MAPC’s Metro Mayors Coalition has received the Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Grant to prevent youth and gang violence for the 11th consecutive year. On Tuesday, Jan. 10, in a ceremony at the grand staircase of the Massachusetts State House, Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Safety and Security Dan Bennett announced that $5.7 million in grant funds would be awarded to 15 communities and 11 research partners, one of which is the Metro Mayors Shannon Grant Community Safety Initiative (CSI).
The grant honors Senator Charles Shannon, a Massachusetts state senator who represented the Second Middlesex district from 1991 until 2005. He served as a police officer for 20 years and, during his time in the Senate, worked to diminish gang violence in Somerville. After his death, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security began administering the Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative, a grant program that supports “regional and multi-disciplinary approaches to combat gang violence through coordinated programs for prevention and intervention.”
“Shannon Grants support critical programming that provide education, training and employment direction for young people at risk of becoming involved in youth violence or gang activity,” said Governor Baker at the grant announcement. “Our partnership with cities and local organizations enables crucial outreach to vulnerable youth, diverting them away from gangs and towards positive and productive futures.”
After a competitive grant process in which MAPC submitted a comprehensive plan to provide a coordinated prevention strategy, the Metro Mayors Coalition received over $335,000 this year to continue its work. The coalition is a partnership of 14 communities in the Greater Boston area that addresses common problems and promotes local cooperation. The Metro Mayors CSI was established in 2006 by MAPC to combat youth and gang violence in eight of these communities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop. MAPC is the site manager for the program, which is comprised of eight law enforcement partners and 10 prevention partners in these cities and towns.
Prevention and law enforcement partners work with communities to fund programming that serves thousands of youth, including a Community Safety Summit, an annual basketball tournament and the Shannon Day on the Hill, which brings together program youth with police chiefs, legislators and municipal officers. Other initiatives funded by the grant include out-of-school activities and GED and job placement programs. The Shannon Grant also funds the Metro Gang Task Force, which is comprised of a group of law enforcement personnel who work together to patrol the region’s hot spots and establish dialogues with young people.
Speakers at the award announcement included Boston Police Department Commissioner William B. Evans, Shannon youth, and MAPC Executive Director Marc Draisen.
“We are thrilled to continue working in collaboration with law enforcement and community groups to support at-risk youth in the Metro Mayors communities,” Draisen said. “We thank Governor Baker and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for their ongoing support of this important program to prevent youth violence and crime.”
MAPC looks forward to serving as the site manager for the Metro Mayors Shannon CSI for 2017. If you would like to learn more about the work of the Community Safety Initiative or the Coalition, please contact Shannon Grant Manager Christine Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Metro Mayors Coalition site.