The Richmond Community Foundation began, in 2002, what was to become its largest community initiative: The Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE). The Foundation began to convene Richmond, California community residents and stakeholders through focus groups, surveys and planning charrettes to develop a vision for the Nystrom community, considered at the time one of the most violent communities in the United States.
Organizations working to make the world a better place have strong ambitions. They want to reduce gun violence in the wake of Sandy Hook, get Americans off the couch and active, and keep children safe from climate change. These groups need to wield influence to succeed—not in a Machiavellian way but in a public interest way. Yet often, they can’t articulate exactly how this influence will happen. It is a missing link in their plans to create change. When there is no clear idea for how influence will happen, it often doesn’t. Social change remains elusive.
The statistics are hard to ignore, and you may already be familiar with many of them. In 2010, guns took the lives of more than 31,000 Americans in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour. More than 50 percent of all suicides are committed with a firearm. Firearm injuries are the cause of death of 18 children and young adults (24 years of age and under) each day in the United States. Firearm-related deaths and injuries result in estimated medical costs of $2.3 billion each year—half of which are borne by U.S. taxpayers.