KXAN Austin

Camila, Matthew McConaughey start initiative aimed at making school safety grants more accessible

(KXAN) — Camila and Matthew McConaughey are behind a new initiative operating with the goal of helping improve school safety.

The Texas couple started the Greenlights Grant Initiative to “help more school districts across the country gain access to federal funds to make their students safer, healthier, and happier,” an announcement on the initiative’s website said.

The project was launched almost a year after the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was enacted in the wake of mass shootings and school shootings like the Robb Elementary School shooting that happened in Matthew McConaughey’s hometown of Uvalde last May. McConaughey played a part in getting the bipartisan bill off the ground.

The bill, according to the project’s website, “made common-sense reforms to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people, and also allocated billions of dollars to help school districts make their schools safer.”

However, much of the funds were allocated in the form of competitive grants, which can be complex and expensive for school districts to secure, the website said.

The goal of the Greenlights Grant Initiative is to support school districts in this process. After speaking with Congressman Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, we learned that many school district leaders in Texas were unaware of federal school safety grants made available by this legislation, or had tremendous difficulty accessing them. Applying for federal grants is incredibly complex and hiring a grant writer, which can cost up to $50,000 to write one federal grant, is unobtainable for so many school districts, especially some of those most in need for that support.

Camila and Matthew McConaughey, via the Greenlights Grant Initiate website

The website said the goal is to “demystify” the grant application process, get the word out to more school districts that grants are available, help districts secure the funding, and to make securing these kinds of grants easier in the future.

“The Greenlights Grant Initiative offers a short-term philanthropic intervention to help school districts get the support they need now,” the website reads. “Our long-term goal is to reform the grantmaking system to ensure that securing federal grant funding is not so difficult.”

The project’s website has a list of grants that are available under the Safer Communities Act and helps provide resources to districts that may need additional help applying for those grants.

The initiative is being done through the McConaugheys’ just keep livin Foundation.