Press Release
Domestic Violence  poster

Grant Funding Available for Youth-Violence Prevention Efforts

The City’s Office of Community Safety announces micro-grant programs to support the efforts of local nonprofit and community groups that are working to prevent, interrupt and reduce youth violence in Knoxville.

“The City understands the importance of reaching young people who are most likely to be involved in violence,” says Chief Community Safety Officer LaKenya Middlebrook. “We can all work together to bring awareness to youth violence.”

These 2023 grant programs will build upon the success of youth programs completed earlier this year.

The Spring Break Opportunity Youth Micro-Grant program supports engagement activities and job opportunities for young people during Knox County Schools’ spring break, March 13-17, 2023.

Qualifying applications will be for activities that engage or employ young people between ages 14 and 19 who are “opportunity youth” — young people who are at the highest risk of becoming victims of, or committing, violent crime due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Disconnected from school, work or consistent participation in community-based programs/services

  • Member of, or associated with, an active crew/group/gang

  • Juvenile or criminal system involvement

  • Victim of violent crime

  • Has a close friend or family member who was shot in the last year

  • Parent is incarcerated

The Youth Violence Prevention Week Micro-Grant program supports efforts that increase awareness about the impact of youth violence during National Youth Violence Prevention Week, April 24-28, 2023. Funded activities may engage youth, adults and/or the community at large. This year’s Youth Violence Prevention Week activities supported eight organizations’ engagement with approximately 738 individuals — including youth, their parents, and other community members.

During Spring Break 2022, nine organizations utilized $24,648 in City grant funds to serve 120 young people, 114 of whom are opportunity youth. Nearly 60 percent of those youth reported being disconnected from school, work or community organizations; 27 percent reported having a close friend or family member who had been shot within the last year.

“Connecting high-risk youth to jobs and meaningful activities has been shown to reduce poverty and increase engagement – both factors that lead to better outcomes,” Middlebrook said.
After spring break, participating youth transitioned into after-school programming or employment, continuing to keep them engaged in programs during the school year.

Application deadlines are Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, for the Spring Break grant program and Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, for the Youth Violence Prevention Week grant program.

In this competitive grant process, some applications may not be funded, and some may be only partially funded. Awards will range between $500 and $3,000. Post-project reports, including number and demographics of opportunity youth served and impact of programming, will be required at the end of the grant cycle.

Application forms, program guidelines and budget worksheets are available at and If you have questions, call Mustafa Ali-Smith at 865-215-4429 or LaKenya Middlebrook at 865-215-3155.