COuRSE (Community Outreach for Resilience, Safety & Equity) Community Change Initiative

The Challenge

Everyone deserves to live in a safe, just, community where they can grow and contribute. Childhood exposure to violence and the structural inequities that drive violence, disproportionately shorten brown and black lives due to death, disease, disability or incarceration, crippling hope and stifling economic prosperity. Urban residents worried about crime and violence want to be safe without enduring widespread over-policing, police impunity, and mass incarceration of youth and communities of color. Yet reform efforts often problematize citizens and fail to leverage community assets to drive solutions.

Our Solution

The COuRSE (Community Outreach for Resilience, Safety & Equity) Community Change Initiative will build the capacity of residents to reduce structural drivers of violence, heal, and build equitable paths to safety and prosperity through collective action with government and private sector partners.


Our Path to Impact

Crime, safety, and victimization are part and parcel of the impact of concentrated racial inequity. COuRSE communities will interrupt this cycle and secure equitable futures for residents using a neighborhood-led violence prevention approach working in collective partnership with urban governments. Existing neighborhood-based urban nonprofits will serve as community safety and development hubs, working with government and private sector partners, to deploy evidence-based health, workforce, housing, and violence prevention outreach practices by professionally compensated and trained residents to address the structural roots of community-based violence.

To make the strategy scalable, a nationally coordinated network of locally based Community Solutions Institutes (CSI) will build organizational capacity and expertise in and across the hubs. The CSI will offer certificate-level training on effective outreach strategies, collective impact, monitoring and evaluation, racial reconciliation and healing, private investment to fund social impact, and specialized training by site. Each COuRSE community will receive financial and best practice resources to train and support residents in evidence-based outreach strategies to engage those responsible for violence in prevention programming, increase housing stability and access to healthcare, education and employment.

By addressing chronic, structural drivers of violence, alongside the acute incidents of violence and those responsible for violent crime, COuRSE communities will stem the tide of violence before it begins while reducing repeat acts of violence and the over policing and mass incarceration that results from law enforcement driven responses to violence. COuRSE communities will fundamentally alter the relationship between residents and police, reduce over-policing, replace police-led responses in some instances, provide residents, including those who are justice-involved, with professional pathways to build wealth, and redefine how urban neighborhoods create shared community working collectively with local government and private sector investment in social impact.

COuRSE will be demonstrated in four urban places in the US, Mexico City and the Northern Triangle of Central America where violence and inequality are the most persistent and severe in the world.

View full-page infographic (PDF).

The Partnership

The structure and intent of our partnership reflects the collaborative effect we envision for this project, where the goals of each unique contributor align to produce collective impact.

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) will use its experience with systems change to facilitate high-functioning partnerships across all aspects of COuRSE, supporting communities to achieve their goals. AIR’s urban violence prevention expertise in the US and Latin America is driven by improving the wellbeing of those threatened by bias, discrimination, and violence.

As a career pathway capacity-building partner within the Community Solutions Institute, JustLeadershipUSA brings the expertise and lived-experiences of directly-impacted people to help educate, elevate, and empower communities most impacted by systemic oppression to drive transformative policy changes that build thriving, sustainable, and healthy communities.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will lead the Community Solutions Institute supporting each COuRSE community. LISC works to aggressively tackle the racial and economic inequities that undergird community-based violence and works holistically to address the interconnected factors that drive inequality of opportunity.

WestEd will bring its deep commitment to equity and inclusion to the COuRSE evaluation. Participatory approaches will invite communities to the center of the evaluation using methods sensitive to measuring the complex causal pathways from planning to action to impact.

TCC Group’s (TCCG) commitment to social justice, diversity, and inclusion informs every aspect of its work. As the capacity building lead for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) in each Hub, TCCG will work with COuRSE communities to address systemic inequities that fuel violence.

Patricia Campie
Principal Researcher