Give Life to LIFE Camp! No More Bullets In The Hood!

with LIFE Camp
Verified 501(c)(3) Non-Profit
This campaign will expire at
on .
To date
Tilted at [?] $50,000
Target at $100,000
Campaign Description

Help us save lives of young adults in Queens. We’re building a movement to end gun violence, save lives and instill peace as a lifestyle. Join us! 

It starts with LIFE!

LIFE Camp develops teens and young adults into peer leaders and employment as we provide positive alternatives to violence.  LIFE Camp also builds partnerships between community stakeholders within the public and private sectors, to respond collectively, collaboratively & therapeutically to the issue of violence that impacts South Jamaica, Queens, New York.

This fundraising campaign has been featured in numerous news articles so far. Check it out:

- NY Daily News: "Queens anti-violence group shot in foot by city red tape

- Milwaukee Community Journal: "$100,000 crowdsourcing campaign for anti-violence group faced with a funding shortage

- Atlanta Black Star: "Uncle Rush: Russell Simmons Donates $10K to Anti-Violence Charity in NYC

We stop and prevent violence

We train and employ a team of community members and young people, many of whom have lost family members to gun violence or were involved in street activity when they were younger, and deploy them to the community to stop violence before it happens.  Majority of violence in our community is retaliatory, so it imperative that we are able to respond to any sort of violence to prevent retaliation by the victim’s family or friends.  These violence intervention and prevention workers literally interrupt acts of violence as they are happening or just before they are about to happen.  They are on the front-lines of the war that rages in our community. 

We also believe in investing in preventative measures, so no young person ever feels the necessity to respond to their daily conflict with violence.  Our full program includes: anger-management, mediation classes, hip-hop yoga and group counseling.

It’s in the numbers

During the prior eighteen months, before our full program was implemented, 17 people had been shot in our community.  

Once our program was fully operational, we had 340 days of NO SHOOTINGS in our target area in South Jamaica, Queens.

We mediated over 115 incidents that would have led to gun violence.

Then our funding got held up by red tape and our grant did not come in on time, so we had to stop paying our young people and had to close our community center.

In August, 5 people were shot!

The leader of LIFE Camp:

Erica Ford is widely respected as one of the most diligent and hard working activists of her generation. She is uncompromisingly dedicated to improving of the lives of Black and Latino youth and of the community-at-large. For over 20 years, this outstanding leader and internationally recognized peace activist has led the effort to combat violence and inspire youth in devastated communities. She is the Executive Director of LIFE Camp, a youth-based nonprofit organization which promotes the value of LIFE and develops teens and adults into peer leaders, to avoid becoming perpetrators or victims of violence.

“When President Obama convened his task force on gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Queens’ Erica Ford had a reserved seat at the table.”  ~ The NY Daily News


A letter from Erica Ford:

I started LIFE camp because the number of funerals I was attending for young people made me think there HAD to be something else, there had to be another way.

Ultimately it was my love for the people I grew up with that made me want to do this. A lot of men were killed in the crack epidemic in New York in the 1980s, and because of the repercussions, a lot of young people were left without parents. I wanted to give those kids life, and that’s why we came up with “LIFE”—it stands for “Love Ignites Freedom through Education.” We felt that if we provided them with something different, they would see a better way and then eventually live a better life.

I believe it’s imperative that we attempt to understand people on both sides of the pistol. They are both human beings, both victims. They both need help, because hurt people hurt people. This philosophy is at the core of LIFE camp and I truly believe this is why we have been able to stop so many potentially violent situations.

Gun violence is not a problem that is regulated to one area of a neighborhood, a city, or a state. Gun violence has permeated our national conscience. It is a disease that is spreading and that needs to be stopped. We have to look at violence as a disease and fight it just like you fight a flu or malaria. We have to change the paradigm of how we address these issues and LIFE Camp is that new paradigm.

Through the years I’ve learned that I can’t do this alone. I need the mothers who have lost children and can now bear their pain to lend a shoulder to the mothers who feel they can’t go on. I need the young people who have been locked up to mentor the younger generation away from jail. I need people from both sides of the gun to get services. And I need YOU in order to be able to do all of this!


Where the money will go

Every dollar you give, we greatly appreciate.   Every dollar we receive will help save a life.

The $100,000 we seek to raise will be used for the following:

  1. Keeping the “I Love My LIFE” community center open.
  2. Immediately putting the full “I Love My LIFE” violence intervention and prevention team back to work in the streets, in the schools and with the families in Southeast Queens.
  3. Re-institute the “I Love My LIFE” tour to churches, senior centers, civics and community groups that will teach parents how to keep their children alive and out of negative gang activity.
  4. Re-institute the “I Love My LIFE” tour to schools, centers and corners that will teach young people how to love their lives and avoid conflicts that can lead to lost of life.
  5. Re-institute our full mental health program of yoga, meditation and healthy eating.


Thank you from the bottom of our hears for joining our movement! 

Erica Ford

There are simply two words I would like to say to you: THANK YOU!

In September, after the landlord to our community center turned off our electricity and our doors had to be closed, I thought LIFE Camp would be over forever. But, through the will of a group of incredible supporters, they would not us stay closed for too long. On Monday morning of this week, our doors were re-opened, our lights were turned back on, our heat (it's cold in NYC this week!) worked and most importantly, young people were given their jobs back! This could not of happened if it wasn't for YOU! You made this happen. Whether you gave $1 or $50,000, it did not matter to us, because we knew you gave whatever you could and for that we are eternally grateful!!

Over 550 people gave to our campaign and through donations on Crowdtilt and a few checks we received in the mail, we raised $129,550 in 31 days!!!!!!!! I want to sincerely thank the folks at Crowdtilt as they have been supportive of this campaign every step of the way...above and beyond anything we ever expected. I encourage you all, if you ever want to do a crowd-sourcing campaign, use Crowdtilt.

We have much work to do in the coming months. We are working with some great partners to create new strategies for fundraising, as we never want to be put in this situation again. We are devising new models of sustainability and other sources of income, so LIFE Camp can serve our community without any interruption.

We hope that this experience inspired you as well, to help not just our program, but other anti-violence programs in your community and around the country. We all strive for a day where no mother or no father has to ever bury their child. We will not stop until that day comes true.

Lastly, everyone at LIFE Camp would like to wish you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving, a joyous holiday and a peaceful new year!


Erica Ford

a year ago
Erica Ford 30 minutes left!!! Can we reach $60,000.  We are soooo close.  Can you give a little more.  Get a friend to donate?  Let's break $60,000!!!

a year ago
Erica FordAs a long-time supporter of our program, Russell Simmons has asked if he could send out the latest update on the campaign.   The following is his short message:

To all of the amazingly generous, kind, compassionate people who have donated to LIFE Camp,

I have asked Erica if we could extend the campaign for a few more days, as I have a lot more phone calls and emails to send to my friends and family to urge them to donate to this incredible program. She willingly obliged.  So, I have been on the phone all day trying to raise as much money as I possibly can before the campaign ends on Friday.  I have donated, my companies have donated, and I think I am about to announce a big donation from my ex-wife!  But, this isn't about me, this is about you!

What I have found the most inspiring is the person that has given $1.  We have had over 15 different people donate $1. These kind people have taken the time to punch in their information, fill out that hard to read code, and donate, because they really wanted to give...give something...a statement of support. I have always believed that every gift is a prayer, and the more prayers we can get, the more hope we can bring to the community in Queens, NY that raised me. So imagine if we had 100,000 people give $1.  A 100,000 prayers is a much stronger foundation for a movement than one person coming in to "save" the day.  This campaign was never about what celebrity or what wealthy individual can fund LIFE Camp, it is about a collection of prayers from everyone, from the $1 donor to the $10,000 donor, to better the chance for young people to live a peaceful lifestyle.

So, to the people who have supported LIFE Camp for a long time, we thank you for your continued support.  For those who are new supporters, welcome to the family.  I plan on throwing a big party for LIFE Camp in the coming months at their headquarters in Queens for all of those who donated, so I look forward to meeting you all.

But, before we celebrate...let's raise LIFE Camp a few more bucks.  Let's call our mothers, our fathers, our sons and daughters, our husbands, our wives and even our ex-wives and our ex-husbands.  Let's email our co-workers, our colleagues, our bosses and our peers.  Let's tweet, facebook, instagram and post on tumblr. Let's put all the energy we can afford into the next three days to give as many prayers as we can to the young people of Jamaica, Queens. Let's give LIFE!

With love, all things are possible.
Russell Simmons
a year ago
Erica Ford10 days left to save LIFE Camp...
When we started this campaign, everyone told us we would never succeed.  They told us don't try to raise $100,000, try to raise $10,000 or $25,000.  What they didn't understand is that we had no choice.  This isn't a number that we made up or that we dreamed about.  This is a number that we have to raise to re-open our community center and put the young people back to the work.  Crowdtilt advised us to put the "tilt" number at $50,000, so we did.  We are incredibly grateful that we have already "tilted" this campaign, but we must raise more. We MUST get to $100,000. There is no other option.

I have spent the last few weeks running around Queens trying to do whatever we can, with no money, to stop young people from shooting each other.  I have had help from incredible volunteers who believe in what we do and know that we have no other option but to keep working. Our worst nightmare is to wake up to a phone call from a crying mother...this is not an option.  I need our young people back in the office, back on the streets and back in the schools.  They are soldiers for peace and I know once they get back to work, we can make it through the winter with no shootings.

So...we carry on.  Working eighteen, twenty hour days, we carry on.  We carry on until the day when the guns are put down and the tears are dried up.  This is our mission, this is our purpose, this is our only option.

I am asking you, as our core supporters, to help us during these last 10 days to reach $100,000.  If you can dig a little deeper in your own pocket, please dig.  If you call a friend or relative and ask them to find $5, $50 or $500 to give to this campaign, please make that call.  If you can tweet out a message of encouragement to your followers to join you on this campaign, please tweet.  We are in this together.  We are in this for each other.  And we are in this, because there is no other option.

THANK YOU for your kindness and generosity...we are eternally grateful.

Erica Ford
a year ago