For Immediate Release:

July 27, 2023

For More Information:

Adam Garber, Executive Director, (267) 515-1220,

Community Leaders Highlight Republican Budget Cuts to Violence Prevention Programs Put Lives at Risk


Philadelphia — In a letter to Governor Shapiro, nearly 100 non-profit organizations and community leaders highlighted the fatal consequences of the 60 percent decrease in funding for Pennsylvania’s Violence Intervention Program in the state budget. 

The program invests in community safety by supporting organizations, law enforcement and city programs that forge relationships with those most at risk for being involved in violence, supporting victims to prevent possible retaliation, and deploying workforce development and conflict resolution programs focused on high-risk individuals. Governor Shapiro’s initial proposal of $105 million was slashed to $40 million by Senate Republicans.

Senate President Ward’s failure to send the limited budget to Governor Shapiro will further delay the release of this reduced funding. And with organizations working to stem a deadly tide of shootings this summer, those resources are needed now more than ever.

“This program is funding  medication proven to shrink the cancer of gun violence spreading in our communities. In Philadelphia, shootings are down 20 percent in 2023, but slashing the treatment midcourse could allow this disease to once again metastasize with fatal consequences for Pennsylvania children and parents,” said Adam Garber, CeaseFirePA Education Fund’s Executive Director.

Since starting two years ago, the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency’s Violence Intervention Program provided $150 million in grants to communities across the state. They include:

  • Group Violence Intervention Programs in Harrisburg, York, Philadelphia and Delaware County to deploy credible messengers to interrupt shootings through deescalation and providing local resources;
  • Hospital based programs that help shooting victims and their families recover and stop retaliation in Lehigh Valley, Hazelton, Reading and Bucks County;
  • Victim services support throughout the Commonwealth to provide trauma-informed care after shootings

The letter organized by CeaseFirePA Education Fund, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity and 57 Blocks urges Governor Shapiro to explore alternative methods to secure additional violence intervention program funding after the budget is signed.

Reverend Gregory Holston, Chair of the Black Clergy’s Criminal Justice Committee added, “VIP Grants provide a public health approach to reducing shootings and gun homicides by forging relationships with people at the center of gun violence in our communities. These programs support people at the highest risk of being victims or perpetrators.”


As the Commonwealth’s leading gun violence prevention organization, CeaseFirePA works to ensure everyone can live a life free from gun violence. We organize with communities closest to the issue, hold those in power accountable, and maximize the strengths of every member in our broad coalition.

Facing the truth about gun violence in PA