Attorney General Schwalb Announces "Leaders of Tomorrow" Violence Prevention Grants

Builds on Efforts to Improve Public Safety Through Proactive, Preventive Interventions Targeting Root Causes of Crime

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today announced that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is launching a new series of public safety grants—the “Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program”—designed to foster positive development among District youth. The grants will provide up to $250,000 to local non-profits dedicated to an evidence-based, preventive approach to crime reduction.

Grants are available for Fiscal Year 2024 and eligible applicants must apply by 11:59 PM on Friday, February 2, 2024.

“Improving public safety by ensuring that DC kids lead healthy, hopeful lives is one of our office’s core priorities. Hopeful children are safer children – to themselves and everyone around them. In addition to holding juvenile offenders accountable and supporting victims after crimes occur, we also have to invest in proactive strategies to prevent crime before it happens,” said Attorney General Schwalb. “Policing and prosecution are two critical components of a public safety strategy, but the District cannot arrest and incarcerate its way out of crime. Prevention must be part of a comprehensive crime strategy as it is equally important and necessary in making our community safer now and in the long run. I look forward to investing in and partnering with organizations dedicated to bringing innovative ideas, methods, and tools to mitigating risk factors in youth and aiding the long-term success of young people in the District.

The Office of the Attorney General is the District’s chief prosecutor of crimes committed by juveniles, while the federally appointed U.S. Attorney prosecutes most crimes committed by adults, including all violent adult felonies. OAG prosecutes all serious juvenile violent offenses when it has the evidence to do so, holding holds kids accountable when they cause harm while also 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. Recognizing the critical role that community-based organizations play in improving public safety and fostering positive youth development, the Leaders of Tomorrow grants will provide financial assistance to eligible organizations with a demonstrated commitment to working with and supporting District children.

Below are non-exhaustive examples of resources and services that fall within each category eligible for funding.

Academic Achievement & Workforce Readiness Early childhood education, truancy mitigation, tutoring, course completion, on-the-job training, workforce skills development, financial literacy, apprenticeships, internships, youth employment
Youth & Family Support Family counseling, case management, parent engagement, parent coaching
Trauma-Informed Services Trauma training for youth/families/providers, creating safe spaces for youth, evaluation of practices, addressing trauma of youth and families
Conflict & Dispute Resolution Conflict resolution and mediation skill-building, emotional regulation skill-building, communication skill-building, etc.
Meaningful Engagement Recreational activities, mentoring, youth advocacy, volunteer opportunities
Mental Health & Wellbeing Therapy, counseling, coaching, mental health care, crisis response

To receive grant funding, all services and programming must be provided in the District of Columbia.

The full Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is available here.

OAG’s Efforts to Stop Gun Violence and Support District Youth

The Office of the Attorney General uses every tool available to reduce violent crime, especially crime involving firearms. Among other things, OAG defends the District’s common-sense gun laws—including prohibitions on large-capacity magazines and carrying firearms on public transportation—against legal challenges. OAG seeks Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), when appropriate, to remove firearms and ammunition from those who pose a danger to themselves or others. In 2022, OAG filed and won a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Polymer80, a ghost gun manufacturer that was selling kits that enabled individuals to build untraceable ghost guns in their homes. As a result of that lawsuit, Polymer80 was ordered to pay over $4 million in penalties and to permanently stop selling its frames, receivers, and “Buy, Build, Shoot” kits to District consumers. OAG also expanded its Cure the Streets program, a community-based, violence-interruption program that employs a public-health approach to disrupting cycles of violence. The Cure the Streets program currently operates ten sites in District neighborhoods that have historically seen the highest rates of gun violence. OAG also focuses on using the law to address housing instability, economic inequities, environmental exploitation and the exploitation of consumers, seniors and workers – all of which are known to contribute to cycles of crime.

Recognizing that the vast majority of District youth are doing exceptional things – often against extraordinary odds – OAG also prioritizes giving young people opportunities to learn and grow, actively celebrating and listening to them whenever possible. Every year, OAG recognizes youth who have overcome significant challenges to make positive changes in their community with the Right Direction Awards. OAG’s High School Advisory Council offers District students an opportunity to build critical decision-making skills around complex issues and provide policy recommendations to OAG leadership, while the Do the Write Thing Challenge gives middle school children the chance to speak out about how violence affects their lives and share ideas on what can be done to stop it.

Additionally, OAG works to combat truancy and keep kids in school though its ATTEND (Abating Truancy Through Engagement and Negotiated Dialogue) Mediation Program, which operates in eight District elementary and middle schools. In coordination with the DC Superior Court and other stakeholders, ATTEND helps children and their families address the underlying issues causing chronic absenteeism while minimizing the likelihood of repeat referrals.