Advance Peace is designed to stem gun violence in urban neighborhoods by providing resources to those at the center of gun violence.
“This is a national initiative that started in Richmond, but he has now taken it across to different, you know, cities,” said co-founder of The Village Lansing Erica Lynn.
Ingham County has been working to implement the program for several months. It was originally set to begin in October, but the process of selecting a non-profit to receive the allocated $1.95 million in funding and run the fellowship took longer than expected.
After 27 requests for applications were sent out in July, only two were returned and the evaluation team selected The Village Lansing to run the program.
“When we were unanimously selected, it was like, this is great, you know?" Lynn said. "It wasn’t shocking or surprising. It felt good. It felt right and it felt like the decision was made with the intention of what the Advance Peace initiative is. So, we were happy.”
The recommendation was set to go before county commissioners in September but was removed from the agenda, and the county re-opened the process to give other non-profits more time to apply.
The Village Lansing had to go through the RFP process again to be reconsidered.
“This was a month and a half into the process," Lynn said. "They knew these things immediately. As soon as we both applied, they knew there was only two applicants and so it felt very much like there was a lot of minutiae involved. But there wasn't a whole lot that we could do about that. Because once they made the decision, there wasn't a whole lot of conversation about it.”
The second application process was extended for a week, giving applicants a month to submit their applications compared to three weeks.
The second time around, four non-profits submitted applications, including The Village Lansing.
After another round of interviews, the committee recommended Peckham Inc., a non-profit rehabilitation organization, to run the program and made the information public in their meeting agenda packet.
County Commissioner Mark Polsdofer and Ingham County Deputy Controller Teri Morton, who declined to comment on the recommendation.
Pekham could not be reached for comment.
Under the proposal, Peckham would subcontract with People Ready Activating Youth to actually run the program.
If approved by the board, the non-profits would run the Advance Peace project until Dec. 31.
Lynn said The Village Lansing is disappointed they weren't selected the second time around and with the lack of communication from the county and wants to ask commissioners who they arrived at the decision. .
“It is disappointing and disappointing is a word that I use, because it's the best way that I can encompass all of the thoughts and feelings surrounding behind it," Lynn said. "There's absolutely no reason why there couldn't have been conversations leading up to the agenda being dropped publicly where they don't say, 'Hey, this is what's going to happen. This is what's going. This is the contract we’re seeing.'"
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