Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
Gun violence has continued to take and destroy lives for Chicagoans for decades, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the disparities that lead to violence and gun involvement. The Rapid Employment and Development Initiative (READI) Chicago respectfully requests a grant of $500,000 to support their work in ending the cycle of gun violence for the most vulnerable men in Chicago.
READI Chicago is an innovative and evidence-based transitional jobs and cognitive behavior intervention program that seeks to decrease gun violence involvement among those at highest risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence; create alternate paths and viable opportunities for participants to change their life trajectory; decrease criminal legal system involvement; and help build a community-level infrastructure that promotes long-term safety and opportunity in Chicago’s most marginalized communities. When the program launched in 2017, Chicago was coming off a historic surge in gun violence that left 762 murdered and more than 4,000 shot. Over the past five years, Heartland Alliance has partnered with community partner organizations in five community areas – Englewood, West Englewood, Austin, North Lawndale, and West Garfield Park – to implement the program to incredible success.