Wells Fargo and GreenLight Fund Donate $1.2 Million to Alternatives to Violence Program
Cory Burkarth
$1.2 Million ATV Donation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 10, 2021) - The City of Charlotte on Tuesday accepted a $1.2 million donation from the Wells Fargo Foundation and GreenLight Fund for the Alternatives to Violence (ATV) program. At the Charlotte City Council’s business meeting, the city announced its acceptance of $1 million from the Wells Fargo Foundation, which will fund the program for the next three years and $200,000 from the GreenLight Fund, which will support capacity building and on-going program evaluation.

“Everyone in Charlotte – young and older – deserves a community free from violence,” said Michelle Lee, head of Regional Banking for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to supporting efforts and organizations like Alternatives to Violence that lift marginalized communities and communities of color, and that restore justice and advance racial equity.”

“As part of our commitment to investing in strategies that help communities become more resilient to social and environmental stressors, Wells Fargo is proud to support the City of Charlotte in its efforts to promote community and school safety, and public well-being,” said Demond Richardson, a Social Impact and Sustainability consultant with Wells Fargo. “I was born and raised on the Beatties Ford Road Corridor, so it is especially meaningful to me that we support the City of Charlotte and their Alternatives to Violence program, which is focused on decreasing all types of violence in our local community.” Richardson leads the project team responsible for identifying scalable community violence reduction program pilots.

This grant is part of a larger $10 million commitment by Wells Fargo to support nonpartisan research on violence prevention in our communities and to fund scalable pilots in communities that explore potential enhancements to school safety. The company is committed to being an engaged partner in the dialogue about enhancing community safety and looks forward to collaborating on solutions to address this issue.

“GreenLight Fund Charlotte has been exploring effective models to address violence prevention and we are incredibly proud to make this co-investment to support community safety. We believe solutions co-created with residents can be most effective and have seen the proven, measurable benefits of this program which directs resources to neighborhood residents to be their own agents of change,” said Carrie Cook, GreenLight Fund Charlotte Executive Director.

The ATV program is part of the city’s SAFE Charlotte initiative which includes violence interruption, hospital-based violence intervention and $1 million in grants to local community-based organizations. The SAFE Charlotte initiative also includes pathways to employment and affordable housing.

In partnership with Cure Violence Global, and Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), the City and Mecklenburg County will launch ATV in the Beatties Ford area.  The program will employ violence interrupters and outreach workers to work with the people who are at the highest risk for perpetrating, or becoming a victim of, violent crime, talk to them about the costs of violence and help them to obtain the social services they need such as job training and drug treatment.

Cure Violence Global’s violence interruption model is an evidence-based program that utilizes a public-health approach to address violent crime. This public health approach is founded on prevention, places community advocates in local hot spots to identify and treat high-risk individuals, detects and interrupts conflicts before they escalate and changes social norms.

YAP is administering the program through hiring a site supervisor, violence interrupters and outreach workers, all from the community.  Additionally, Cure Violence Global is providing training and technical assistance to stand up the program and ensure the right measures and ongoing training are in place for success.

“The city is working closely with the community to develop this bold new program to stop violence before it happens,” said Mayor Lyles. “I am grateful to Wells Fargo and the GreenLight Fund for their contributions to help make some of our most challenged neighborhoods safer.”

The city and county will launch the program with a community festival, QC Fest, on Saturday, August 14. The festival will serve as an opportunity for residents in the Beatties Ford Road corridor to learn more about the program and its goals and meet members of the ATV team. QC Fest is free and open to the public.

For more information about Alternatives to Violence, visit Alternatives to Violence website.