In February of 2000, the partnership held its first event: “Truce 2000″. The organization called for an end to shootings and retaliations between local gangs and brought together gang leaders who agreed to work out their differences in a peaceful manner. Due to the major press coverage, the effort caught the eye of Public/Private Ventures and its sponsor, Ford Foundation. In March of 2000, the clergy were called together to meet with them to discuss the possibility of obtaining funding for the partnership.
At that time, the Ford Foundation had supported replications of the Boston 10 Point Plan in a number of cities by funneling their funds through Public/Private Ventures. They decided to further expand the model into Washington, DC with ERCPCP, but required that the organization have an Executive Director who was not an active Pastor in order to ensure that the person devote full time to development of the collaboration.
Therefore, the police and clergy met in April 2000 and selected Reverend Donald Isaac, who was Assistant Pastor of S.E. Tabernacle Baptist Church, a member church that had joined the partnership in February. Rev. Isaac was an ideal candidate as a minister of a local church who had more than 20 years experience in management and organizational development and was well versed in local issues as the former Chief Financial Officer of the Council of the District of Columbia. In May of 2000, Rev. Motley and Rev. Isaac visited Boston to examine their program and in June he started as the Executive Director.
Around the same time, the collaboration obtained a grant from the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Public Safety based upon its innovative approach in the area of community policing and public safety as a result of the effectiveness of Truce 2000. With this funding, the organization realized the need to become a formally established entity and as such formed a 501(c)(3) by October 2000.
By the close of 2000, the collaboration was a formal faith-based partnership viewed as a viable solution to the issue of youth violence. It had established a 15 member Board of Directors and a broad based Steering Committee which was created as an advisory body which would meet monthly. Rev. Motley served as the initial Chairperson. At the Steering Committee meetings, where attendance ranged from 30-50 persons, reports were provided to the community which updated them as to the goals accomplished and activities for each point under the 7-point plan.
ERCPCP moved quickly to offer direct services with regularly scheduled on-the-street interventions, youth peer counseling sessions, positive festivals/concerts, youth retreats, sporting events, prayer vigils, and informational forums/roundtables. In the true spirit of collaboration, ERCPCP began making mini grants ranging from $1,000 – 5,000 to fund area programs that furthered the 7 points.
In June 2001, ERCPCP launched the “40 days of Increased Peace” project, its first initiative with city-wide impact. This consisted of a well-publicized series of positive activities offered as alternatives to violent or negative behavior. These events were supported by the WPGC radio station, which played an active role in its success. After just 2 years of existence, the organization could document the effect of its efforts on youth crime. Police statistics demonstrated a significant downward trend in youth homicides. In one year, homicides had gone from 13 to 2 for those under the age of 18.