Crime Prevention Grant applicants sought

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In a program beset with controversy, changing priorities and unverifiable impacts, the city of Indianapolis and its partner have announced a revamped application and vetting process for the distribution of community crime prevention grants.

Since its inception by Mayor Greg Ballard in 2009, community grants have poured nearly $10 million of taxpayer money into organizations on the community front lines of fighting crime.

Unfortunately, that money has not always been well accounted for, appropriately distributed or audited for effectiveness. Now, the city’s new partner in distributing community crime prevention grants, The Central Indiana Community Foundation, will announce Monday its new application and vetting schedule for awarding grant money for the 2013-2014 funding year.

$2 million is at stake in grants ranging from $5000 to $100,000 “to support community-based organization that can demonstrate community impact.”

The CICF promises it has established an application and vetting process that is, “transparent and holistic,” and undertaken a, “listening tour,” to engage community non-profit organizations.

The Foundation will seek applications for programs that focus on preventing violent crime, providing intervention or prevention services, improving neighborhood safety and partnering with public agencies.

Those programs would demonstrate success in preventing crime or working with law enforcement to stop or curb such crime, providing training in job skills, housing and reducing recidivism, supporting foster care or suspended youth and adults struggling with substance abuse or mental illness and focusing on specific neighborhoods or crime-ridden zip codes.

Non-profit applicants will need to demonstrate an ability to account for the financial aspects of their grant, support their application with data and demonstrate their ability to collaborate with other agencies to expand the impact of their award.

Applications will be accepted through July 31st with grants awarded in mid-September.

While some potential applicants, city county councilors and public safety officials admit that this new process does not provide funding to local organizations until after the crucial summer months have passed, it is hoped that the CICF approach will lead to more accountability and clearer expectations as well as a more integrated spending plan.

In the meantime, other programs, such as $2.3 million awarded through the Summer Youth Program Fund, are expected to fill some of the gap until the crime prevention grant funds are made available this fall.

Groups seeking more information about the application and requirements process are urged to visit www.cicf.org.