One of the most important issues underlying the success of this program is securing a commitment of resources and funds from public and private sources at a time when the fiscal challenges we face dominate our legislative agenda at every level of government.
In Act #2, we outlined some of the federal initiatives that once comprised key components of a comprehensive strategy to prevent targeted acts of violence in our schools – programs such as the Safe School Initiative, the COPS Secure our Schools (SOS) grant program, and the Safe and Drug Free Schools program. We need to take a fresh look and reprioritize the value of such programs. It will take political will and leadership in all branches of government to return these to higher priority positions on our funding lists. We call upon our political and legislative leaders at all levels to join us. We cannot, however, rely solely upon government to fund efforts to protect our children. Here is where our philanthropic and volunteer commitments are essential.
- America’s largest corporations and smallest businesses need to determine what they can do to help fund our efforts. We ask them to permit their employees to dedicate on-the-job hours to serve as volunteers to various school violence prevention initiatives in the local communities where their businesses operate.
- Our nation’s faith-based institutions need to do their part to protect America’s children, particularly because they can call on local resources and grass roots volunteers for support.
- Our local school boards and school administrators need to recognize the leverage they have in energizing our schools’ parents and teachers to take a more proactive role in protecting our children from targeted school violence.
In summary, our efforts to protect our children will need a commitment of funds and resources from all of us, yet especially from government, major corporations, not-for-profit groups, faith-based organizations, school boards, parents and other individuals. It is time for all of us to “walk the walk” and not “talk the talk.” At Hillard Heintze, we have pledged to do our part, by taking a leadership role in this effort and offering pro bono services. I call upon each and every one of you to join us in doing whatever you can individually and collectively to help us succeed. America’s children are counting on you.