ON-Lion Letter
The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other local philanthropies have partnered in support of bringing the Violence-Free Zone (VFZ) initiative to five MPS high schools.  VFZ is a project of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE), which the Bradley Foundation substantially supports.
 
The VFZ model employs trusted neighborhood leaders to mediate conflict, promote strong moral character, provide employment assistance, and help transform young people from destructive gang warriors into purposeful community builders.  It is already significantly reducing youth violence in 22 schools nationwide -- with sites in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, the District of Columbia, and Prince George’s County, Md.

After being successfully piloted at MPS's South Division and Marshall High Schools, VFZs will also be put in at Bay View, Custer, and Washington High Schools starting in the 2007-08 academic year.

"We are expanding the Violence-Free Zone initiative because it works," MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said.  The initiative, "using community engagement and the support of key community organizations, has proven to be a pro-active way to support the needs of young people in lieu of having them get trapped in the criminal-justice system."

The Jane Bradley Pettit, Marshall and Ilsley, Argosy, Elizabeth Brinn, and Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundations are all supporting the effort, as well.
 
In January 2007, Bradley president and chief executive officer Michael Grebe addressed the inaugural White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives' "Compassion in Action Roundtable," which focused on strategies for reducing youth violence and highlighted CNE's VFZ work.
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