Joyce Program Gun Violence

More than 110,000 Americans are injured or killed by guns every year, in community violence, domestic violence, mass shootings, suicide, and accidents.

A growing body of research concludes that easy access to firearms contributes to gun violence in all its forms, and the Joyce Foundation remains committed to supporting research, education, and policy solutions to limit availability of firearms to those at risk of violence.   

 In urban areas, the impact of gun violence is experienced most acutely by young people of color and their families and communities. At the same time, lack of trust between police and community members, coupled with overreliance on incarceration, further weaken communities and compromise public safety. With the goal of reducing gun violence while improving the fairness of the justice system, the Joyce Foundation expands its Gun Violence Prevention Program in 2018-2020 to encompass three strategic priorities:

  • Reducing gun violence through 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.

This program expansion is based on our assessment that in urban areas, gun violence and the justice system’s response are two sides of the same coin. Weak gun laws allow illegal guns to proliferate, causing shootings and homicides that devastate communities. But when the dominant response to gun violence is overly aggressive policing, prosecution, and sentencing, too often the tactics deployed result in additional harm to the communities already plagued by gun violence.  For communities to be safe and just, we must renew our efforts to prevent gun violence before it occurs, with a holistic approach that includes stronger gun policies, fair policing, and a justice system that minimizes incarceration of young people. The Joyce Foundation makes grants in the Great Lakes region to strengthen evidence-based public policies to promote safe and just communities in the following three areas.

Get updates on our work in Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform and other programs

Gun Violence Prevention

Multiple studies over several decades confirm that easy access to guns is a risk factor for violence. Easy access to guns increases the number of homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. It increases the risk to women abused by their partners. And young people experience the highest gun death rate of all age groups. While the overall rate of violent crime in the United States is comparable to  other developed nations, the rate of lethal violence is significantly higher in America, where people are 25 times more likely to be shot and killed. Simply put, we have many more gun deaths because we have many more guns. To reduce gun violence, we must address the easy availability of guns.

Goal

To reduce gun deaths and injuries in the Great Lakes region. 


21st Century Policing

Faced with the proliferation of illegal guns and high rates of gun-related homicides and injuries, police are on the front lines in responding to gun violence.  Departments that have the trust of their communities can work collaboratively with residents to reduce violence.  But too often, police departments use aggressive tactics in responding to the violence, including street stops, use of force, and arrests for low-level offenses. There is little or no evidence that these tactics are effective in reducing violent crime, and considerable evidence that they disproportionately harm communities of color and undermine community trust and police legitimacy. Lack of police legitimacy undermines potential collaboration between police and community members and prompts some young people to carry guns for protection. The Joyce Foundation supports projects to promote constitutional policing, improve police legitimacy and build police-community trust.  

Goal

Build police-community trust, enhance police legitimacy, and improve public safety through fair, democratic policing.


Reducing Mass Incarceration

For many years, “tough on crime” approaches have contributed to over-incarceration of communities of color, with little evidence they improve public safety. In fact, justice system involvement for young people is a risk factor for future violence. Changing policies and systems to limit justice system involvement for young people will reduce incarceration, minimize the risk of future violence, improve outcomes for young offenders, and improve community safety by focusing scarce law enforcement resources on violent offenders and those who supply them with guns.

Goal

Reduce overreliance on incarceration of young people in the Great Lakes region.


What We Fund

We focus on initiatives that make an impact on the Great Lakes region.

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How To Apply

Learn about our submission process for applying for a grant.

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Our Research & Reports

Explore our research & reports on Gun Violence Prevention. 

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