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Buncombe County Seeks Collaborative Partners for Community Safety Initiative

Buncombe County is excited to announce a search for collaborative partners, with a request for proposals (RFP) for community-led initiatives that promote safety, and aim to reduce gun violence in Buncombe County. This call to action is in alignment with the 2025 Strategic Plan and the recent Justice Resource Advisory Council proclamation declaring racism as a public safety emergency.

Both violence and the justice system have disparate impacts on Black people living in Buncombe County. For example, in the first seven months of 2020, there were nine homicides, and seven of the victims were Black men. In 2019, Black people represented 6.3 percent of Buncombe County’s population, yet comprised 25 percent of the jail population and 69 percent of gun violence victims. 

“Traumatic and tragic gun violence is causing lasting harm in our community, and that violence is disproportionately directed at our minority and marginalized neighbors,” notes District Attorney Todd Williams. “We must work together to prevent violence and harm alongside our work together to achieve police and justice reform.”

Further, calls to address community safety and violence prevention have been made by leadership from the Asheville Police Department, Asheville Housing Authority, and Buncombe County’s Child Fatality Review Team. In its report to government leaders across Buncombe County, the Child Fatality Review Team called gun violence a “growing threat to the health and safety of youth and adults in our community.”

Buncombe County Justice Services is allocating $225,000 in funding from the Safety and Justice Challenge Grant, and is seeking collaborative partners interested in working with community members and government partners to develop a long-term approach to create spaces to address community violence, improve community safety, and work towards healing. The RFP opens Monday, Nov. 9, and the deadline to apply is Thursday, Dec. 3, at noon. The funding will support projects, organizations, and collaborations that embody these values:

  • Commitment to working towards creative approaches to public safety rooted in community solutions.
  • Promoting and sustaining collective leadership, collaboration and partnership.
  • Commitment to applying a racial equity analysis.
  • Experience working with diverse populations in the community, including those most impacted by community violence and those most impacted by the justice system.
  • Intergenerational inclusivity - people of all generations: youth, adults, elders are encouraged to apply.

Find more background information here and the RFP here. For questions contact Aisha Shepherd, Community Development Specialist at (828) 250-6523, or Aisha.Shepherd@buncombecounty.org. Apply online at buncombecounty.org/apply.

The newly formed Justice Services Department is key to supporting the Buncombe County criminal justice system with emphasis on strategies that are cost effective, prioritize public safety, provide resources to law enforcement and the courts, and support our community members navigating the justice system.

About the MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. Learn more about the Foundation’s criminal justice reform work at www.macfound.org/criminaljustice.