--Printer-friendly version--





This report highlights the accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned from TCWF's Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI or Initiative) during the period 1992-2003.

When the Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) decided that violence prevention would be the first grantmaking program of the newly established Foundation, violence in the United States had reached epidemic proportions. The juvenile arrest rate for homicide more than doubled between 1984 and 1993 (Hawkins et al., 1998). In those years, homicide was a leading cause of death of all young people under 24 years of age, and disproportionately impacted youth of color. During this same period, the murder rate was reaching epidemic portions among young men. In 1991, murders peaked when nearly 25,000 Americans were killed, and California led the nation with close to 4,000 homicides. The impact was felt most profoundly in low-income communities of color, where there was a prevailing sense of insecurity, fear and malaise that resulted from the devastating toll of violence.

Shortly after the Foundation was established, a convening of a group of experts, six focus groups of clinicians, and community residents was held to prioritize health issues amenable to prevention in California. Six white papers were commissioned and presented to the Board of Directors. One of the papers, authored by staff at the Trauma Foundation, was on the issue of violence prevention. The Board decided to make violence prevention the focus of the Foundationís first initiative to improve the health and well-being of Californians. Strategies and interventions that had been utilized by public health practitioners to reduce death from disease and unintentional injury were to be modified and adapted to help prevent violence in California. Because youth were disproportionately represented both as perpetrators and victims of violence, the Foundation focused its efforts on young people between the ages of 12 and 24, and the overall goal of the Violence Prevention Initiative was to reduce violence against youth in California. In October 1992, the Board of Directors authorized the VPI, a grantmaking program of $60 million over 10 years. Recognizing the complexity and depth of the issue, a comprehensive, multifaceted grantmaking program was designed.

Eight other California foundations, the James Irvine Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, S.H. Cowell Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Crail-Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, provided an additional $10 million for the implementation of the VPI.


All rights reserved. Property of The California Wellness Foundation.
©2003 The California Wellness Foundation. Phone: (818) 702-1900.
6320 Canoga Avenue, Suite 1700, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Comments to the Webmaster at tcwf@tcwf.org