to expanding access to youth programming and violence prevention strategies because we know this is important for our residents' public health and public safety," said Mayor Walsh. "At a time of increased stress and uncertainty as we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, this additional programming is vital now more than ever. I look forward to working with partner organizations to further our reach in engaging the youth in our community."

Priority One: Youth Violence Prevention 

Grants targeting youth violence prevention will be funded to nonprofit organizations using evidence-based strategies that work to shape individual behaviors, and address relationship, community, and societal factors that influence risk and protective factors for violence. Programming must be for Boston youth ages 10-24.

Examples of youth violence prevention strategies include:

  1. Strengthening youth's skills
  2. Connecting youth to caring adults and activities
  3. Creating protective community environments
  4. Intervening to lessen harms and prevent future risk

Priority Two: Continuum Support 

Funding will support nonprofit organizations whose activities and services address the City of Boston's identified needs in the youth and young adult violence prevention continuum. For Fiscal Year 2021, these gaps include:

  1. Services for youth and young adults up to age 30 that address unmet needs created by or directly related to COVID-19.
  2. Case management or supportive services for school-age youth ages 13-18 who are Department of Youth Services-involved or high-risk for gang involvement due to history of neighborhood or family gang activity.
  3. Programs aimed at mitigating or preventing the use of social media to incite or promote violence, focused on ages 18 to 30.

Building on his commitment to bolstering the City of Boston's coordinated, cross-departmental violence prevention efforts and continued investments in opportunities for youth, Mayor Walsh has doubled funding for the Youth Development Fund each year for the past three years. For Fiscal Year 2019, Mayor Walsh invested $250,000 into the Youth Development Fund, $500,000 was allotted for Fiscal Year 2020, and for Fiscal Year 2021, Mayor Walsh has committed $1,000,000. 

"As the City continues to respond to the impacts of COVID-19, part of our work to keep residents safe and healthy must include ensuring the continuity of youth engagement and violence prevention programming," said Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez. "I look forward to partnering with nonprofit organizations working directly with the community."

In an effort to centralize youth violence prevention services and strategies, the City of Boston has transitioned the Fund to the Office of Health and Human Services to administer in an effort to strengthen the City's collaboration among nonprofit organizations and city departments working to increase youth engagement and development, and violence prevention. The Office of Health and Human Services includes the city's Office of Public Safety. 

"The effectiveness of the City of Boston's violence prevention strategy and framework is dependent on our continued collaboration with our non-profit partners," said Director of Public Safety Rufus Faulk. "The Mayor's Office of Public Safety relies heavily on the contextual expertise of our external partners and our ability to increase the funding available (through the YDF) to these nonprofit partners will further support their efforts to ensure that all of Boston's youth have the opportunity to succeed."

The City of Boston seeks to fund nonprofits that complement the violence prevention work of the City. For the 2020 summer, the City of Boston added $4.2 million in funding to provide 8,000 youth jobs and engagement opportunities. The Mayor's Summer Jobs Program works to empower youth by connecting them to jobs that provide mentorship and guidance, and promote skill building and networking opportunities that create lasting professional pathways to success. 

In addition to increasing the investment into the Youth Development Fund, Mayor Walsh has allocated $600,000 into SOAR Boston (Street Outreach, Advocacy, and Response) to improve services and hire additional staff for the program. SOAR Boston engages gang-involved youth and young adults. Also, under Mayor Walsh's leadership, in 2016, the Neighborhood Trauma Team (NTT) was created by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). The NTT supports a coordinated and comprehensive approach to providing citywide trauma response and recovery services for all residents. There are currently six teams that serve Boston residents: Bowdoin Geneva/Greater Four Corners, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury and Grove Hall. 

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