Third Sector Offers Testimony at Boston City Council Violence Prevention Hearing

Third Sector Managing Director, Kristel Kurtz, testified at an August 8th hearing held by the Boston City Council Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice (Docket #0781). The hearing, sponsored by Councilor President Andrea Campbell, was intended to review all grants and city funds available for violence prevention and intervention purposes, stemming from  Campbell’s concerns about the level of gun violence that persists in her district.

Kurtz’s testimony, which can be viewed here and read in full here, described the importance of focusing contracts on measurable outcomes to achieve results and ensure that impact is being made with the funding available. She described the experience of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (MA DTA) as a part of Third Sector’s Empowering Families Initiative, where they re-designed the Young Parents Program procurement using Third Sector’s Fundamental Components of Funding. This includes stakeholder engagement, outcomes vision collectively articulated by the stakeholders, and continuous improvement processes to give providers the ability to innovate across the entire experience and continually improve outcomes.

Kurtz also emphasized that “by drawing a holistic picture of what is budgeted, what neighborhoods are being served, and which defined populations (like students, justice‑involved youth, young parents, domestic violence survivors) who are being served we can then begin to account for our prevention of violence.”

Many of those who testified called for actions and changes that Third Sector is currently implementing in our work. Those concerns included fostering better connections across service organizations that are serving the same individuals, loosening compliance measures to allow for more flexibility of service, more access to data and information, addressing violence from a 2Gen perspective to stop the feedback loop, and addressing the root causes of at-risk individuals rather than the surface issues.