SPARC Awarded Safety and Justice Challenge Grant

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Pamela Wright

Phone: 828-747-8257

SPARC Foundation partners with Racial Justice Coalition, My Daddy Taught Me That & Umoja Health, Wellness and Justice Collective to enact new, holistic community safety initiatives

The team has been awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge Grant

(January 14, 2021, Asheville, NC) – Buncombe County announced a team of local organizations will lead critical work launching new community safety initiatives. The SPARC Foundation, in coordination with Umoja Health, Wellness and Justice CollectiveMy Daddy Taught Me That, and the Racial Justice Coalition will implement innovative strategies to decrease violence and increase community healing.

“I am excited to partner with these crucial organizations on a multi-agency approach to addressing community violence,” says Buncombe County Justice Services Director, Tiffany Iheanacho.

Buncombe County’s Safety and Justice Challenge Racial Equity and Community Engagement Workgroup awarded this new collaborative because “they’ve come together around the critical issue of community violence and agree how to provide healing and empowerment for our youth, our communities, and the ones most impacted by gun violence.” The team of local leaders issued a joint statement to the county stating, “This group of partners is eager, passionate, and ready to provide services in collaboration with the county in a way that will offer meaningful change. A change that will positively create balance, peace, and reduced violence moving forward.”

“I have had the honor of working with and learning from Keynon Lake (MDTMT), Michael Hayes (Umoja) and Rob Thomas (RJC) for much of the last decade. As a group, we’ve always valued the diversity of our individual experiences – both professional and personal – and we recognize the effectiveness in bringing our specialities together at this time in order to help solve an issue that has cost the peace, and the lives, of too many cherished members of our community for entirely too long,” says SPARC Executive Director, Jackie Latek.

Read more from Buncombe County here.

About SPARC Foundation:

Headquartered in Asheville, NC, SPARC ignites connections to educationemployment and mentorship to strengthen the well-being and personal freedom of people and families in need.