Community foundations exist to make their communities better. They bring together neighbors and partners to invest in improving the health and well-being of a place and its people – today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
The League of California Community Foundations is a statewide coalition of 32 community foundations dedicated to growing and strengthening community philanthropy.
Gun violence is a destructive epidemic that threatens every community our members serve. The damage that gun violence inflicts on individuals, families and communities across California sabotages the progress that our state’s community foundations and their nonprofit partners have driven in health, education, youth development, inclusive economic growth and more.
We understand that:
- Gun violence is a national epidemic. In the first half of 2022 the U.S. saw at least 246 mass shootings while gun violence claimed over 20,000 lives and resulted in over 17,000 injuries. Firearms are the leading cause of death for all children and teens in the U.S.
- Gun violence is a public health crisis in California. Every 3 hours, a Californian dies from a gunshot. In California, nearly 1 out of every 2 gun deaths is a suicide, and suicide attempts with a firearm have a 90% chance of death. Access to a gun increases the risk of death by suicide by four times.
- Gun violence disproportionately harms our most vulnerable neighbors. Eighty-two percent of all California gun homicide victims are Black or Latino. Nationwide, gun suicides are higher (and rising faster) in rural areas than urban ones. The rate of gun deaths of children 14 and younger rose by roughly 250% from late 2019 to late 2020. Mass shootings in the news continue to tell the story of violence driven by racism, hate and extremism.
- Gun violence is expensive. Dealing with the effects of gun violence consumes public and private resources and makes it harder for our communities to build wealth. Recent studies in six cities in California estimate a total economic cost of $2.9M – 3.2M per gun homicide with one suspect.
The League encourages local, state and federal policy makers to investigate the root causes of gun violence and enact legislation that will make our communities safer.
We are inspired by community foundations across California that are working to prevent gun violence and improve the health and safety of their neighborhoods. These projects provide support to organizations that are working on their own or with community government and coalitions to identify interventions and support an end to gun violence. The projects include:
- Ventura County Community Foundation: After the Thousand Oaks shooting of November 7, 2018 the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) set up a Conejo Valley Victims Fund, publicly shared lessons learned from supporting their community in the wake of a mass shooting, and became one of four inaugural participants in the CFLeads Gun Violence Prevention Network.
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation: The nation’s largest community foundation is one of 17 funding partners in the Hope & Heal Fund, the only state-based fund investing in a public health, racial equity, and community-based approach to preventing gun violence in California. SVCF also partnered with the Hope & Heal Fund to support a study on the cost of gun violence in San José, California.
- San Diego Foundation: In response to escalating crisis of youth violence in the region, the San Diego Foundation has launched the Youth Violence Intervention that will provide $2.5M in grants to community-based organizations providing support to at-risk youth. Funding these programs will connect youth to caring adults and activities such as mentoring and after-school programs and support the creation of protective community environments including modifying their physical and social environment as well as reducing youth exposure to community-level risks.
The League of California Community Foundations stands with our members and with our nonprofit and philanthropic peers who work every day to build a safer, healthier and more thriving future for all Californians.
- “There is No Manual.” Inside a Community Foundation’s Response to a Mass Shooting” – Ventura County Community Foundation
- Gun Violence Prevention Network – CFLeads
- To reduce gun violence, start at the local level – Cal Matters op-ed by Judy Belk and Brian Malte
- Fact sheet about gun violence in California – Hope & Heal Fund
- Philanthropy’s Response to Gun Violence and Mass Shootings – Resources to Guide Philanthropic Response – Council on Foundations