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Rapid City nonprofit receives gun violence prevention grant


Rapid City nonprofit receives gun violence prevention grant

Sep 15, 2023 | 1:47 pm ET
By Makenzie Huber
Rapid City nonprofit receives gun violence prevention grant
Members of the Wambli Ska Society perform a Lakota drum song at a ceremony on Sept. 13, 2022, in Pierre to celebrate the launch of a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons liaison within the South Dakota Attorney General's Office. (Courtesy of Attorney General's Office)

A Native American-led nonprofit in Rapid City has been awarded a grant from the Everytown Community Safety Fund to prevent gun violence in the city.

Wambli Ska Okolakiciye, which started in 2014, received $50,000 in funding to “better position them to access federal funding” to reduce gun violence and raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women, according to a news release from Everytown for Gun Safety.

The grant is part of the national organization’s $2.35 million Everytown Community Safety Fund investment into 335 community-based violence intervention organizations across the United States. Wambli Ska will also have access to training, conferences and support from Everytown.

Wambli Ska’s work includes a street outreach team, “Oyate Court” for juvenile and young adult diversion from the criminal justice system, an emergency shelter, and a teen center to address violence in the city’s population through youth diversion and community initiatives.

The grant will be used to help implement a comprehensive community-based violence intervention (CVI) program, said Chris White Eagle, executive director of Wambli Ska, in a news release.

“While historic investments have been made at all levels of government,” the news release said, “CVI organizations still struggle to access promised funding and when they do, funding is restricted to programmatic expenses, preventing them from increasing staff, building their capacity or scaling to more people and places in need.”