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The Linn County Board of Supervisors joins the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation in celebrating the announcement of a $465,000 grant award to support the work of the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund.
The grant, awarded through a competitive process by an anonymous funder, will help SET funded organizations and community partners create a seamless network of care for those who are most impacted by violence in our community. The grant application was the top-ranked application in the pool by the anonymous funder.
The SET Fund was established two years ago through a partnership with Linn County, the City of Cedar Rapids, and the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The fund has received $446,700 in contributions from partners. Over the next three years, this grant will bring the total investment to nearly $1 million for programs that address inter-relational factors that lead to youth violence in Cedar Rapids.
The SET Fund is a product of the SET Task Force, which formed in February 2016 after a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in a Cedar Rapids park by his 14-year-old peer in September 2015. The Task Force identified this shooting as the “tipping point” in addressing the problem of gun violence in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas in the county and brought together local government and community leaders to seek solutions to the problem of gun violence. The Task Force spent nearly two years investigating the complex factors that led to gun violence in the community and issued a report of their findings along with recommendations to help solve the problem by addressing the systemic roots.
According to the Task Force report, “The working theory of the Task Force was that if we could improve the economic prospects of individuals living in the most impoverished areas—which happened to be neighborhoods experiencing high levels of violence—then we could decrease the incidents of violence overall, including gun violence in those neighborhoods.”
“This grant award serves as a powerful endorsement of the original vision of the SET project,” said Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, who is a member of the SET Policy Committee and served as co-chair of the Task Force. “We knew even in the early days that this work was worth the struggle. This near half million dollar investment is not only validating, but it opens the door to new opportunities to scale the important and needed work of group violence intervention in our community.”
“We are pleased that the work completed by the SET Task Force continues in our community. Our goal at the completion of the Task Force work was to encourage our community to address the recommendations and keep the work relevant. That goal is being met,” said Dr. Mary Wilcynski who served as the SET Task Force co-chair with Walker and currently serves on the SET Policy Committee.
Read more about the SET Fund community collaboration on the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation website.