May 2022

Columbus City Council reviews success of $1.37 million safety fund grants

Courtesy of WBNS 10TV
By Kiona Dyches
May 12, 2022

Allocations for Columbus City Council 2022 Reimagining Safety Fund will be announced in the next two weeks.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About a dozen nonprofit organizations took the floor at a Columbus City Council hearing on Thursday to testify about how $1.37 million dollars is being used to keep kids off the street and combat youth violence.

The money was awarded through the city’s Reimagining Safety with Violence Prevention grants for nonprofit youth programming and anti-violence efforts, including leadership development, entrepreneurship, life skills training and job placement.

In March of 2021, Council selected ten agencies to receive the grants:

Urban Scouts: $200,000
Legacy Youth Sports League: $200,000
Africentric Personal Development Shop: $170,000
Community of Caring Development Foundation and St. Stephen’s Community House: $135,000
Community Development for All People: $90,000
Marion-Franklin Civic Association: $50,000
Columbus Urban League: $200,000
Community for New Direction: $170,000
Martin de Porres Center: $131,000
Highland Youth Garden: $25,000
Shelly Casto is the executive director of the Highland Youth Garden.

“We want to be a safe space for families to come and hang out and we have built that,” she said.

Last summer, she hired about a dozen Westside teens to help run the garden. Thanks to the $25,000 grant the nonprofit received, she said kids were able to bring home about $12,000 to their families.

The Legacy Youth Sports League was among the groups awarded the most money.

“We were able to host over 18 events inside the city with zero violence,” said Dominic Jones, director for the Legacy Youth Sports League.

The league gives Columbus-area youths a chance to play football, cheerleading, and drill league, but Jones said his mission is bigger than sports.

“We get these kids to show up here, but what other things are we feeding them, you know? That’s where the financial literacy piece has come in. That’s where you know, the active trips to see different places and do different things have come in,” Jones explained.

On Thursday, the Columbus City Council heard from dozens of organizations to plan for 2022.

“We know we’re certainly not going to police our way out of violence, and that it takes all of us to work together, whether that’s through employment programs or activities that youth can participate in. We need to work with our partner agencies and organizations to make sure that they [youth] have plenty to do,” said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.

Allocations for the 2022 Reimagining Safety Fund will be announced in the next two weeks.

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