Attorney General Schwalb Announces 11 "Leaders of Tomorrow" Youth Violence Prevention Grant Awardees

OAG’s Initial Grant Announcement Spurs $1.5 Million in New Funding Thanks to Matching Funds from The Greater Washington Community Foundation

WASHINGTON, DC  Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today announced the recipients of the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) “Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program.” The public safety grants have been awarded to 11 high-impact local nonprofit organizations serving DC youth and families. Initially launched to provide $250,000 in funding for evidence-based projects that foster positive youth development and reduce violence, OAG’s grant-making announcement spurred a partnership with The Greater Washington Community Foundation (The Community Foundation), culminating in a total of $1.5 million in new grant funding across OAG, The Community Foundation, and the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE).

OAG received more than 200 applications for funding through the Leaders of Tomorrow grant program.

“The Office of the Attorney General recognizes the critical role local organizations play in helping ensure that young people have the tools and skills necessary for long-term success, and with these grants, we are continuing to put our money where our mouth is,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “We are extremely grateful to The Greater Washington Community Foundation for stepping forward with generous matching funds and quadrupling our impact, and pleased to see the Mayor following our lead in providing new investments for prevention efforts. The overwhelming number of grant applications received demonstrates the District’s deep need for proactive interventions that support healthy and positive youth development designed to keep young people from becoming involved in the justice system. Prevention work, along with policing and prosecution, is a critical component of any comprehensive public safety strategy that will help keep the District safe now and in the future.”

“Recognizing that 80 percent of DC’s health outcomes are driven by social, economic, and other factors, the Health Equity Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation is committed to addressing the social and structural determinants of health to improve the health and wellbeing of all DC residents,” said Dr. Marla M. Dean, Senior Director of the Health Equity Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner with the Office of the Attorney General to make critical investments in community-based organizations fostering positive youth development by directly supporting impacted youth and families who are closest in proximity to harm. We believe that an effective community safety strategy must include a violence prevention approach that incorporates trauma-informed services, conflict resolution, meaningful engagement opportunities, and support for mental health and wellbeing.”

"We are thrilled that the Office of the Attorney General recognizes Life Pieces To Masterpieces and other youth-serving community-based organizations as critical components of building safer communities in DC,” said Mary Brown, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces. “Life Pieces To Masterpieces provides opportunities for Black and Brown boys and young men from Wards 7 and 8 to express themselves, teach and uplift others as mentors, navigate societal barriers, and contribute positive change to their communities. We make a long-term commitment to every child and family we serve, and OAG's investment in supporting the holistic development of safe, hopeful, and healthy children and youth will have a lasting impact." 

“The Washington DC Police Foundation shares the commitment with the Office of the Attorney General to keep DC safe and support our youth,” said Patrick Burke, Executive Director of the Washington DC Police Foundation. “We are proud to be named as one of the awardees for the Leaders of Tomorrow grant program. These funds will support over 200 youth who are coached by Washington Metropolitan Police Department officers and community mentors in youth football. Program participants are encouraged to use their developed leadership skills to positively impact the community and city they live in. By working together, law enforcement and youth can build a safer and thriving city.”

“As a recipient of the generous Leaders of Tomorrow grant from the Office of the Attorney General, Horton’s Kids is truly honored and excited about the impact it will have on our organization and the community we serve,” said Erica Ahdoot, Executive Director of Horton’s Kids. “This funding will be instrumental in bolstering our efforts to provide essential violence prevention programs and support for DC youth. With this support, we can further strengthen our initiatives, reaching more young people and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to thrive in a safer environment. Together, we are building a stronger community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this important mission."

“The OAG's Leaders of Tomorrow grant award funding will allow TRIGGER University Summer Youth Employment Program to operate with proper funding and resources for the first time in seven years,” said Tia Bell, CEO and Founder of the T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project. “Our youth, who are leaders right now, will have safe rides and a safe space to learn about the disease of gun violence and then spread prevention citywide!”

The total amount of new funding available breaks down as follows:

  • $250,000 from OAG with $250,000 matching from The Community Foundation.
  • $250,000 from ONSE with $250,000 matching from The Community Foundation.
  • $500,000 from The Community Foundation in additional funds across 11 OAG recipients and two ONSE programs ($35,000 across each program).

The organizations that were selected by OAG to receive grant funding through OAG’s Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program include:

  • Access Youth:  Access Youth will serve 250+ girls at eight partner schools implementing programming designed to help kids improve behavior, interpersonal skills, and self-esteem, and reduce anger and violence. The program involves a structured curriculum and extracurricular activities, aims to foster empathy and peaceful pathways, and creates a pipeline of student leaders and mediators.
  • Anacostia Coordinating Council – Building Futures Program: Building Futures will serve young individuals between the ages of 16 and 21, many of whom have experienced marginalization and trauma in their communities as a result of violence, through a one-year youth empowerment and workforce development program. Participants will receive mentorship and support to develop essential soft skills, learn about community development and economic empowerment, develop ideas into business plans, and gain hands-on experience in project management, entrepreneurship, and co-operative leadership.
  • BEST Kids, Inc.: BEST Kids, Inc. will provide year-round mentoring services to youth in foster care and other at-risk youth ages 6 to 21. Mentors will be trained in violence prevention and will attend workshops with mentees to help them cultivate positive leadership and address risky behavior. BEST Kids, Inc. will also host a violence prevention roundtable at the end of the grant period. 
  • GALA Hispanic Theater: GALA Hispanic Theater will serve 22 – 35 Latinx youth (ages 12-18) experiencing poverty through a program designed to help develop academic and workforce skills, connect with Latinx role models, and cultivate creative expression. GALA will also offer paid stipends to students to work backstage, in the box office, and as house management, giving them on-the-job training experience.
  • Horton’s Kids: Horton’s Kids will serve 100 middle and high school students with tutoring, homework help, mentoring, and coaching. Program participants will also be screened for behavioral health needs and referred to individual, family and/or group therapy if needed. Horton’s Kids will also launch a Youth Advisory Council that will serve as a platform for older youth participants to provide valuable input, share feedback, and actively participate in decision-making processes related to the program. 
  • Life Pieces to Masterpieces: Life Pieces to Masterpieces will serve 100 boys in daily in afternoon and summer programs, and 10 – 15 young men in a Saturday academy. The daily and summer programs (for boys 3 to 13) will include mentoring, in-depth math and literacy tutoring, and opportunities for cultural enrichment, creative expression, and leadership development. The Saturday Academy (for young men ages 14 to 18) will provide academic support, college and career readiness training, financial literacy skills, and public speaking practice. 
  • Mothers Outreach Network: Mothers Outreach Network will launch a pilot project to support youth and families involved with the Child and Family Service Agency. Through this project, Mothers Outreach Network will leverage youth and family support and meaningful engagements to address root causes of youth violence, poverty, and economic inequity. The project will provide legal guidance and education, as well as guaranteed income, for transition-aged youth (ages 14 – 25) and their families.
  • Negotiation Works: Negotiation Works will train 30 DC students in negotiation to address youth violence. The courses will teach conflict resolution strategies, active listening, and effective communication.
  • Network for Victim Recovery DC: Network for Victim Recovery DC will contribute to the long-term wellbeing and success of young DC residents and mitigate risk factors associated with youth violence by providing trauma-informed and restorative justice services for young victims of crime. Youth ages 13 to 24 served through this grant will be referred to restorative justice services and given options to address the harm caused by violence and trauma they experienced. NVRDC will also employ a wrap-around continuum of services including crisis response, supportive advocacy, individual therapy and free legal assistance for young crime victims.
  • The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project: The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project will serve 50 vulnerable youth (ages 14 – 24) in the summer T.R.I.G.G.E.R. University program. The program helps youth participants to decrease risk factors for involvement in violence—as victims or perpetrators—through youth and family support, conflict resolution training, academic support, and workforce readiness training. Participants also have opportunities to increase social and emotional skills and positive community involvement.
  • Washington DC Police Foundation: The Washington DC Police Foundation will bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement and help teach life skills for a successful future through the Marshall Heights Bison Youth Football program. Through the program, youth ages 4 to 13 are mentored and equipped with skills to address challenges they face growing into young adulthood. They participate in football practice, game days, tutoring, library mentoring, and team building opportunities.

Background on OAG’s Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Violence Prevention Grants

The Office of the Attorney General is the District’s chief prosecutor of crimes committed by juveniles, while the federally appointed US Attorney prosecutes most crimes committed by adults, including all adult felonies. OAG prosecutes all serious juvenile violent offenses when it has the evidence to do so, holding kids accountable when they cause harm while working to make sure they get the resources they need to help prevent them from re-offending. OAG works to improve public safety through smart, fair prosecution and innovative, evidence-based initiatives addressing the root causes of crime, including its Cure The Streets gun violence interruption program and its ATTEND anti-truancy program. Recognizing the critical role that community-based organizations play in improving public safety and fostering positive youth development, OAG recently established the Leaders of Tomorrow grants to provide financial assistance to eligible organizations with a demonstrated commitment to working with and supporting District children and families, all in furtherance of preventing youth violence.