KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville leaders are standing together to empower community members to support families and prevent violence in East Knoxville.
The United Way of Greater Knoxville announced a new fund to provide resources to the East Knoxville community after several teens lost their lives due to gun violence. The funds will be used to support nonprofit organizations directed by Black communities and people of color working to interrupt cycles of violence and enrich families.
The fund will start with a balance of $200,000 and will continue to grow, according to officials. Community leaders in East Knoxville will act as decision-makers in the grant-making process. They will name the fund, determine how to administer money and where it should go to support the community.
“Like many individuals here in Knoxville, our organization has been in mourning for families who have lost children in recent incidents of gun violence," said Matt Ryerson, the United Way of Greater Knoxville president. "We have been looking for answers to very complex questions."
The nonprofit organization contributed $100,000 to the fund, with additional support from the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Both contributed $50,000 to support the East Knoxville community.
“This collaborative fund is a great way to support even more organizations that are already on the ground connecting with our young people,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “We all must continue to ask ourselves: how can we help our children feel safe and support violence prevention efforts in our City? This is another step in the right direction.”
Anyone can contribute to the fund online, through the United Way of Greater Knoxville's website.
“Overall, our goal is to support nonprofits who work with, nurture, encourage, and support our incredibly resilient but underserved youth,” says Ryerson. “By partnering with the leaders and community stakeholders who know these neighborhoods best, we can ensure that our resources are meeting the needs of the community.”