California Philanthropists Take on Gun Violence

If you live in an urban city, you know it too well.

If you watch the news, you know it too well.

If you are an American, you know it too well.

Gun violence is a public health epidemic. Gun violence claims over 30,000 lives every year, and as many Americans die from guns as from car accidents. Historically, when a public health epidemic reaches the American masses, the public outcry leads to swift policy changes and community responses. And yet gun violence - which disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color - has been left mostly unaddressed for the three decades that it has been on the rise.

Judy Belk, CEO of The California Wellness Foundation, recently published a short piece on the work her foundation and others are doing to bring philanthropic support into crafting a response that will effectively address this epidemic. When CA Wellness and 8 other funders launched the Violence Prevention Initiative in 1992, she recounts, "gun violence had become the leading cause of death for young people in California. Skeptics argued that violence was inevitable and that our resources would be better spent on prisons than violence prevention. Neither government nor private funders saw youth violence prevention programs as priorities. And none were recognizing gun violence as a public health issue."

Yet now, she tells, their work is making a difference.

In our world, money is power. And when philanthropists partner their dollars and support with those communities who have been historically marginalized from the realms of power-brokering, innovation, solutions, and healing is the result. Find the whole article here.