Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno EOC) has been awarded a substantial grant of $2 million from the Office of Justice Programs Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative. This significant funding will allow the expansion of efforts to reduce gun violence and enhance community safety in Fresno.
Emilia Reyes, CEO of Fresno EOC, expressed immense gratitude for the federal funds awarded, emphasizing the profound impact gun violence has on individuals, families, and communities. Reyes stated, “Gun violence doesn’t just affect one person, it impacts families and our entire community. Advance Peace Fresno Neighborhood Change Agents are doing the groundwork and giving intensive care to individuals at the center of conflict to end gun violence.”
The allocated funding will be directed toward the Fresno EOC’s Advance Peace Fresno program. This community-based initiative focuses on implementing a public health and safety strategy to transform lives and create healthier, safer, and more just communities. The primary objective is to break the cycle of retaliatory gun violence in urban neighborhoods and foster peaceful conflict resolution through mentorship and counseling.
Aaron Foster, a member of Advance Peace Fresno, spoke passionately about the personal motivation behind this initiative, stemming from the tragic loss of his children to gun violence. Foster emphasized, “No one should have to bury a child, and I have had to do that not once, but twice. After losing my children to gun violence, I knew I had to do something. It is my mission and the goal of Advance Peace Fresno to end gun violence in our community.”
A recent report by UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and Center for Global Healthy Cities highlighted the effectiveness of Advance Peace Fresno. The report indicated a 40% reduction in gun-related incidents in Southwest Fresno in 2022 during the fellowship with Advance Peace Fresno.
The program is made possible through funding from Fresno EOC, grants, and support from the City of Fresno. Chief Paco Balderrama of the Fresno Police Department commended Fresno EOC and emphasized the pivotal role of violence intervention programs in preventing and reducing violence in communities.
Mayor Jerry Dyer of the City of Fresno also praised the efforts of Advance Peace and other community-based organizations and recognized the substantial reductions in shootings and homicides within the city. He emphasized that the grant funding will significantly contribute to making the community safer.
With this grant, Advance Peace Fresno will work towards reimagining community safety through strong preventative measures, empowering those impacted by gun violence. Fresno EOC, as one of the nation’s largest community action agencies, is committed to leveraging over 30 programs to combat poverty, with Advance Peace Fresno as a crucial component of their strategic plan, particularly focusing on community safety. The goal is to transform lives and work towards ending poverty in the region. For more information on Advance Peace click here, you can also access the full report and infographic here.