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10 Years After Sandy Hook: A Movement Reborn

DANBURY, CT - September 15, 2022: The founders of Sandy Hook Promise, a 501(c)3 created in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, Nicole Hockley, left to right, and Mark Barden pose for a portrait at Broadview Middle School on September 15, 2022 in Danbury, CT. Hockley and Barden, parents of children lost in the school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults in 2013, founded Sandy Hook Promise to prevent future acts of gun violence through violence prevention such as the “Say Something” curriculum which teaches children to take threats seriously and report alarming social media messages. The 501(c)3, which began in a rented space over a nail salon in Newtown, CT, now gives almost $15 million a year, second only to Everytown for Gun Safety’s $27 million.

CREDIT: Bryan Thomas for The Chronicle

Sandy Hook Promise co-founders Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden at Broadview Middle School in Danbury, Conn.

The movement to prevent gun violence has changed a lot in the decade since the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Rather than being laser-focused on Congress, advocates are making their case in the courts and state legislatures. Their playbook also has expanded to include education and culture campaigns, boycotts and petition drives, and greater focus on grassroots violence prevention — a range of work in which philanthropy can find a home.

There are signs that it might be working.