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Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks receives $500,000 boost from foundation

Kristi Hall-Jiran, executive director of the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks, is thankful for the $500,000 Bush Foundation grant her agency received Thurdsay.JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

The Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks announced Thursday it has received a $500,000 grant to continue its mission of ending violence in the community.

The center was awarded the Bush Prize for Community Innovation from the Bush Foundation. The prize supports organizations that create solutions to address challenges and opportunities their community.

CVIC Executive Director Kristi Hall-Jiran said the money will be used for innovative efforts such as the Safer Tomorrows Program and a statewide effort to strengthen a network between crisis centers in North Dakota.

The money also provides an opportunity to create programming to respond to community needs and keep up with national violence prevention trends.

"We want to be on the cutting edge of that," Hall-Jiran said.

Eight other organizations across North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota received the prize, which is a grant equal to 25 percent of the program's fiscal year budget, up to $500,000.

Funded efforts

Part of the money will be used to sustain the Safer Tomorrows Program. The program is a collaboration of more than 40 agencies in Grand Forks County that strives to end childhood exposure to violence.

"Our big goal is to leave a legacy of healthy relationships that are free of violence," Hall-Jiran said.

The program focuses on preventing violence, intervening in violent situations and collecting data on violence in the county.

It was selected as one of four programs in the nation to receive a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its national Defending Childhood Initiative.

Before the grant announcement, Hall-Jiran said Safer Tomorrows was funded through September 2014.

She also wants to use some of the funds to bring domestic violence centers around the state together for initiatives.

"The rural programs can't offer the same level of service that we do," Hall-Jiran said. "And in the western part of the state, those programs are overwhelmed."

Combining efforts between the state's 20 domestic violence centers could in turn serve those in need of help more efficiently, she added.

Growing needs

The Bush Foundation grant won't be a replacement for existing money the center receives from private and public sources.

"While it looks and sounds like a lot of money, it won't make our needs any less," Hall-Jiran said.

The center's 2013 budget totals nearly $3 million. More than half of its revenues come from federal grants while another 30 percent comes from private donors.

An increasing demand for its services keeps its needs growing. In the next few years, one of those needs will be a new shelter.

In 2016, CVIC's lease on its emergency shelter location will be up and the organization will need to locate a new facility.

"We don't have any solid ideas on where it will be or how we're going to make it happen," Hall-Jiran said.

CVIC's existing shelter isn't keeping up with the number of people seeking an emergency place to stay, meaning a new shelter would likely need to be bigger.

The 20-bed Light of Hope shelter only takes in those fleeing from domestic violence and has a waiting list.

In the first half of this year, clients, both adults and children, spent a combined 1,507 nights at the shelter, compared to 1,154 in the first half 2012.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1108 or send email to