By 1990, interpersonal violence had become the leading cause of death in America for young people between the ages of 16-24 years of age. In response to the effect of escalating violence on the lives of children and families across the nation, David Nee of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and Luba Lynch of the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation convened a series of meetings with private foundations in the fall of 1992. These meetings culminated in the development of a national conference on violence prevention as a first step toward organizing a philanthropic response . On June 21-22, 1993, over 160 grantmakers from across the nation met at the National Leadership Conference for Grantmakers on Violence Prevention in New York City. A briefing paper, Grantmaking in the Field of Violence Prevention 1988-1992 [PDF], was prepared in conjunction with the conference to map the landscape of funding patterns on the issues.

Following the landmark conference, a caucus of more than 40 funders came together to create an action agenda for philanthropy. Two major themes emerged as organizing focal points to move the field forward: 1) a call to organize a violence prevention movement in the United States, and 2) a general proposal to create a funding collaborative. A Working Group was convened to develop an agenda, priorities, and mechanism for establishing a national public/private collaborative on violence prevention. The group designed a plan that called for grantmakers to join forces with other stakeholders to guide a national effort that would help advance the still nascent field of violence prevention. As a result, the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention (NFCVP) was formally established in 1994 to address violence and its related social problems through coordinated strategic action.

The NFCVP was to be a catalytic force created to nurture a national violence prevention movement through advocacy and public awareness with a focus on prevention. In May of 1995, after an exhaustive search for candidates, Linda Bowen was hired as the Executive Director. Shortly thereafter a national office was opened in Washington, D.C. and the organization became a 501(c)3. The NFCVP was also envisioned as a model learning partnership among foundations, federal government agencies, experts in violence prevention and related disciplines, and community. More than two dozen foundations and two federal government agencies pooled their financial resources with a two-pronged goal: 1) stimulate a national violence prevention movement; and 2) provide grant and technical support for twelve violence prevention demonstration collaboratives in diverse metropolitan, suburban, rural, and town community settings.

The NFCVP leveraged funds from national and local sources to provide grants, technical assistance, evaluation, and administration support for twelve demonstration communities in California (2), Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington D.C. At the local level, the community collaboratives brought together a wide range of resources and key stakeholders to craft action plans to guide communities in fostering safe, nurturing environments for children and families. Entering 2005, ICP embarked on a period of internal reflection in order to assimilate the learning of the first eight years of demonstration, evaluation, advocacy, and research into all aspects of its organizational theory and practice. From the outset, the inherent ingenuity of communities in action has informed the development of ICP’s guiding values and strategic framework for fulfilling its national mission. Through demonstration work in urban, suburban, and rural areas ICP learned that communities universally wanted more than the sole prevention of violence. Ultimately, the desired outcome was creating communities capable of sustaining peace and wellbeing. Therefore, the organization’s name was changed in 2004 to reflect a broader mission focused on promoting community peace.

There have been several milestones in ICP’s evolution most aptly reflected in the focus of its discovery projects, evolving program focus, capacity building framework, and research. By 2005, ICP had built on its own experience and best practice in the field to identify six core competencies communities need to promote peace: Engagement and Mobilization; Collaboration; Sustainability; Comprehensive analysis of community conditions; Program planning, management and evaluation; and understanding the relationships among race, power and peace. These core competencies make up the theory of change around which ICP designed its ground-breaking curricula, the Immersion Trainings, a central offering of the national capacity building program. Another contribution to best practice in primary violence prevention, The Developmental Stages of Community Peace [PDF], is a framework, which delineates the themes, activities and benchmarks that communities engage as they work long term on addressing the structural causes of violence. This developmental trajectory rather than being specific to violence prevention marks the path that communities take in engaging any social issue.

Since 2006, the core framework for the Institute for Community Peace body of work revolves around three process driven areas: Discovery -- partnering with diverse communities, local stakeholders, and funders on demonstration to advance sustainable community change; Cultivation -- work nationally to build the capacity and leadership of community residents, practitioners, policymakers and funders through training and technical assistance to advance the field; and Transformation --to inform and stimulate the development of social norms, policies, and practices (structures) to support the creation of sustained healthy community.

ICP’s present work, Structures & Change promotes the belief that building healthy and sustainable communities requires transforming the structural causes of social problems. ICP’s body of research reveals that cultural schemas, modes of power, and resources supported in society by networks and boundaries, form the elements of a structure that determine privilege or disparity. Accordingly, the full cadre of programs, expertise, on-going discovery, research, and advocacy is geared towards preparing change agents to engage in structural change at the community level and transformative social change nationally.

The following individuals were involved in the planning for this first conference: Aixa Beauchamp of The New York Community Trust; Gloria Primm Brown of the Carnegie Corporation of NY; Luba Lynch(Co-Chair) of the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation; Janice Molnar of The Ford Foundation; David Nee(Co-Chair) of the William C. Graustein Memorial Fund; Margaret Petruska of the Howard Heinz Endowment; Christine Robinson of the Pew Charitable Trusts; Lonnie R. Sherrod of the William T. Grant Foundation; and Judith G. Simpson of The George Gund Foundation.
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