2021 Request for Proposals
Overview of an Initiative in Motion
The Children’s Service Council of Palm Beach County (CSC) increased their investment in the Glades Region in 2018 through shared leadership with the Student ACES organization. Through an RFP process, Student ACES youth, known as the Glades Student Grant-Making Association (GSGA) awarded grant dollars to support initiatives designed to improve conditions leading to a healthy, youth-centered community. WeMakeChange.org, notes, “Young people feel unheard and unrepresented in society with those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds feeling least able to challenge the problems they see…” From the Civil Rights movement to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rallies for gun control, young people have been at the forefront of social change throughout history and this initiative will endorse letting them lead community transformation. GSGA identified 3 priority areas for funding: Safety, Respect and Trust. As such, the students approved funds for school uniforms, mentoring, youth development and parent education classes.
In the midst of an international pandemic, the GSGA set out to work on year two of this initiative. This year would be different, instead of funding other people’s ideas, we would fund an agency to implement our idea. We would design community-based projects that would improve/increase, trust, respect and safety for the benefit of children and families in the Glades region. Once we identified the types of projects that could achieve these goals, we would execute a traditional procurement process. Right when we started to nail down the elements of our project, everything changed. A dear friend to so many of us in the Student ACES family, was murdered in what remains as an unsolved case. The significance of “safety” in the community became more urgent and we realized that the opportunity before us could result in a safer community, while honoring our dear friend. It would be in his name, change would occur.
That’s when it became evident that if we wanted to transform the community through grantmaking, then we had to transform grantmaking in the community. Grantmaking traditionally occurs with: (1.) funders looking at data, (2.) identifying a program that “should” work, (3.) selecting a “qualified” agency to implement the program and (4.) then residents being offered the program. In this model, typically, community members are not engaged until they are being offered a program, often one that they had no input in. We recognized if we wanted to seriously take on community violence to increase safety, it could no longer be a one-time siloed effort, we would have to bring everyone together including other segments of the population whose voices are underrepresented, just like students. It reminded our facilitator of the African Proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together!”–that’s what we’re setting out to do.
Building off of the work of the Youth Violence Prevention Program in Palm Beach County, key findings from Ceasefire in Oakland, California and Boston Uncornered we’re proposing that the funds be used to fund a community-driven process that will result in a specific set of standards and policy recommendations/demands. About a decade ago, the Annie E. Casey Foundation invested in how to understand and change a system. While this effort was focused on the early childhood system, the approach could be helpful in the Glades region.
Request for Proposals
- We know that violence is a major issue in the Glades Community. This issue became even more personal in September when a close friend to GSGA and ACE student was unjustly murdered.
Education, Lack of Jobs and Poverty
- Through our research which included personal interviews and surveying in our local communities, in addition to extensive research on similar communities around the country, we have recognized that the education system, lack of jobs and poverty correlate to violence in the community.
But we need to know how…
- How does the education system, lack of jobs and poverty play into violence in the community?
- Questions to consider: What are the schools doing or not doing that leads to violence? Why is there a lack of jobs in the Glades and how does this lead to violence? What or who is keeping the Glades from lifting themselves out of poverty and how does poverty lead to violence?
- For further guidance, please see the resource guide, GSGA Resource Guide.
And we want to create a solution!
We are not setting out to “fix” individuals, we are setting out to transform the systems that hold residents in place and by doing so, it’s our belief that all Glades residents will be better off. We are looking for a “Roadmap to a Violent Free Glades Community”.
What do you have to do?
Step 1: Define your team – Are you doing this alone or will you be creating a collaboration?
- Community Scan – Questions to consider: how much money is coming into the community, crime statistics, percentage of crime due to money, average household income, graduation rates, post-secondary success / Employment options or lack of/ where is the ice cream truck? / who are the people incarcerated that we should be speaking with and what do they want for the community?
- Engage local organizations, community members; “Whoever is closest to the issue should be part of the solution.”- For example: residents/community groups/social services /members of the faith-based community/ city officials/ police/ emergency services/ sheriff/ principals/ school board/ media/ people who have “made it” / professional athletes/ small business owners/ nurses or doctors from Lakeside/ Palms West/ St. Mary’s/ Barbers / prisoners at South Bay Correctional Facility.
Step 3: Host a roundtable community conversation with the “change-makers” in the community – from your research, who or what has to enact change for the community to become less violent, invite those people to a roundtable conversation to present your research and work together to find a solution.