Last year, Arnold Ventures and The Joyce Foundation commissioned an analysis to find out how much it would cost the government to fund research and collect data about gun violence. Their conclusion: $600 million over five years.

“We’re not talking about $10, and we’re not talking about $25 billion; this is a solvable issue,” said Asheley Van Ness, a director at Arnold Ventures who oversees gun violence research. Other donors besides the federal government could help contribute.

“Philanthropy plays a unique role in American public policy as catalysts for change, often laying a path forward that government can follow,” Van Ness said.

Responding to a jump in gun homicides in 2020, the Biden administration allowed municipalities to direct funds from the American Rescue Plan last June toward gun violence reduction strategies, including community violence intervention programs.

The administration also partnered with about a dozen foundations to build the capacity of community violence intervention programs in 15 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington and St. Louis. The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, which supports shooting victims while they’re recovering and encourages them and their relatives not to retaliate, is providing training and technical help to the initiative.

Jason Corburn, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has done evaluations for a violence interruption organization, Advance Peace, which started in Richmond, California, and now works in multiple cities across the country.

Advance Peace’s programs rely on mentors who are knowledgeable about their communities and often have been involved in and imprisoned for gun crimes. Their personal histories give them credibility with the people most likely to be involved in gun violence. But it also means that local governments can be reluctant to fund their employment.

“That’s where I think philanthropy can step in and provide that kind of support,” Corburn said.

Read the full article about the grassroots gun reform efforts by Thalia Beaty and Glenn Gamboa at Associated Press News.