The Hear Foundation will convene events that bring police, the community, local leadership, and national experts together in meaningful ways to address the challenges of gun violence reduction, trauma, and workforce development.
Working with our community stakeholders to reach consensus on the action steps that are the right fit for our local community, The Hear Foundation will develop grantmaking programs that support initiatives addressing one or more of these pillar areas and incorporate one-to-one collaboration between residents and police.
Together, we can support change that lasts
On June 22, 2022, The Hear Foundation announced its first community microgrant projects to begin the process of healing and community-police collaboration in our neighborhoods. Made possible by the generous support of Heal America, each inaugural grant will address one or more of our three pillars: gun violence reduction, trauma, and workforce development.
Youth Summer Camps
Our first project will support youth in Pittsburgh’s underserved neighborhoods. The Hear Foundation will fund three youth summer camps: Voices Against Violence, Hope 4 Tomorrow, and Youth Enrichment Services. Each free, six-week camp provides programs on holistic care of the child, academic achievement, wellbeing, self-empowerment, and community service.
Our project will embed community engagement police officers in weekly camp programs, engaging young people in discussions on topics such as police reform, public safety concerns, careers in law enforcement, processing prior police encounters, and media portrayals of police and youth.
Additionally, Imagine Further, an organization of local experts on mental health education for youth, will join the camps for weekly sessions to help participants develop their support systems, positive coping skills, and resiliency. To facilitate these positive interactions, five young adults will be hired to serve as ambassadors accompanying officers to summer camp visits.
Perry High School Youth-Led Safety Plan
In its 2021-22 school year, following 18 months of isolation for many students due to the pandemic, Perry High School saw an escalation in fights, violence, and disruption, which led to the formation of a safety council. The Hear Foundation will support A+ Schools in the hiring of five youth this summer to develop and implement a student-focused safety ambassador program, in conjunction with a school social worker and a nonprofit leader focused on violence prevention.
The project will provide a workplace experience for safety-engaged youth who will develop a school-wide plan to create after-school safe passages, recruit student safety ambassadors, and build connections to mediate conflicts before they escalate. Pittsburgh police will participate to build relationships and introduce the concepts of relationship-based policing.
Students will have the opportunity to develop as peer leaders and will gain a platform to give input and create solutions to address safety issues in the school. Ancillary soft skills will be developed as the students learn to report for planning sessions on time, log and report hours worked, express ideas, and develop viable implementation strategies.
Center for Victims: Building Trauma and Resilience
The Hear Foundation will engage the Center for Victims to host 15 summer Healing Rivers workshops, during which they will train 150 community leaders in the science and impact of trauma, and share tools and strategies to build wellbeing and resilience.
These three-hour workshops will provide an understanding of the impacts of direct and vicarious trauma from violence, abuse, chronic adversity, toxic stress, and social inequities on children, adults, families and communities. Participants will include a mix of grassroots community leaders, including individuals such as athletic coaches and street outreach workers.
“Through our grantmaking efforts, The Hear Foundation will support local organizations that are on the ground, working directly with our youth and in our neighborhoods to make Pittsburgh a safe and thriving community for all. Funding will provide them with the resources they need to increase collaboration and position them to do great things.”
Kamal Nigam, Executive Director