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Whitney/Strong Receives $85,200 Grant from Jewish Heritage Fund to Study Impacts of Gun Violence on Community

Largest Grant to Date as W/S Partners With University of Louisville to Study Impact of Gun Violence

Whitney/Strong,a non-profit focused on responsible gun ownership and finding common ground solutions to end gun violence, announced on Monday, March 14 the organization’s largest grant to date - an $85,200 grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund. The grant will allow Whitney/Strong to partner with the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences’ (UofL SPHIS) Youth Violence Prevention Research Center, a CDC-funded center based in the school, along with the Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. The organizations will work together to research long-term economic costs of gun violence. 

“We are thrilled and honored that the Jewish Heritage Fund has trusted us to spearhead this important study,” said Whitney Austin,founder of Whitney/Strong and survivor of gun violence. “Gun violence does more than harm individuals and families; each and every act of gun violence has an effect on entire communities in ways we’re only now beginning to understand. Our hope is to better recognize those effects and help spur action that, ultimately, can save lives.” 

While other studies have been conducted to quantify the cost of gun violence to taxpayers and governments, Whitney/Strong’s study aims to provide a more in-depth view of the economic impacts of specific incidents of gun violence, the resulting impact on youth, and how investment in gun violence prevention can increase tax revenue and family wealth in high-violence areas, while also increasing protective factors for healthy youth development. Whitney/Strong hopes to share the completed results of the study by the end of 2022. 

"Gun violence is a tragic product of structural violence ingrained in our community's historical and current context. We are hopeful that a clear, data-driven illustration of the far-reaching economic costs of gun violence will help build political will to address the structures underlying the violence in Louisville,” said Monique Williams, faculty member in the UofL SPHIS Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

This study marks a major step for Whitney/Strong in meeting one of the non-profit organization’s strategic goals - funding research to find evidence-based steps to reverse the pervasiveness of gun violence. While Whitney/Strong has provided some past funding capital for research into gun violence, this marks the most significant research funding to date. Whitney/Strong’s other strategic goals, promoting bipartisan legislation and creating data-driven educational opportunities, will only benefit from this important work.

“With record gun violence in Louisville, year after year, we need to have a better understanding of just what our city is giving up by not tackling this issue,” Austin said. “I’m eager to get this study underway so we can better see that preventing gun violence is not a problem for one neighborhood or just an issue for our city government. Gun violence is devastating to every facet of our community’s health - physical, mental and economic - and understanding the extent of that harm will bring us one step closer to preventing more suffering.”

To learn more about Whitney/Strong please visitwww.WhitneyStrong.org

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