South Bend announces grant winners; programs aimed at curbing youth violence

Above: People taking part in the Mamas Against Violence Remembrance Walk in South Bend on May 18, 2013. Mamas Against Violence was one of 50 organizations receiving funding through the South Bend Alive program. (Tribune Photo/GREG SWIERCZ)

By Marek Mazurek | South Bend Tribune
Jan. 28, 2021

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SOUTH BEND — Aiming to reduce youth violence in South Bend, city leaders announced the recipients of the new South Bend Alive grant program Thursday, awarding nearly $350,000 in total to community organizations.

Out of 122 applications the city awarded 50 groups funding for 2021, with recipients getting anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000.

“This program is really about building community because we know the solutions to this have to come from the community,” said South Bend Mayor James Mueller. “But the city is going to be a willing and eager partner and assist in any way that we can.”

The program is managed by the Office of Community Initiatives, with director Maurice Scott saying Thursday he believes that providing funding to individuals and groups with good ideas is the best way to address the problem of violence.

“We have never really tapped into the whole community. When we have community meetings, a lot of folks would show up with some really good answers and solutions,” Scott said. “Instead of giving a large sum of money to one organization or another organization, how about we empower the whole community to be a part of the change?”

Money for the program comes from the 2020 city budget after former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg secured Common Council approval for $300,000 to be earmarked for violence prevention grants.

In September, South Bend Mayor James Mueller announced the city would be accepting applications for the program.

Along with Scott, Antonius Northern, Kintae Lark, Jan Marable, Maggie Gibney, Shay Davis, Lari’onna Green and Romona Bethany formed the committee that decided the grant winners. Bethany, Lark, Davis, Green and Northern are city employees.

Bethany, who leads the city’s Group Violence Intervention Program, said the committee judged applicants based on their approach to violence prevention, their past work and their potential for growth.

“Everything that went into these categories basically came down to who has the most potential to affect the lives of young people with a concept and philosophy of anti-violence that can be sustained,” Bethany said.

The organizations receiving funding provide a wide variety of services from mentoring, education and business skills to sports leagues and other activities.

In addition to the 50 grant recipients, the city designated 17 other organizations, which did not receive funding, that it wants to partner with.

Next year, the review committee will accept new applications for the grants. Scott said that groups that received funding for this year will not necessarily receive funding in 2022.

Grant recipients will receive training from the GVI program and have quarterly check-ins with the city. The South Bend Alive program will be judged on how well it curbs violence and how well grant recipients engage with the community, according to city leaders.

“One of the things we’re looking for is to reduce violence and reduce shootings in our community,” Scott said. “But also, we’re looking to see how many of our grantees are able to sustain what they do, not just for this year, but for next year and the year after that.”

According to recent data from the South Bend Police Department, 2020 was one of the most violent in recent history with aggravated assault, homicide and rape all rising more than 30% from 2019 to 2020.

Last year also saw eight children 18 and under die in homicides, including two accidental homicides, in South Bend.

The organizations that received funding through the South Bend Alive grant program are:

  • Rise Up Academy Restorative Justice Initiative
  • Imani Unidad
  • LTIA (Let’s Turn It Around)
  • IMPower Center
  • Mamas Against Violence
  • Transformation Ministries: Iron Sharpens Iron
  • Greater Impact
  • Mentoring Moments
  • Choices for Life South Bend
  • Gentleman & Scholars, Inc.
  • Free Your Wings, Inc.
  • Emaculate Enterprise LLC
  • Connect 2 Be The Change LTD
  • Project Impact South Bend: CUC Community Commercial Kitchen
  • Future Matters
  • Ark Angels, Inc.
  • The Strong Friend
  • RHS Restorative Justice Student Leadership
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • The Beacon Resource Center
  • Justice for Michiana
  • South Bend Chapter Indiana Black Expo, Inc.
  • The Michiana Athletic and Rec. Association
  • Project Impact South Bend, Inc./Sons and Daughters of Destiny
  • Fathers First 2.0
  • Dream Builders Project, Inc.
  • Women’s Outreach Ministries: The Incubator
  • Wright Chosen Ministries
  • MLK Senior Men’s Club
  • No Sleep Neighborhood Group: Studio/Arcade
  • Big Chef Corey’s Junior Chef Program
  • Joe Wingo Group
  • Bully Me Badd
  • Ocean of Opportunity
  • Swella’s Ville
  • IMP Operations LLP
  • Gifted Genius Foundation
  • Bully Boy Entertainment
  • Scholarworkship
  • Michiana Hub
  • Faith in Indiana: Live Free South Bend
  • Underground Basketball League (UB League)
  • Legendary Era LLC
  • Silence the Violence
  • Eminence Dance
  • Induce My Purpose Inc.
  • Women Entrepreneurs Matter
  • Style Girlz Beauty Salon and Empowerment Station
  • Soldiers Volleyball
  • Ford Strong

mmazurek@sbtinfo.com

574-235-6234

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