Youth Violence Prevention Initiative


To support organizations that strive to prevent violent behavior among youth.  Violent behavior is defined as a purposeful physical assault by a youth that carries a significant risk of injury or death to another person.  It includes homicide, aggravated assault, robbery and rape.

The Roy A. Foundation’s approach to youth violence prevention is based on the public health model and the recommendations in Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General.


To address youth violence or the risk factors that contribute to it, primarily in the disadvantaged, inner city neighborhoods of Boston and Pittsburgh.


The Foundation is interested in age-appropriate, research-based approaches to primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.  This includes strategies designed to address risk factors that have the largest effect on violent behavior (see the tables on this page of the Surgeon General’s report). Preference will be given to programs that focus on multiple risk factors across the individual-, family-, school-, peer group- and community-level domains.

Primary Prevention – Programs targeted to general populations of youth who have not yet become involved in violence or encountered specific risk factors will be considered on a highly selective basis and are limited to only those programs specifically designed to reduce large-effect risk factors as a major program outcome.  The Foundation is specifically interested in:

  • General skills training and competency-building programs that teach important social, life or problem-solving skills.
  • Training programs for parents or programs designed to strengthen families when combined with skills-building programs for young children.
  • Elementary or middle school-based behavior management programs or programs that reinforce attendance and academic progress.
  • Initiatives that help build a school’s capacity to plan, implement and sustain positive changes, or teaching strategies aimed at reducing the risk of academic failure.
  • Community-based youth development programs for children from low socioeconomic households located in high-risk, disorganized neighborhoods.

Secondary Prevention – Prevention and intervention programs target youth who already display one or more risk factors.  The Foundation is specifically interested in:

  • Interventions concerned primarily with risk reduction (as opposed to changing behavior). Risks include, at the early onset age (6-11): a history of general offenses, substance use, being male with a history of aggression, low family socioeconomic status; and at the late onset age (12-14): weak social ties, anti-social/delinquent peers, gang membership, and a history of general offenses.  For adolescents, interventions must be at the group level and deal with multiple risky behaviors.
  • Training programs for parents of at-risk youth that improve parent involvement and family management practices.
  • Home visitation programs, compensatory education, and interventions aimed at improving moral reasoning, problem-solving or thinking skills.

Tertiary Prevention – Interventions designed to prevent further violence or the escalation of violence among youth who are already involved in violent behavior, including:

  • Interventions for criminally-adjudicated youth that include a social perspective-taking/role-taking component that can improve personal accountability, behavior and skills.
  • Programs that target gang activity (a priority interest), e.g., those that attempt to deal directly with gangs or prevent gang involvement.
  • Programs designed as an alternative to incarceration or, on a highly selective basis, initiatives that provide jobs or attempt to accelerate the decline in the use of guns among youth.

Types of Foundation Support

The Foundation will consider proposals for program or general operating support.  During any one year, the Foundation expects to award approximately 5-10 grants. Grant awards will range between $25,000 and $100,000 depending on the scope of the program and demonstrated funding need.

Preferred Proposal Attributes

The Foundation seeks applicants with implementation or program staff who have demonstrated skill, experience, and expertise in working with at-risk youth and their families. Preference will be given to comprehensive programs that address multiple risk factors at the individual-, family-, school-, peer group-, and community-level domains, involve collaborations among entities, and present clear and measurable outcome objectives.


The Foundation will not consider proposals for programs to prevent youth suicide, child abuse or neglect, domestic abuse, hate crimes, or media or internet violence.

Download a PDF list of Youth Violence Prevention grants paid in FY13 and FY14.

Next Steps

Send an initial Letter of Inquiry as advised under Applying for a Grant.

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