For the last decade, The Kendeda Fund has been one of a small but growing number of funders leaning into the nation’s gun violence crisis and supporting a diverse set of far-sighted organizations decisively shaping its trajectory.

  • The news outlet The Trace alters the public’s perspective of gun violence, broadening our collective knowledge and focusing attention on new dimensions of the crisis.
  • The Fund for a Safer Future (FSF) organizes foundations and philanthropists to invest in the movement more strategically and sustainably.
  • In its fearless truth-telling, the advocacy group Guns Down America alters the tenor of the conversation about gun violence and expands our understanding of who is complicit in it.
  • Community Justice is pushing the movement the movement to recognize and wrestle with its historical biases and sharpen its commitment to addressing gun violence as a public health crisis.

Although these organizations have wildly different expertise and work on distinct aspects of what is now widely recognized as a uniquely American problem, they often reinforce one another.

Guns Down America’s principled stance towards corporations and lawmakers makes space for other organizations, including Community Justice, to speak truth to power. Both organizations help ensure that concern about gun violence extends beyond the narrow window opened up by mass shootings. Through consistent coverage, The Trace educates the public about the impact of community violence and gives more credence to Community Justice’s contention that lawmakers prioritize it. Community Justice’s call for greater intersectionality in the gun violence prevention movement helps draw a broader set of donors to FSF and prioritizes equity in the philanthropic community. By enlarging the pool of philanthropies investing in the movement, FSF helps fuel all these organizations and many others.

As the Kendeda Fund prepared to conclude 30 years of grantmaking — including nearly ten years and $25 million of funding for common-sense solutions to help prevent gun violence — we invited the leaders of these four established organizations to reflect on the strategies that brought us to this point. We also asked them to imagine some of the next steps on the long road ahead to a country free of gun violence.

The perspectives and opinions shared in the following pages belong to the four interviewees alone. While they are neither inclusive nor representative of the entire GVP movement, they offer insights into strategies and approaches that funders in the gun violence prevention field may want to consider moving forward. To that end, we offer this report less as a playbook than as a reference point — one intended to provoke, inform and inspire future investments supporting broader and more inclusive solutions.

Kendeda’s approach to gun violence prevention philanthropy emerged naturally from the values of our founder, Diana Blank. We viewed gun violence as one of the most urgent public health and equity crises of our time. And over a decade of giving, we sought to unite unexpected partners around replicable strategies, building on creative community- led efforts to find productive pathways toward a less violent society. Kendeda tested new violence prevention strategies, convened community conversations and invested in storytelling that moved beyond tragedy to points of agreement and models of progress.

There is much work to be done, and the struggle to end gun violence in America will require endurance, commitment, pain and struggle. But change is possible. Together we can—and we must —build a safer future.