COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A dozen non-profit agencies in Colorado Springs will receive their share of $1.2 million in state grant funding through the Transforming Safety Initiative. The program was created by state lawmakers in 2018 and aims to reduce crime by working to eliminate some of the societal factors that lead to it.
One of the groups receiving that grant funding is Kingdom Builders Family Life Center which works with victims of domestic violence. Founder Lisa Jenkins explained that the grant funds will support their teen leadership program called Project Right Direction.
"When they experience family violence, typically we have every family member that's been affected," Jenkins explained. "With Project Right Direction, we have a 12-week leadership program where we literally take them through a12 week journey of becoming leaders."
Jenkins experienced domestic violence earlier in life and started Kingdom Builders in 2013 out of a passion for serving others who are currently experiencing that trauma. The first TSI grant that she was awarded in 2018 empowered her to turn her passion into a full-time career running the non-profit agency.
"The goal of kingdom builders is to eliminate family violence," she said. "But our mission is to actually change the narrative for those who have experienced various forms of trauma."
The other grant fund recipients include:
• Colorado Springs Works
• Colorado Springs Conservatory
• Educating Children of Color
• Inside Out Youth Services
• Kidpower of Colorado
• Relevant Word Ministries
• Second Chance Through Faith
• The Thrive Network
• Trust of Public Land - Colorado
• Voces Unidas for Justice
• Youth Transformation Center
The TSI funds are distributed locally by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation. Mina Liebert, Director of Community Impact for PPCF explained that Southeast Colorado Springs and Aurora were selected as pilot communities where this new safety framework could be established.
The purpose of the grant funding is to prevent crime by supporting economic and community development programs in specific neighborhoods that experience a greater impact by crime and the justice system.
"Our end goal is to be able to reduce the risk of as many youth as well as family members that are impacted by the criminal justice system as possible, but then also provide the opportunity to still build skills, to be successful."
The framework created in these two communities has since been adopted by more rural communities. When the legislature had to cut $3 billion from the budget last year, it looked like this program would lose funding. However, lawmakers were able to stop prevent those cuts from happening.