Gun violence prevention
Hope and Heal Fund
Spitfire branded, launched and supports communication for the Hope and Heal Fund – all with the intention of securing support for community-based solutions addressing domestic violence, suicide and community violence. Every year, guns kill more than 3,000 Californians in places that should be safe havens – their homes and their communities. Suicide, domestic violence and community violence account for the majority of gun deaths, but the current national narrative seldom addresses these topics. The Hope and Heal Fund is striving to change that narrative and lift up the solutions that are proven to work.
In the wake of the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, people were outraged. Too often, this outrage dissipates without sparking action, but public health advocates in California determined that wouldn’t be the case this time. Seeing an opportunity to further elevate gun violence prevention as a public health issue, The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness) reinforced its long-standing commitment to stopping gun violence and invited other advocates to join it in addressing this problem. A few weeks later, Cal Wellness convened a group of concerned activists and philanthropists from across California for the #ENOUGH summit, which explored the gun violence epidemic and what community members are doing to address it. Spotting an opportunity to showcase and extend community solutions, Cal Wellness became the first funder in a new, pooled fund – one that Spitfire helped to organize and branded as the Hope and Heal Fund. Supported by multiple organizations and individuals, the fund is working to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, because we know guns make domestic violence even more dangerous. And Hope and Heal supports community efforts to keep neighborhoods safe so that young people can go outside without fear of violence.
By reviewing the gun violence topics and spokespeople emerging in news coverage, Spitfire was able to establish an early understanding of the meta-level narrative – one that focuses on mass shootings and the second amendment. Related insights about what topics connect to this narrative and what topics and spokespeople are missing from it enabled us to prepare Hope and Heal for a more detailed narrative analysis with a grantee partner, identify opportunities to better understand and express how gun violence affects the LGBT community and recommend ways to more effectively convey the public health implications of gun violence.
These efforts are integral to shifting the narrative around gun violence prevention – moving it from a contentious conversation to one that taps into shared values of protecting the health and safety of all communities. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, Spitfire continued to connect the issue of everyday gun violence to the shifting landscape in a piece submitted to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The work remains focused on ensuring that Hope and Heal, its partners and gun violence prevention advocates have a powerful, strategic and effective way to talk about and implement solutions.