Victory over Violence

With our solutions-driven response, together we will stop the cycle of violence, support our youth, and build a safer Champaign County for all.


Over the past few years, our community has seen a precipitous rise in violence. Of particular concern is the rise in violence among our youth and young adults. 

Champaign County is not alone. According to the FBI, violent crime in the United States was up 5.8% in 2020. (Source) And while the rise in community violence is national, solutions must be local.

United Way and WCIA are partnering for the Victory over Violence initiative. Together we will support proven strategies that work towards solutions to violence - building a brighter future and changing the statistics.

Community Violence Negatively Impacts Youth

According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, "Although less commonly recognized, exposure to community violence, which includes domestic violence, exposure to violence, and bullying, also can result in serious long-term negative outcomes for children and youth. Community violence often is unpredictable and experiencing or witnessing violence in one’s community can increase fear, distrust, and feelings that communities, homes, and schools are unsafe. Similar to experiencing direct victimization, exposure to violence is associated with decreases in educational achievement; increases in internalizing behaviors (anxiety disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), externalizing behaviors (oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder), and trauma symptomology; feelings of anger and blame; and heightened risk for future exposure to violence." (Source)

United Way is fighting for our youth and helping change the story.

With your help, we can change the statistics. There are proven strategies which will reduce community violence - and we will implement those right here in Champaign County.

We will stop violence and promote safety through street-based violence interruption, trauma and emotional supports, family engagement, and wrap-around supports.

Through a variety of programs and services, we will give kids - especially those from under-resourced neighborhoods or living in high-poverty conditions, the help they need and deserve. Fostering social connectedness and belonging among youth in our community is an integral part of disrupting the cycle of violence. We will do this by supporting youth development programs, afterschool and summer programming that focuses on academics and attendance, and programming that builds social-emotional persistence and intelligence.

We know that young people who have been exposed to violence are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence. That's why our strategy also includes support for trauma recovery services to help young people heal from exposure to firearm violence.

And we'll work together, collaborating across state, municipal, and local agencies to support proven programming that reduces involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system among high-risk youth.

Youth Violence

According to the ICJIA Statewide Violence Prevention Plan, in 2018 youth in Champaign County reported higher rates of bullying, cyberbullying, and physical fighting compared to the state average.

Type of Violence Champaign Illinois
Bullied 40.0% 29.5%
Bullied Electronically 24.4% 19.2%
Dating Violence 13.2% 14.3%
Physical Fighting 25.6% 20.2%
Weapon Carrying 11.1% 10.4%


Juvenile Violent Offenses

In 2018, there were 302 youth admitted to short-term locked juvenile detention facilities in Champaign County. About 28% of detention admissions were for a violent offense (N = 84). This translates to a rate of 4.91 violent offenses per 1,000 youth ages 10-17 in Champaign County, which is higher than the rate for the state of Illinois (1.83 violent offense admissions per 1,000 youth ages 10-17). (Source)

Adult Violent Offenses

In 2018, Champaign County had a rate of 453.85 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Illinois. This is higher than the state rate (395.75 violent crimes per 100,000 residents). (Source)

Confirmed Shooting Incidents

Year Number
2021 to date 341
2020 189
2019 100


Victory over Violence - Investment for Impact Grants

United Way is now accepting applications for Victory over Violence Investment for Impact Grants. Victory Over Violence is a solutions-driven response to the problem of violence that has been plaguing our community in recent months. The United Way of Champaign County is partnering with WCIA 3 to launch this new initiative, award grants, and track how our community is achieving Victory Over Violence.

Funds for these grants were generously donated by Busey, Carle Health, Christie Clinic, OSF Healthcare, United Way of Champaign County and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The successful Solutions Grant applicant will demonstrate their project or program will achieve one or more of the following Goals:

  • Stop Violence and Promote Safety
    • Especially violence prevention services, including street-based violence interruption work, emotional or trauma-related therapy, housing, employment, job training/placement, family engagement, and wrap-around support services.
  • Support Children, Youth and Families by Emphasizing Programs that Foster Social Connectedness and Belonging 
    • Especially youth development programs, including after school and summer programming to increase school attendance and school performance, reduce criminal justice system involvement and build social-emotional persistence and intelligence.
  • Support Health
    • Especially trauma recovery services for young people to heal from chronic exposure to firearm violence.
  • Promote Collaboration Across State, Municipal and Community-Based Agencies 
    • Especially high-risk youth intervention programs that have been proven to reduce involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system, referrals of teens into therapeutic programs that address trauma recovery, and other mental health services.

A total pool of $175,000 will be available for Investment for Impact Grants. Anticipated grant range is $10,000 to $75,000. 

Program Requirements

  • The program is working to achieve one or more of the Goals listed above.
  • You don't need to be a 501c3 to qualify. 
  • Applicants must expend any and all awarded funds with the expectation of completing all project aspects by June 30, 2023.
  • All projects must follow the Illinois Department of Public Healthy (IDPH) guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For full consideration applications must be submitted by Noon, August 15, 2022. Applications will be reviewed by a committee. Applicants will be notified by United Way of Champaign County staff by September 1, 2022.

Important Dates

July 14, 2022, noon
Grant Portal opens

August 16, 2022, noon
Grant Portal closes.

August 16 - August 31
Grants reviewed by committee.

September 1, 2022
Applicants are notified of acceptance or decline. Those awarded grants will be provided with contracts.

October 2022
Contracts signed, funds distributed.

January 1, 2023
Check-in reporting due

March 1, 2023
Mid-Year Report due

September 1, 2023
Final Report due

Contact and Questions

For questions about grant goals, eligibility, metrics, and outcomes, contact:
Beverley Baker, Chief Impact Officer

Email Beverley

For questions about the online application portal, please contact:
Carolyn Butterfield, Manager of Community Impact Data & Operations

Email Carolyn

Grant Partners

The Victory over Violence initiative currently works alongside 12 local programs to serve our community. Each program is working towards one or more of our stated VOV goals.

To date, we have awarded 

We are currently accepting grant applications. Please see the tab "Grant Application Information" for details.


ACES (Ability to Change Each Situation)

A developmental program designed to build leadership skills for underrepresented elementary, middle, and high school youth that reside in Champaign/Urbana, IL. Active participation in this program will positively improve their academic skills
and self-awareness, equip them with the sills and relationships they need to take charge of their life, and enhance their social and emotional intelligence in school and in the community.

A program of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church


Angel’s Youth Center

Provides youth with opportunities to achieve greatness through after-school programs and courses such as art design projects, musical composition sessions, cooking classes, and more. Their target audience is underprivileged youth, ages 6-24.


Business Elevator

A development program designed to teach chess correlated to life skills, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. Through the discipline of playing chess, the participants will develop foresight, balance, and caution as elements of critical thinking.


Dream Girls

Provides leadership and structure ​for females to become positive and responsible women with PRIDE, COURAGE, and GRACE.

A program of Dream Girls, Inc.


First String

Uses baseball and other sports to teach integrity, good sportsmanship, honesty, fair play, loyalty, and respect for oneself and others. With a holistic approach that reinforces these characteristics, First String, Inc. aims to help youth become well-rounded, trustworthy, and compassionate individuals ready to make a marked but positive difference in the world.  

A program of First String, Inc.


Goal Getters

Provides academic and behavioral guidance, mentorship, social emotional learning opportunities, family focused activities and positive community experiences to a select group of Unit 4 students age 14-17.  Also provides mentoring for students at Edison Middle School and Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

A program partnership between City of Champaign, Champaign Unit 4 School District, and the Champaign Community Coalition


Life Line

The After 3 program provides a safe place for youth and teens to go after-school. The program features One on One Academic Support, Mentoring, Social and Emotional Learning, and Team Building Activities.

A program of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church


Midnight Basketball

A Friday night basketball league for boys in 6th - 12th grade that provides a safe environment, positive supports, and role models.

A program of Youth for Christ


New Foundation Outreach Program

After-school program for youth ages 5-13 that provides assistance with their educational learning (homework help, computer literacy, and reading).

A program of New Foundation Missionary Baptist Church


Not on My Watch

This program provides a safe haven for youth, leadership development, financial literacy, educational support, career and workforce development training, parental guidance, teaching individuals and families how to cope with trauma and assist
them building emotional intelligence. Not on My Watch mission is “empowering the community one person at a time,” and is the goal of Bob Fulling’s Hope Center.


Reward Fund

This fund rewards tipsters who supply helpful information which leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property. Grant funds will allow the award amount to be increased.

A program of Champaign County Crime Stoppers



Shop with a Cop

This program fosters positive relationships between police officers, children, and families. 95 children from 31 Rantoul will have the opportunity to submit holiday wish lists. Gifts are delivered by officers.

A program of Rantoul Police Department