City of Chicago, Cook County and State of Illinois Partner to Support Community-Based Approaches to Safety

July 8, 2024

Government Alliance for Safe Communities Launches Website to Increase Access to Grants and Capacity-Building Resources

Elena Ivanova, Public Information Officer:

CHICAGO - The Government Alliance for Safe Communities (GASC) is an unprecedented partnership between the State of Illinois, Cook County and the City of Chicago to strengthen the community safety ecosystem in the greater Chicago region. Today, GASC leaders announce the launch of a new website,, designed to share information on government investments in community safety, and provide a central hub for community-based organizations to explore grant opportunities and access capacity building resources.

“I'm thankful for this intergovernmental partnership, which is working to reduce community violence in our most impacted communities," said Quiwana Bell, IDHS Assistant Secretary Designate, Office of Firearm Violence Prevention. "At IDHS, we remain committed to advancing community safety, and this new website will ensure that violence prevention resources are accessible and available to everyone."

Comprised of leadership and key representatives from funding agencies at the State, County and City, the GASC was established in 2021 to maximize the impact of federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding coming to the greater Chicago region. Since then, the GASC has successfully stewarded a historic level of investment of nearly $350 million in public funding for community safety. It has engaged key partners in research and philanthropy and is collaboratively developing sustainability strategies to fund community safety initiatives beyond ARPA.

“Along with our partners, we recognize that active coordination, collaboration, and communication are critical to effectively and sustainably increase community safety in local communities," said Lanetta Haynes Turner, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Cook County Board President. "It is essential that we take a regional approach as the drivers and impacts of community violence extend beyond municipal lines. Our work began with an unprecedented level of consistent intergovernmental collaboration that continues as we develop strategic partnerships and long-term sustainability plans."

Over the last three years, GASC stakeholders have met continuously to coordinate and streamline grantmaking processes, align on data collection and evaluation, and increase access to capacity building resources for community-based organizations working on the ground to build safer communities. To further support these organizations, the GASC has launched the Capacity Building Resource Library, a central hub designed to help organizations apply for regional funding opportunities and navigate the grant process. The library provides resources in three categories:

  • Grant Readiness: Preparing to apply for a grant, including grant writing, program design, understanding application requirements, and using application portals.
  • Grant Administration: Meeting the technical requirements of government grants, such as compliance, budgeting, reporting, and managing subcontractors.
  • Program Implementation and Performance: Successfully putting a program into action, including setting program metrics, outcomes, goals, and targets, and conducting data collection and evaluation.

“Capacity building is crucial for providing historically disinvested communities access to the resources they need to thrive. Many small organizations need more capacity support and education to apply for and manage grant funds, said Delrice Adams, Executive Director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. “Last year, ICJIA launched capacity-building hub, Institute to Innovate (i2i). i2i offers technical assistance to small community-based and grassroots organizations committed to preventing violence in their communities.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of gun violence have remained elevated nationwide, including in Illinois. Despite this trend, there have been some promising reductions in rates of community violence over the past two years, with overall homicides in Cook County down by more than 20% from their peak in 2021. However, GASC leaders continue to actively collaborate, emphasizing the ongoing need for commitment, partnership and investment to expand access to resources and ensure sustained progress towards achieving and sustaining community safety goals.

"We are committed to centering community-based approaches to ensure lasting safety and peace. By focusing on both immediate and root causes of violence, and with strong partnerships across all levels of government and community organizations, we are building a unified response to the gun violence crisis,” said Deputy Mayor of Community Safety Garien Gatewood. “Together, we will continue to support and invest in public health violence intervention programs to create safer neighborhoods for all."

For more information on the GASC, visit


The Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFVP) under the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) was created in 2021 as a result of the Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA) which structured a comprehensive response to the public health emergency of firearm violence in Illinois. Under the RPSA, OFVP increases community capacity to address the root causes of violence through funding, street outreach, case management and victim services, and youth development programs.

Contact: IDHS Press -

Cook County Office of the President: Cook County is the second largest county in the United States representing 5.2 million residents in Illinois. The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Cook County and oversees the Offices Under the President and presides as president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Contact: Nick Mathiowdis, Press Secretary -

Cook County Justice Advisory Council: The Cook County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) coordinates and implements Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's criminal and juvenile justice reform efforts and community-safety policy development. The mission of the JAC is to promote equitable, human-centered, community-driven justice system innovation and practice through rigorous stakeholder engagement, policy work, service coordination, and grantmaking that increases community safety and reduces reliance on incarceration.

Contact: Laura Grossman, Public Information Officer -

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) is a state agency dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice. ICJIA brings together key justice system leaders and the public to identify critical criminal justice system issues and to propose and evaluate policies, programs, and legislation that address those issues. The statutory responsibilities of ICJIA fall under the categories of grants administration, research and analysis, policy and planning, and technology.

Contact: Cristin Evans, Public Information Officer -

The Mayor's Office of Community Safety (MOCS) is committed to investing intentionally in people and communities through the full force of government and a community-driven approach. It was established by Mayor Brandon Johnson to systemically promote community safety by addressing root causes and rapidly response to specific community safety challenges through trauma-informed and community-based interventions. In December 2023, MOCS launched the People's Plan for Community Safety, which addresses both the immediate and root causes of violence, focusing on high-opportunity neighborhoods and those most acutely impacted.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), through its Office of Violence Prevention and Community Safety Coordination Center, supports the implementation of the People's Plan for Community Safety. This includes investments in street outreach, victim support, and intervention services. CDPH also works to improve city coordination strategies and response methods that address root causes such as trauma, community blight, and lack of opportunities.

Contact: Elena Ivanova, Public Information Officer -