By Cree Noble, Team Coordinator

Last summer, our 22 Chicago Peace Fellows collaboratively designed and supported a wide range of peace building projects using a dedicated pooled fund for violence prevention. When creating projects, Annette Kelly noticed many of these projects dealt with youth, health, and well-being, but not with crime prevention directly. During the summer, she voiced her idea about having a project called Crime Stoppers that would address the violence in Chicago by directly engaging with those most likely to be a perpetrator or victim of crime.

Annette’s idea was well received by many fellows, but Dorothy Thompson and Tia Brown really stepped up and helped Annette with the formation and execution of this plan. The Crime Stoppers team met biweekly to figure out what was the best course of action. A few ideas about violence prevention were brainstormed such as hosting workshops around the topic, but after weeks of discussion, the team decided they wanted to give out a microgrant to a nonprofit who was already working with violence prevention.

The application process was detailed and strategic in order to find the best candidate for this microgrant. Annette states, “we wanted to cast our nets wide” and wanted to look for an organization without all the “bells and whistles.” The microgrant was for $2,000 and 36 organizations applied. For the selection of the microgrant, Annette, Tia, and Dorothy came up with a rubric to follow as well as a scoring system. They ranked each group according to their mission statement, the population they served, and what they planned to do with the money.

After weeks of going through each application, the organization Stick Talk was the recipient of the microgrant. According to Stick Talk’s website, “We reassess urban gun violence through the prisms of harm reduction and mutual aid. Our intention: to reduce the number of young Black people who are living at the edge of fatality, and to interrupt the demonization and criminalization of their politics of survival.” Tia says, “Stick Talk was the perfect organization for what we were looking for in a winner.”

Crime Stoppers looks forward to seeing the grant be put in use at Stick Talk. They are also hoping to use extra funds they have to help families who have been impacted by violence.