CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Board on Thursday night discussed proposals presented by a task force dedicated to ending violence.

The Community Violence Prevention Task Force proposed that four groups receive funding to help support programs that help youth and end violence. The Champaign County Board supports the proposals and has pledged $4 million of its COVID relief money to support them.

On Thursday, they heard from one group that will benefit from the funding.

“Since this is a new concept and a new approach, and we know here locally that it has always been an issue, we’re bring all pillars to the table up under one voice, one movement,” said Marlon Mitchell of H3 Coalition.

H3 Coalition, DREAAM House, the Housing Authority of Champaign County, and a new group called Vision to Succeed are the groups that are receiving the money.

“We’re not in this, just to be in it,” Mitchell said. “We’re in this to make a difference.”

H3 Coalition wants to put an end to gun violence and they’re on track to receive $500,000

“If we can put in place good programs that will lead people to healthier lifestyles, then I think that we should absolutely need to make those investments,” Kyle Patterson, Champaign County Board Chair.

H3 is short for harm, healing and hope. The group is made up of small business owners who want to see a positive change. Mitchell is one of them.

“Bring everybody up under one umbrella so that we can kind of share resources and we can build capacity together,” he said.

Patterson said it’s about investing into the future and finding solutions.

“I think that in the long term, this will have a huge impact on, you know, the amount of people in this community.”

Patterson also said that he’s never seen an uptick in gun violence like what central Illinois saw over the last few years.

“What it comes down to is in America, we have a gun problem and our community is seeing the affects of that.”

That’s why Mitchell is stepping up.

“It’s a collaborative effort, whether you have a lot of not-for-profits and some small business owners that are coming to the table that are putting our heads together and have performed a strategic plan in order to deal with community violence and the wholistic approach,” Mitchell said.

County Board members weighed in on the discussion and the proposals were supported by most of them. Patterson said organizations like these help put people on a better path forward.

County Executive Darlene Kloeppel said the next steps forward are contracts and negotiations, but everything has been agreed to. Those contracts are expected to be finalized in about a month.