Nonviolence Institute receives $500K grant to help curb gun violence in R.I.

PROVIDENCE – The Nonviolence Institute has received a $500,000 grant from two nonprofits and Brown University to help curb the rise of gun violence in the state.

Brown, the Rhode Island Foundation and the Partnership for Rhode Island announced the grant on Thursday. The Nonviolence Institute has members working in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls to understand the dynamics of violence and support young people to make better choices.

The grant follows recent surges of gun violence in the Ocean State. Brown said the number of gun violence victims in Providence more than doubled in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gun-related incidents have continued into 2021.

“This contribution will enable us to continue to support local communities, strengthen program capacity, support staff resilience and wellness, and develop management capacity,” Nonviolence Institute Executive Director Cedric Huntley said in a statement Thursday. “We appreciate the generous recognition of the value of the Nonviolence Institute’s work in the Rhode Island community.”

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Brown President Christina H. Paxson said gun violence is one of the more urgent public health crises and reducing deaths and injuries will take collaboration across communities, new policies and academic study to test new solutions. Rhode Island Foundation CEO and President Neil D. Steinberg said investing in the Nonviolence Institute’s work will preserve “the potential of a generation of young people facing challenges most of us can’t imagine.”

“The Nonviolence Institute knows these neighborhoods, their residents and how to defuse the problems that lead to deadly violence. By supporting them, we’re investing in the future of families in our community,” Steinberg said.

Educated, healthy and safe communities are the bedrock of a growing city and a thriving economy, said Partnership for Rhode Island Executive Director Tom Giordano. He noted that there is no more important investment than ensuring all Rhode Islanders “live free of fear and abound with opportunities.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.