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Council approves funding for organizations supporting opportunity youth, violence prevention
March 20, 2024, 4:39 p.m.

KNOXVILLE - On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Knoxville City Council approved two funding requests from the Office of Community Safety and Empowerment for a total of $247,942 to support community organizations serving opportunity youth (young people at highest risk for violence) and bringing attention to youth violence and prevention methods.

Ten groups will receive $220,200 in funding from the Opportunity Youth Program to provide job opportunities and activities to young people ages 16-24 who are most at risk for violence. This program has developed since 2021 from a summer grant program into one that includes spring, summer and fall.

“The extended timeframe allows for more expansive engagement with young people and gives organizations more flexibility in when they offer programming,” says Star Starks, Partnerships & Programs Coordinator for the OCSE.

Also new this year, grant recipients will work directly with justice-involved youth as referred by Knox County Juvenile Court. This partnership serves to connect an additional number of justice-involved youth, who experience higher risks of being involved in violence, with jobs and other opportunities.

Organizations receiving Opportunity Youth Grants for Spring-Fall 2024 are:

• Battlefield Farms: $35,670
• The Bottom: $15,000
• Centro Hispano: $20,000
• Karate Five Association: $15,000
• Knoxville Area Urban League: $28,231
• KCDC Family Investment Foundation: $30,700
• Knoxville Community Media: $11,250
• My Daughters Journey: $27,100
• Two Bikes: $15,000
• The Verb Kind: $22,249

Ten groups will receive $27,742 in funding from the Youth Violence Prevention Week Microgrant program to provide programming, events, activities, resources or campaigns aimed at raising awareness and promoting the reduction of the many forms of youth violence during Youth Violence Prevention Week, April 22-26, 2024. Those groups are:

• Change Center: $3,000
• Drums Up Guns Down: $3,000
• The Edge Foundation: $3,000
• Karate Five Association: $2,050
• Knoxville Area Urban League: $3,000
• Metro Drug Coalition: $2,942
• My Daughters Journey: $1,875
• Renounce Denounce: $3,000
• Turn Up Knox: $2,875
• YWCA: $3,000

Both grant programs were competitive in process and reviewed by committees before going to staff for final approval.

Since the grant program was initiated in 2021, the City has invested nearly $629,000 in grant funding to support youth engagement activities during spring and summer months which have served nearly 1,400 youth.

The Office of Community Safety and Empowerment leads violence interruption strategies, coordinates safety innovation and collaboration among City departments, and enhances partnerships with on-the-ground people and organizations who are working to make Knoxville safer.

For more information about available grants and other activities of the Office of Community Safety and Empowerment, please visit

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