The Boston Foundation's ambitious $26 million proposal to fight crime by focusing on the most dangerous gang members has become mired in fund-raising problems and growing discontent among community leaders who believe they are being denied a role in the effort, reports the Boston Globe. “We're not where we wanted to be,'' said president Paul Grogan. Announced with great fanfare last December, the StreetSafe Boston program was envisioned as a way to fight crime in five of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods by targeting about 2,000 young criminals who police believe drive more than three quarters of the city's violence.
The goal was to have 13 new street workers in targeted neighborhoods by March and to provide funding to community service groups by April or May, to offer GED programs, job training, and counseling. Trouble raising money and the complexity of coordinating with several city agencies delayed deployment of street workers until last week. The poor economy has forced foundation officials to consider how they might accomplish the initiative's goals with $20.5 million, instead of the $26 million they had hoped to raise. Leaders of community groups have begun to grumble that they were led astray by the nonprofit organization during six months of meetings to hammer out a budget and strategies for the plan. They are concerned they will not get any money for the summer, or perhaps at all.