Bureau of Justice Assistance Announces New Awardees of Neighborhood Revitalization Grant at Drexel

By Alex McKechnie
Office of University Communications

September 11, 2013 — The nation’s leading community development support organization, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), will host an event at Drexel University on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 11 and 12, during which the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will announce the new class of awardees of its Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) grant.

The BCJI program is part of the Obama Administration’s larger Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to help communities develop strategies to change neighborhoods of distress into neighborhoods of opportunity. LISC is the national training and technical assistance provider on the program.

Robert Stokes

Robert Stokes, PhD, a former awardee of the BCJI grant, will speak at Drexel on September 11.

The meeting will include representatives of the BCJI sites in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Buffalo and Lowell, Mass. Denise O'Donnell, director of Bureau of Justice Assistance, will make remarks at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 12 in Drexel’s Academic Bistro on the sixth floor of the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Building (33rd and Arch Streets) and will be available for interviews. Philadelphia Police Department Deputy Commission Kevin Bethel and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Reed also will participate.

A team led by Robert Stokes, PhD an associate professor of sociology in Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences, was one of 15 nationwide awardees of the grant last year. The three-year, $600,000 community crime prevention planning grant in collaboration with the Mouth Vernon Manor Inc. and We Are Mantua Groups focuses on building capacity for community planning in Mantua while supporting both civic programming and policing innovations in the community.

As the research partner for the Philadelphia BCJI, Stokes will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m. in 302 Bossone Research Center (3140 Market Street) about the increasing recognition of place-based, evidence-supported policy and planning practices for crime prevention in urban communities.

Attendees will be invited to take a bus tour of Mantua featuring a city planner, community residents and faith leaders.

The BCJI initiative supports data- and research-driven projects to enhance the capacity of communities in the creation of comprehensive strategies to prioritize and address crime problems. BCJI employs strategies to build the capacity of distressed communities to better prevent and reduce crime and enhance conditions that contribute to community crime, as well as to expand efforts of communities to more comprehensively address these crime issues.

The BCJI program receives strategic, leveraged funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and the U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods program.

About Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

LISC is the nation’s leading community development support organization, dedicated to helping local organizations transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities—good places to work, do business and raise children. Since 1981, Philadelphia LISC has worked with community developers to provide more than $306 million in financing and other tools needed to initiate positive change in neighborhoods, including programs, training and grants for crime prevention supported by LISC’s national Community Safety Initiative. For more information, visit

News Media Contact

Alex McKechnie
News Officer, University Communications
Phone: 215-895-2705
Mobile: 401-651-7550

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