Building Safe and Just Communities in the Great Lakes Region

The information on this page has been updated to reflect our 2021-2025 grant making approach.

For more than 25 years, the Joyce Foundation has been committed to supporting research, education, and policy solutions to reduce gun violence and help make communities safer. Our three-part strategy focuses on gun violence prevention, justice system reform and a new focus area of violence intervention.

Gun Violence Prevention

Research confirms that easy access to guns is a risk factor for violence, and more specifically, that easy access to guns increases the risk of homicide, suicide and accidental shootings. The availability of guns increases the risk to women who are abused by their partners, leads to more deadly encounters between police and community members, and contributes to the threat of violent extremism. Nationally, young people experience the highest gun death rate of all age groups, and Black and brown communities suffer a disproportionate impact from gun homicides and non-fatal shootings. Compared to other developed nations, this rate of lethal gun violence is significantly higher in the United States. Reducing all forms of gun violence requires reducing the easy availability of guns.

Goal

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


Objectives

Justice System Reform

The Joyce Foundation’s approach to criminal justice system reform seeks to redefine the standard responses to gun crime of aggressive policing, arrests, and incarceration of young adults who commit non-violent gun offenses. These responses have contributed to serious harms in the same communities that struggle with high rates of gun violence, including police shootings, the absence of trust in and legitimacy of the criminal legal system, and mass incarceration of young men of color. Police have an important role to play in investigating and preventing violent crime, especially gun violence, but in many places that role is compromised by lack of trust, leading to low clearance rates for homicides and shootings, and neighborhoods where carrying a gun is seen as necessary for protection – all of which contribute to a vicious cycle of violence. The Foundation works to reform policing and the broader justice system by building police-community trust and legitimacy, reducing the use of force by police officers, and increasing police accountability; and by developing alternatives to arrest and incarceration for young people who commit nonviolent gun offenses.We also work to develop alternatives to arrest and incarceration for young people who commit non-violent gun offenses, and to reimagine public safety.

Goal

To reduce the harms and racial disparities in the criminal justice system’s response to gun violence


Objectives

Violence Intervention

When an individual is victimized by gun violence, it increases the likelihood that they will be victimized again and/or become a perpetrator of gun violence themselves, starting a cycle of violence and justice system involvement. In recent years, some states and cities have deployed evidence-informed and targeted community-based violence intervention strategies in an attempt to break this cycle of violence. These strategies include focused deterrence, cognitive behavioral therapy, hospital-based intervention, and street outreach - all designed to minimize justice system involvement for young people and reduce gun violence in struggling neighborhoods.

The Violence Intervention focus area is new to the program, sitting at the intersection of gun violence prevention and justice reform and complementing the strategies and priorities of these focus areas.

Goal

To advance the policy and practice of violence intervention


Objectives

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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Research & Reports

Explore our research & reports on Gun Violence Prevention.

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