Model & Strategy

The Problem
While national gun violence has decreased significantly over the last 30 years, shooting rates remain extremely high in small pockets of communities throughout several major cities in the U.S. Gun violence kills 11K people each year in the U.S. and wounds another 70K, with the associated financial cost reaching over a billion dollars annually. 6,000 of the people killed, and 25K of the people wounded each year are young, Black men. One hundred people are killed by guns in the U.S. each day, roughly a third of whom are Black men under the age of thirty from urban communities. Countless other young people in these communities experience trauma as a result of witnessing and being exposed to these high rates of violence as they grow.

Highly concentrated levels of violence create a vicious cycle. Exposure to firearm violence — including being shot, shot at, or a witness to a shooting — doubles the probability that a young person will commit a violent act within two years. This cyclical and retaliatory gun violence accounts for the majority of crimes committed in relatively small urban areas.

The Solution
By working with and supporting a targeted group of individuals at the core of gun hostilities, Advance Peace bridges the gap between anti-violence programming and a hard-to-reach population at the center of violence in urban areas, thus breaking the cycle of gun hostilities and altering the trajectory of these men’s lives. Advance Peace partners with cities to develop a more effective and less costly approach to reducing violent crime by providing the young men at the center of the violence with the care, mentorship, and support to thrive in nonviolent lives. Since piloting in Richmond, CA, Advance Peace has proven that a targeted, caring approach can have an outsized impact when the majority of gun violence can be traced to a tiny minority of individuals and neighborhoods. Advance Peace’s Peacemaker Fellowship® utilizes Neighborhood Change Agents (NCAs) — formerly incarcerated individuals who are now employed as changemakers and serve as credible messengers within these communities — to reach out, identify the young men in need of care and violence interruption, and welcome them into the program. Of the young men who have been enrolled in the fellowship to date, fewer than 5% were being reached by a single other social service or community organization. With their track record of reducing violence and meaningfully reshaping the lives of young men at the center of gun violence, Advance Peace presents a systemic alternative to the current patchwork of systems that are failing these young men and their communities.

Advance Peace’s voluntary 18-to-24-month program provides fellows with the following services: 1) intensive mentoring by a network of positive adult influences, including NCAs, 2) an individualized life plan, 3) navigation support through responsive social service options such as educational, civic and cultural exposures outside of the fellow’s city of origin, and 4) small monetary incentives for meeting educational and employment goals and remaining free from gun violence. When scaling to a new city, Advance Peace requires the city to make a five-year commitment to the strategy and a 50% funding commitment over the five years. Then, after achieving a 30-50% or more reduction in gun violence, the city must include the strategy within their public safety plan and budget, completely funding the strategy for a minimum of three to five additional years.

At a Glance
Founded: 2016
Founder & CEO: DeVone Boggan
Social Justice
Location of work: Domestic, West Coast
Advance Peace
Richmond, CA
Interrupting urban gun violence to advance peace
Two men in neighborhood, hand one young man's shoulder
Photo of founder DeVone Boggan
Meet DeVone Boggan

DeVone originally spearheaded the Peacemaker Fellowship® as a government program during his tenure as neighborhood safety director for the city of Richmond, CA. The program reduced gun violence rates by 75-80% and took the city out of the top 100 cities with the highest rates of gun violence. In this role, he discovered that most of the gun violence in Richmond was committed by a small cohort of fewer than 20 young men whom the police and social services had previously been unable to reach.



In cities where Advance Peace is working, gun violence is being reduced by 20-80% within 24 months of implementing the Peacemaker Fellowship®.


More than 95% of their fellows remain alive and unharmed by gunfire after enrolling into the Peacemaker Fellowship®.

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