CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Grassroot nonprofits which are committed to trying to curb violence and make Charlotte a safer place are now eligible for $1 million in grants, thanks to a partnership between the City of Charlotte and the United Way of Central Carolinas.
According to the City, this program through the Safety and Accountability for Everyone (SAFE) Charlotte grant program, neighborhoods affected the most by violence will be "prioritized."
“Our goal is to distribute funds through an equitable process that reflects community priorities, and to help organizations strengthen their internal operations so they continue to provide vitally important services,” United Way of Central Carolinas Chief Impact Officer Kathryn Firmin-Sellers said.
The SAFE Charlotte plan was adopted by the Charlotte City Council in late 2020 with the hope to "re-imagine policing and make the city safer."
"Through the SAFE Charlotte grant program, a total of 20 grants in the amount of $50,000 each will be awarded to 501(c)3 organizations meeting eligibility requirements under guidelines established by the City of Charlotte," according to the City's website.
The money for these grants was made possible through the federal government's Community Development Block Grant.
The application process for SAFE Charlotte grants will close on March 31 at 5 p.m. Organizations interested in applying will need to apply online before then.
Organizations that receive the grant money will be notified by April 26.
The SAFE Charlotte plan was created to combat violent crime and looks at the increase in violence as a public health issue.
"If we don’t change some things we’re going to continue to see the same things,” Sevhn Doggette, the founder of the nonviolence organization MM2K, said.
Doggette said the community as a whole needs to get serious about tackling the city's increase in violence.
"We can't do this by ourselves," Doggette said. "MM2K, we can't do it by ourselves and other non-profits, we need the city to be on board."
According to the city of Charlotte's crime dashboard, the number of homicides and aggravated assault with guns both shot up last year.
CMPD estimates homicides went up by 18% and aggravated assault went up 29%. Officers say they found more offenders were in their late teens or early adulthood.
"This year we need to dedicate a lot of our time to interacting with these young people out here," Doggette said.