Change doesn’t happen overnight. Systemic change at a regional level is a marathon, not a sprint, fueled by consistent efforts from individuals, organizations and officials addressing root causes and actionable solutions.
Our work in Kansas City to address the root causes of violence is no different. During this critical moment in time, our city is surpassing historic levels of violence. Everyone in our community needs to step up and play their part in lighting the fire that fuels change.
The KC 360 program, modeled after The Empowerment Network and Omaha 360, is a long-term initiative that convenes leaders and stakeholders in the Kansas City community to achieve and maintain sustained reductions in violent crime, while also making important community and institutional changes
Building KC 360
KC Common Good was founded in 2018 to address the root causes of violence. Over the first three years, we kickstarted pilot programs to address youth involvement and employment, homeownership and equity, community reentry services for formerly incarcerated people, and financial support for families of victims of violence. These programs are critical to help at-risk populations in our city, and we continue to dedicate time and effort to growing them while looking for new solutions to address violence’s root causes.
Our founder, Klassie Alcine, knew that the next KC Common Good program needed to be more comprehensive, calling on organizations, officials and individuals from around the community who are already working separately for the common good to begin to work together.
After researching violence prevention models around the country, The Empowerment Network and the Omaha 360 program stood out. After fifteen years of implementing the program, Omaha’s gun violence had reduced by more than 80%, and the Black community saw important improvements in socio-economic indicators. In North Omaha, high school graduation rates increased from 50% to 81% and the African American unemployment rate was reduced from 21% to just 7% percent.
In May 2022, KC Common Good convened 35 people from 20 Kansas City organizations to travel to Omaha for a three-day visit to learn about the violence reduction model.
Within just two weeks after the trip, KC 360 was formed as a violence prevention and reduction coalition based on the Omaha model, but customized to meet Kansas City’s unique local needs. As an essential part of the program, public meetings are held weekly where participants take ideas and turn them into actionable, real-time solutions.
Following the lead of the early days of The Empowerment Network, KC 360 identified five pillars to address the root causes of violence: prevention, intervention, enforcement, reentry and reforms, and support services.
KC 360 is powered by more than 60 community-based organizations and dozens of individuals. Partners include community-based nonprofits, neighborhood leadership, community members, social service organizations, clergy, community organizers, representatives from area school districts and library systems, law enforcement, and local government.
“Young people in our city are growing up in a culture of violence. They don’t know anything different, they don’t trust the community and the police, and they are lacking basic services to help get them out of their situations. It is our job as a community to provide them opportunities to end the cycle of violence.” – Klassie Alcine, Founder and CEO of KC Common Good.
In the summer of 2022, KC 360 launched its own Village Initiative in Kansas City, Missouri’s Santa Fe neighborhood, a 360 model strategy to identify and focus violence prevention efforts in a concentrated area experiencing disproportionate levels of crime.
Led by KC Common Good, the Village Initiative is made up of and supported by neighborhood and community stakeholders, local nonprofit organizations, clergy members, the Kansas City Police Department, Kansas City government officials, and everyday citizens looking for a path toward a safer Kansas City.
Led by KC Common Good’s Rev. Darren Faulkner, KC 360 made amazing progress in its first year. In just 12 months, the program has grown to include more than 100 individuals and 60 organizations. While Omaha 360 has been successful over the long term, participants note that the public was slower to catch on. Our early participation in the 360 model is a strong sign of future success.
In addition to the participating individuals, KC 360 has been boosted by committed support from the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Building on the cross-sector KC Blueprint for Violence Prevention and a Safe and Healthy Community established in 2020, Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw, a strong supporter of KC 360, led the passage of an unprecedented $30 million investment in violence prevention in March 2023 to be distributed over five years.
“When communities face challenges accessing jobs, healthcare, education, and other essential resources, it can lead to disparities in health outcomes and hinder overall progress. It’s more important now than ever for the city to partner with the community and invest in violence prevention and reduction efforts. Addressing the root causes of violence by providing access to education, jobs, healthcare and other resources is key in reducing crime.” – Mayor Pro Tem and Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw
With early adoption and complementary violence prevention city funding, The KC 360 program has already begun to report its impact. Specifically, the Village Initiative focused on the Santa Fe neighborhood has achieved significant reductions in several categories of violent crime.
KC 360 partners and collaborators collectively spurred 4,876 actions, invested 9,050 hours, and deployed $3.53 million of organizational resources.
As of November 2023, the neighborhood has seen a 78% decrease in homicides compared to 2022, a testament to the effort put in by the city, the neighborhood, KC 360 and partnering organizations.
The Kansas City community is ready for meaningful change. Enough is enough. With the support of the city government, the partnership of the KCPD, and the immeasurable impact of the many community organizations, organizers, faith leaders, and committed neighbors who are the engine of change, KC 360 can make the same inspiring impact that The Empowerment Network and Omaha 360 have made on their community.
While we are excited about the future impact of KC 360, we know it takes more than a few wins to influence meaningful systematic change in our city—it will take input and action from everyone. The KC 360 program is designed to convene people and organizations to work together. With your help and your participation in KC 360, we can address the root causes of violence and work to reduce violent crime.
The easiest way for you to get involved in the program is to Play Your Part at the weekly KC 360 meetings. The meetings are a platform to learn about programs and organizations that can partner together, or individuals can get involved with. We hope that you will join us and Play Your Part at the next KC 360 meeting.
KC 360 Meetings:
When: 9 a.m. every Thursday morning
Where: Magis Activity Center at Rockhurst University, 5311 Tracy Ave, Kansas City, MO 64110
What to Expect: Weekly discussion topics, weekly updates on violent crime in our community, messages from community leaders, round table discussions aimed at finding practical solutions, and collaboration opportunities with organizations focused on making our community safer.