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Gun Violence Prevention Landscape

Philanthropy MA Program (May 31, 2018): Gun Violence Prevention Landscape


David Hemenway, Director, Harvard Injury Control Research Center and Health Policy Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Facts & Figures

  • In the first 22 weeks of 2018, there have been 23 school shootings
  • More school students have died in 2018 than active military personnel
  • The United States has the most permissive gun laws of all developed countries
    • A child in the U.S. is 18x more likely to be killed with firearms than in the rest of the developed world.

A Public Health Approach to Gun Violence

  • Public health model: make it easy for people to stay healthy and difficult to get injured and sick
  • Preventative – addressing the root of the problem, focus on harm reduction and prevention
  • Changing laws and changing social norms are both important
    • Must get everyone involved, shared responsibility instead of placing the blame
  • You don’t have to change the people, you have to change the system
    • For example: driving was made safer NOT by changing the behaviors of drivers, but by making cars and roads safer.
  • Data and research are key to a public health approach
    • For example: data shows that there is a high rate of 2-4 year olds accidentally shooting themselves. Child proofing guns would help to stop this problem.
  • However, there is a lack of gov’t funding from CDC, and, therefore, lack of research, on gun violence
    • Need research on every aspect of guns, eg: gun theft, open gun carrying, guns and alcohol, gun suicide, guns in self-defense, gun accidents etc. etc.
  • A public health approach is multi-faceted, there are many different aspects of gun violence to be addressed.
    • For example: gun violence is connected to issues of over & under-policing, as well as over incarceration à gun violence prevention can be addressed through justice reform
  • This approach is well-suited for funders because they can approach an aspect of gun violence prevention that aligns with pre-existing funding priorities
    • Foundations should be funding research the gov’t is not

Funders Focusing on Gun Violence Prevention

Kendeda Fund - David Brotherton, Communications Consultant & Advisor, Gun Violence Prevention Program

  • Funding storytelling that moves beyond tragedy reporting and other traditional frames to focus instead on points of agreement, creative solutions, and models of progress
  • Supporting emerging leaders and new voices working at the intersection of gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, racial equity, and poverty
  • Strategies:
    • Lifting up emerging voices
    • Embracing intersectionality, this work doesn’t happen in a silo
    • Growing the field of gun violence prevention
    • Using the power of story to change narrative about guns in this country

Joyce Foundation - Nina Vinik, Director, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program,

  • Funding state policy reform, research, education, and legal strategies
  • Supporting 21st Century policing to build greater police-community trust and legitimacy
  • Reducing incarceration of young people.

The Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation – Deva Hirsch, Executive Director  

  • Funding research regarding relationship between Russia and the NRA


Fund for a Safer Future – Donor Collaborative focused on gun violence reduction


How Grant Makers Can Fight Gun Violence – Now and Over the Long Haul, www.philanthropy.com/article/opinion-grant-makers-can-do/242748?cid=cpfd_home

The Trace – an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to shining a light on America's gun violence crisis


National Violent Deaths Reporting System (NVDRS) – Congress just funded in all 50 states, state-based surveillance (reporting) system that helps states understand violent deaths to focus prevention efforts


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