Louisville and Lexington mayors receive $5 million grant to fight rising crime

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville and Lexington are 75 miles apart, but they're face-to-face when it comes to dealing with rising crime.

On Thursday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray got a huge boost in their cities' fights against crime. The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust announced it's given them more than $5 million over the next three years.

"Nationally, we lose 14 young men of color every day to gun violence. Fourteen young men of color," Fischer said. "Think if we were losing 14 people in suburban malls around our country every day. What would our county be doing?  Everything possible to stop that."

That money will create civic leadership fellowships to offer black males from 16-to-25-years-old opportunities for education and jobs to help them break away from the path far too many are choosing.

"The participants will emerge with a new understanding of their own potential as leaders who now have the skills, confidence, problem-solving abilities and high-profile connections that are essential to the professional success for anyone," Fischer said.

Up to 120 young men will be chosen for the fellowships based on their potential and need.  The fellowships will partner with their local workforce, education, criminal justice and social service partners, with help from Cities United, a national movement of 92 mayors aimed at eliminating violence related to young black males.

"Our cities simply can't afford to lose the unlimited potential of our young black men," Gray said. "We need their contribution to our economy, to our community and to families."

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