The University of Chicago is dedicated to improving community safety in partnership with its South Side neighbors. On July 28, 2022, President Paul Alivisatos and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee announced the creation of the Violence Intervention Fund, which aims to support and scale community and academic violence reduction efforts.
This $15 million fund will support work over a period of three years. It builds upon ongoing work with community partners to support the social and economic health of the University’s surrounding neighborhoods, particularly Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn.
The fund will invest in innovative initiatives focused on South Side communities and residents, particularly efforts supporting youth, people at elevated risk for involvement with gun violence (either as offenders or victims), and trauma reduction programs. It will support both evidence-based programs and promising pilot interventions.
Proposals will be accepted from University academics, nonprofit community organizations, and faculty/community partnerships, which will receive priority consideration. The request for applications is now open, with an application deadline of September 1, 2022.
Violence Intervention Fund FAQ
Will there be a specific number of awards by neighborhood?
There is no specified number of awards per neighborhood.
Are evidence-based discussions in the proposal only regarding what has been done by the organization thus far, or can organizations bring in external research and evidence that supports the work they are doing?
Yes, that is the kind of additional research-based evidence the University is seeking.
Do scale projects need to service all nine of the surrounding University neighborhoods?
Scale projects should be designed to expand beyond their initial focus area but do not need to target all nine areas.
Is there an age range for projects focused on youth?
There is no specified age range for projects focused on young adults and adolescents.
Are there any restrictions on communities that already receive a high level of funding?
The Violence Intervention Fund is neither restricting funding to only high violence areas nor will it restrict areas already funded. Areas already receiving funding will not be denied; supplemental funding to those areas should be outlined in the application.
Is the “capacity building work” geared toward creating an evidence base to catalyze further financial support of these grassroots programs?
Capacity building is out of scope for this funding initiative because of limitations in resources and the short timeline, although that may change in the future.
Can funds be used for needs assessment specific to the project’s focus community and goals?
Funds are intended to fund programming. Expectations are that needs assessments have already been done and there is readiness for testing and evaluation of what has already been implemented. For pilot programs, needs assessments can be included as a component of the approach.
Small organizations also need capital improvements; can funds be used for facilities/sustaining facilities?
Capital costs are outside of the scope of funding for this RFA.
How will the University leverage community assets already in place for this funding (ex.: grassroots initiatives already working towards this goal that could be tied to the evidence-based research)?
Community-based organizations and/or partnerships can be leveraged for this RFA. Existing assets can form the pilot data or evidence base for this RFA.
How do we connect with UChicago faculty for evaluation needs?
If you have specific questions or need assistance with developing partnerships with UChicago faculty, please contact the Office of Research or the Office of Civic Engagement.
Submission & Progress Reporting
If a proposal is not funded in the first round, will applicants receive feedback and have a chance to reapply?
A review panel of faculty and community members will provide feedback to those applicants not advancing in the current round of funding and may recommend a proposal for resubmission in future rounds.
Will there be a monitoring component for award recipients?
Yes. For pilot projects, an interim six-month progress report and an exit report will be required. For scale projects, quarterly monitoring will be implemented to ensure milestones are achieved and to determine if additional funds beyond the first year will be awarded.