CSGV Launches Initiative to Support State, Local Leaders

Nation’s Oldest Gun Violence Prevention Organization Launches Initiative to Support State, Local Leaders

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Safer States Initiative will provide funding and additional resources to strengthen gun violence prevention efforts across the country

WASHINGTON — The nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization is launching a new initiative to equip gun violence prevention leaders in states and communities across the country with the financial resources, policy expertise and capacity they need to continue to create equitable change.

The Safer States Initiative is a project of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence that will leverage decades of relationships and expertise to provide state and local organizations with funding, one-on-one coaching, partnership building opportunities, leadership and advocacy skills development, access to resources and tools developed in collaboration with the country’s leading GVP experts, and the ability to track progress and impact even when legislative victories are not yet attainable. The initiative will also advise philanthropists and foundations on how to invest in state and local gun violence efforts effectively and equitably. 

“We can’t continue to wait while Congress drags its heels on gun violence prevention legislation,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of CSGV. “Change in this country has been most meaningful and effective when it has been led by local efforts within the states. State and local organizations have secured some of the most important victories, saving lives in communities across the country, and yet they remain under-resourced and often isolated. It’s our goal to change that with the Safer States Initiative. We are looking forward to not only supporting our partners’ capacity growth, but also continuing our own equity journey in partnership with state and local organizations.”

The initiative will support leaders and organizations in their efforts to secure political victories, develop impactful policies, ensure robust implementation of those policies and build organizational infrastructure and capacity. As a part of its capacity building efforts, the initiative will work closely with state and local organizations to develop strategies to recruit and advance Black and Brown staff and board members and create equitable policies, programs and partnerships in coordination with our existing Engaging Impacted Communities program. 

“State and community-based GVP organizations are the bedrock of the movement,” said Jen Pauliukonis, CSGV’s director of policy and programming, who leads the Safer States Initiative. “As a former leader of a state-based organization, I know firsthand the power of local advocates and how the support of the Safer States Initiative can amplify that power. In Delaware, for example, we work closely with the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence through regular strategy check-ins, providing them with policy expertise relating to their legislative priorities and guidance to support the implementation of the state’s Lethal Violence Protection Order. The DECAGV secured additional funding on top of our investment and positioned themselves as the leader within the state’s GVP community, especially for policies related to handgun licensing.”

As the initiative expands beyond its pilot phase, CSGV is raising $1 million to match an incentive grant from an anonymous donor to support the initiative’s efforts to invest in and equip state and local advocates and organizations to save lives and secure strategic, evidence-informed gun violence prevention policies. 


For Immediate Release
February 19, 2021

Shannon Craig Straw
scstraw@westendstrategy.com, 202-674-5921

About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.

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