BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Today, Mass. Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett announced the release of $5.7 million in competitive grant funds to communities and local partners to bolster their efforts combatting gang violence. The awards were made to 15 communities and 11 research partners through the Shannon Community Safety Initiative, which targets gang violence in the Commonwealth.

CAPTION: Governor Charlie Baker announces Shannon Grant awards during event at the Statehouse in Boston. Behind him stand legislators, local officials, members of law enforcement (including Boston Police Commissioner William Evans), and other stakeholders. Courtesy Gov. office/website.

CAPTION: Governor Charlie Baker announces Shannon Grant awards during event at the Statehouse in Boston. Behind him stand legislators, local officials, members of law enforcement (including Boston Police Commissioner William Evans), and other stakeholders. Courtesy Gov. office/website.

“Shannon Grants support critical programming that provide education, training and employment direction for young people at risk of becoming involved in youth violence or gang activity,” said Governor Baker. “Our partnership with cities and local organizations enables crucial outreach to vulnerable youth, diverting them away from gangs and towards positive and productive futures.”

“The Commonwealth’s cities are on the frontlines of combatting gang violence, and the state-local collaboration supported by Shannon grants is an important tool to help them impact the lives of at-risk youth,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We all have a role to play in protecting our young people from gang activity, and this funding supports important outreach that can keep teenagers on a path to success.”

“This funding enables my department to continue working with at risk youth and make a difference on the impact of gang violence in Boston,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. “I want to thank Governor Baker and Secretary Bennett for their continued support of the Shannon Grant Program and the work of the Boston Police Department.”

The grants provide funds to communities that demonstrate high levels of youth violence and gang problems, a comprehensive plan to work with multi-disciplinary partners and a commitment to coordinated prevention and intervention strategies. Funded strategies include social intervention and opportunity provision programs, as well as gang task force personnel costs and overtime.

“The communities and partners who take part in this program have given themselves the tools necessary to make a serious impact on youth violence and gang activity,” said Secretary Bennett. “The disruption of illegal activity makes these communities safer while getting young lives back on track.”

Sites chosen by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to receive an award demonstrated high levels of youth violence and gang problems within their locality, submitted a comprehensive plan to work with multi-disciplinary partners, and committed to providing a coordinated prevention and intervention strategy.

As part of this funding, Boston Youth Wrestling will receive $30,000 to support its efforts to prevent youth violence in Boston's most critically challenged communities. BYW was one of 16 organizations chosen to share in the $1.11 million that the Boston Police Department received as a Shannon Community Safety Initiative Grant site.