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Council approves City funds to serve at-risk youth
June 16, 2021

KNOXVILLE - Tuesday night, City Council approved $199,979.47 in grant funding to provide summer programs and job opportunities to young people who are at risk for gun violence.

The City will award the grant funding to 13 local agencies to serve approximately 634 young people ages 12-20 between June and September. The Summer Youth Violence Prevention Small Grants Program, a.k.a. Opportunity Youth grants, is a pilot program launched in response to immediate needs for creating safe, healthy, hopeful communities. The nearly $200,000 allocated through this grants program is a portion of the $1 million in emergency violence-interruption funding commitment made by Mayor Kincannon and City Council in February 2021.

“Engaging young people over the summer months with productive activities when they’re not in school or working is critical to reducing their risks of being involved with making bad decisions,” says Community Engagement Manager Kathy Mack, who will oversee the agreements with the recipient agencies. “I’m excited to see the creative and diverse ways these agencies work with young people and help them reach their full potential.”

Groups receiving allocations from the pilot grants program:

• The Bottom: $17,840

• Safe Haven: $11,380

• Canvas Can Do Miracles: $15,336

• YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley: $19,886

• Battlefield Farms: $8,437.48

• Penultimate Development: $20,000

• Drums Up Guns Down: $20,000

• The 5th Woman: $6,500

• Sols Write House: $20,000

• SEEED Knox: $20,000

• Karate Five Association: $13,533.33

• MCA Sports Association: $13,533.33

• Mynark Tribe: $13,533.33

All agencies are 501c3 nonprofit organizations or have fiscal sponsors.

Grant recipients are required to spend their allocated funding amounts between June and September 2021 on qualifying expenses including: stipends or wages; materials, supplies or fees; and/or supportive services like transportation, uniforms or specialized training.

The Opportunity Youth grants program was announced on May 19, and applications were due June 1.

A volunteer committee assisted Community Empowerment staff in reviewing grant applications and determining award amounts. Members include Reico Hopewell, Executive Director of the Mend House Sober Living Community for Men; Landon Dave, Mesa Airlines pilot and member of the Tennessee Army National Guard; Emma Ellis Cosigua, member of the Neighborhood Advisory Council; and Mayor’s Youth Council member Molly Crawford.

“The selection committee members have a wide range of experiences and service to the Knoxville community,” says Mack. “They brought a diversity of perspectives about how we can support organizations working to reduce violence.”

For more information about the Opportunity Youth grant program and other Community Empowerment initiatives and activities, including the Mayor’s Youth Council, visit

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