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  • SHP launches Promise Leader initiative which trains and develops community-based leaders to implement awareness and prevention program implementation in their home.
  • SHP and Americans For Responsible Solutions work with Facebook to implement new policy to reduce the sale of firearms on their Facebook social media platform.
  • Mark Barden, Advocacy Director at SHP, receives White House Champion of Change Award for his selfless work advocating to prevent gun violence.
  • SHP launches national program platform in areas of mental health & wellness and gun safety. In total, 5 programs and practices are launched.
  • SHP launched Promise College initiative at Tufts and Brown for 2014-15 school year educating young adults and training them in Mental Health First Aid.
  • SHP signs-up 200 Promise Leaders across the nation to help implement programs and raise awareness of gun violence.
  • SHP launches its field force into Ohio to build out and mobilize Promise Leaders to raise awareness and deliver programs to Schools and community-based organizations. While SHP has launched all programs and Promise Leader actions nationally, Ohio will serve as a test state to build out our change model.
  • SHP launches Promise Day event – monthly call to action of our supporters to take meaningful action in their homes and communities.
  • SHP launches Say Something campaign in Ohio to teach teens how to recognize the signs and signals in social media of someone who may harm themselves or others.
  • SHP launches advertising campaign test to build base of supporters (to date all was earned organically). Attract 70,000 supporters to Make the Promise returning a ROI of nearly 200% versus investment.
  • SHP launches Monsters Under the Bed awareness video and What They Left Behind documentary. Over 1.9 million people are reached and 400,000 view Monsters.
  • SHP helps pass Background Check initiative in WA. SHP helps pass and progress legislation in multiple states and helped pass national legislation to improve the NICs system.
  • SHP endorses and continues support for Mental Health First Aid Federal legislation and works with Representatives Murphy and Thompson on House versions of Mental Health to improve access and care.
  • SHP pursued and progressed Child Access Protection legislation within multiple states including Ohio and Pennsylvania.
  • SHP reaches 400,000+ “Promise Maker” base of supporters, 100,000+ Facebook supporters … doubling our size in less than one year.



  • SHP launched by 16 families whose children and spouses were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary and members of the community – “The Promise” shared and read 10s of millions of times.
  • SHP launches Tech Initiative to fund and identify how technology can make firearms safer – to date $1.5M has been invested and awarded.
  • SHP featured on nearly all major network and cable news shows including a double-segment on 60 Minutes introducing our thinking and approach to gun violence prevention.
  • SHP launches TV/Digital advertising campaign featuring family members asking America to Make the Promise.
  • SHP progresses and helps gain the passage of sensible, comprehensive mental health & wellness and gun safety & access laws in Connecticut.
  • SHP single driver in attaining cloture vote on Background Checks in the Senate in April 2013. SHP had 17 families from Sandy Hook who lobbied 49 Senators in 7 days.
  • SHP launches comprehensive research to understand causes, enablers of gun violence and to identify real solutions – we met with academics, medical professionals, law enforcement, gun-owners and groups, educators and overall experts in the space of gun violence prevention.
  • SHP initiates and partners with Senate and House members to develop Mental Health legislation – we anticipate bills being introduced in late 2015.
  • SHP, throughout the spring of 2013, lead passage of legislation in Delaware, Illinois and New Jersey. Progressed changes in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
  • In the Fall 2013, SHP announces core purpose and actions – shifts from policy focus to community-based prevention through programs and practices, education and awareness and changing “gun violence acceptance” attitudes & behaviors.
  • SHP launches “Parent Together” national campaign asking parents to join with other parents, at a community level, in supporting sensible solutions that help prevent gun violence, regardless of their relationship to the gun issue.
  • 180,000 Americans “Make the Promise” to protect children from gun violence.

Legislative Platform

We're currently advocating for three main gun violence prevention policies:

Pass the STOP School Violence Act

Following tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, the federal government has funded short-term school safety initiatives focused on crisis response, active shooters, and physical infrastructure. While these are important investments, we have not yet seen sustained strategies to prevent youth violence or STOP suicides and violence in our schools before they happen. Our students, educators, and local law enforcement need the tools and support to take proactive and continuous steps towards improving school safety.

Sandy Hook Promise supports H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act. This legislation would provide grants to states to help our schools implement proven, evidence-based programs that STOP violence before it happens.

The STOP School Violence Act would fund programs to:

    • Train everyone in the school ecosystem – school personnel, local law enforcement, and students – to identify and intervene to stop dangerous, violent or unlawful activities;
    • Develop and implement anonymous reporting systems for collecting and responding to threats of school violence, in coordinate with local law enforcement; and
    • Develop and operate Secret Service-based school threat assessment & intervention teams, and crisis intervention teams, to preemptively triage threats before tragedy hits.

Pass Model School Safety Policy

In the vast majority of incidents of school violence, students display many warning signs or signals before taking harmful action. We already have evidence-based programs that we know have helped to stop multiple school shootings, suicides, and other acts of school violence. Sandy Hook Promise supports state policy to require all schools to implement the following proven school safety programming to stop violence before it happens.

    • School Threat Assessment: Threat assessment teaches adults in schools and youth organizations how to identify, assess and respond to threats of violence or at-risk behavior BEFORE a tragedy takes place. Threat assessment not only addresses the threat itself but also the helps identify and treat the underlying problem in that youth's life that led to him/her making the threat.
    • Student Safety and Violence Prevention Training: Students need training to recognize signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and be encouraged and empowered to say something to a trusted adult BEFORE it is too late. This training should be required at least once a year in every school.
    • School Personnel and Student Suicide Prevention Training: Youth, educators and administrators must know how to identify, intervene and get help for youth who may be depressed or suicidal. Every school should be required to provide at least one hour of evidence-based suicide prevention training each year to both students and teachers.
    • Anonymous Reporting System: Every state should establish an anonymous reporting system, with supporting training, that would be 24/7, free and accessible to all schools, parents, teachers, students, and administrators. This is a critical way to make sure everyone in the school ecosystem knows how to identify the warning signs of violence and that this information quickly gets to those who can help prevent harm.


Pass Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In the aftermath of a shooting incident, we often hear stories from friends or family members about the warning signs the shooter exhibited. If a family is concerned that a loved one poses a risk to themselves or others, but a crime has not yet been committed and the individual does not meet the criteria for firearms prohibition under the mental health categories of the law, there is little they can do to protect their loved one or the public.

Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) empower family members and law enforcement agencies to prevent gun suicides and other gun violence tragedies before they happen. Under such a law, family members and law enforcement officials can petition a court to temporarily separate at-risk individuals from firearms. If the judge finds the person poses a significant danger of injury to self or others, the judge will order that the firearms be temporarily placed in safe storage until the person receives the help they need.

Sandy Hook Promise supports legislation that would enable family or friends to alert law enforcement to a potentially dangerous situation and give law enforcement the tools and authority they need to remove firearms in the interest of public safety. This legislation can be passed at the state level, as it has been in Connecticut, California, Oregon, Indiana, and Washington. Congress can also take action at the federal level to mandate or incentivize state passage of these life-saving laws.

Our Mission

Enact sensible gun violence prevention laws, policy and regulations at a state and federal level, in the areas of mental health & wellness and gun safety that result in the reduction of gun-related death and injury.


Our Board

Promise Leader Responsibilities


What is a Promise Leader?

A Promise Leader is a committed supporter of Sandy Hook Promise’s mission and approach who is willing to go beyond activity at the individual level and bring Sandy Hook Promise programs to a larger audience within their community (that audience could be at a school, place of worship, civic organization, or other youth-oriented organization).

Each Promise Leader will look different depending on their area of interest, network, culture of the organization or institution, and the time they have available. Many of Sandy Hook Promise’s Promise Leader activities can be customized to meet the unique needs of your organization or institution and can be done in just a few hours a month.

Why Promise Leaders?

Sandy Hook Promise is supported by over 810,000+ individuals. These individuals support the work of Sandy Hook Promise by educating themselves on how to protect children from gun violence via in-home programs, sharing SHP news, responding to SHP digital requests and making personal donations. We are incredibly grateful for the work and support of these individuals.

To fulfill our mission, we must not only act within our homes and digitally, but also act “on the ground” within our communities. To do that, we need volunteer Promise Leaders who are committed to working with schools, colleges and universities, places of worship, workplaces, youth serving agencies, libraries or community centers, nonprofit organizations and community or civic groups to help build awareness and help deliver our prevention programs.  

What is my role and responsibility as a Promise Leader?

Promise Leaders agree to implement a Sandy Hook Promise Prevention Program or organize a Sandy Hook Promise Awareness Building Activity within their organization or community at least 2-3 times each calendar year. This could include:

  1. Raising awareness and engaging new Sandy Hook Promise supporters to help protect children from gun violence through:
    • Organizing small or large events that educate members of your community about Sandy Hook Promise, such as house-party discussions, round-table talks and tabling events at community resource fairs.
    • Creating and delivering online and social media campaigns that build our movement by growing the number of new Promise Makers by asking them to Make the Promise to protect children from gun violence.
    • Recruiting others from your organization or community to become Promise Leaders and help you organize awareness building events or implement Sandy Hook Promise programs.
  2. Empowering and educating others within your community on the seemingly simple, yet powerful actions they can take to prevent gun violence and protect children through:
    • Bringing a Sandy Hook Promise program, such as Youth Mental Health First Aid or Say Something to their school, youth serving organization, or other community institution or organization.
    • Approaching and engaging parents, schools and other community-based organizations and asking them to bring a Sandy Hook Promise program to their home or organization.
    • Engaging local media in promoting and supporting Sandy Hook Promise programs and mission.
  3. When needed (and if you choose), help support policy change that compliments our programs by:
    • Identifying, developing and/or supporting existing sensible policy.
    • Advocating for county, state and/or federal sensible policy change.
    • Raising awareness, engaging others, helping make calls to community members, visiting with/calling legislators.

How will Sandy Hook Promise support you as a Promise Leader?

By signing up to become a Promise Leader, you will join Promise Leaders from across the United States working to protect their communities and children from gun related tragedies. Sandy Hook Promise will provide you with resources, training, support, and recognition.

When you sign up as a Promise Leader with Sandy Hook Promise, you will receive:

  • A downloadable Promise Leader toolkit to assist you in implementing your chosen prevention program or awareness building activity. The toolkit includes materials, tip sheets and sample tools to help you get started.
  • Access to a private, online Sandy Hook Promise Leader group where you can share ideas, get advice, and connect with other Promise Leaders across the county.
  • Monthly informational and educational email newsletters.
  • Invitations to join occasional training related conference calls and webinars with other Promise Leaders across the country.
  • Invitations to attend Sandy Hook Promise meetings and events in your area.
  • Recognition via Promise Leader certificates and the sharing of your success stories and activities via the Sandy Hook Promise website, newsletters and social media.


Get Involved


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    Advocate for state and federal policy changes in the areas of mental wellness and gun safety.

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    Help us raise awareness, educate and engage individuals and communities on causes of and solutions to preventing gun violence.



Our mission is simple: to prevent gun violence against children. Your donations will help us continue to work towards achieving this mission.  

Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund is a 501(C)(4) tax-exempt public charity. Your donation is not tax deductible and goes toward policy and non-policy campaigns to prevent gun violence.

Donate to the Action Fund

Sandy Hook Promise additional donation options

  1. Stock Donation or Planned Gift to SHP: Please call us at (203) 304-9780 or email us at
  2. Support our SHP Action Fund: Non tax deductible fund dedicated to advocate for state and federal policy changes in the areas of mental wellness and gun safety.
  3. Support our SHP Foundation: Tax-deductible fund dedicated to building a national network of Promise Communities committed to Parent Together and implement mental wellness, community and gun safety programs. 
  4. If you prefer to make a donation by check, it should be made payable to the Sandy Hook Promise Community Fund and mailed to: PO Box 3489, Newtown, CT 06470, Attention: Development.

You Can Help Us Achieve More

The SHP Community Fund is a restricted fund dedicated solely to the Newtown community. It is needs based – requiring individuals and/or C3 organizations to request assistance from SHP. SHP will also develop programs with funding as needed. No fees and/or administrative costs are taken from this fund.

Donate to the Community Fund

What is the Community Fund?

Your donations to the Sandy Hook Promise Community Fund will help provide immediate and long-term aid to family members who lost loved ones, those wounded, and others in our community impacted by this tragedy.

The SHP Community Fund is a restricted fund dedicated solely to the Newtown community. It is needs based – requiring individuals and/or C3 organizations to request assistance from SHP. SHP will also develop programs with funding as needed. No fees and/or administrative costs are taken from this fund.