ISPN was founded by Sister Ann Keefe and Father Ray Malm in 2001 in the rectory of St. Michael’s Church in South Providence. They were angry about the overwhelming amount of young people they had to bury because of gang violence and knew they had to act. Based on the principles and practices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theory of nonviolence, The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence was born. Their dream was to teach nonviolence to everyone, to increase a person’s ability to see alternate solutions to potentially violent solutions.
Sister Ann and Father Ray wanted to build Dr. King’s ideal Beloved Community, where no one is excluded and everyone is welcome and treated with dignity and respect. That dream has since grown into offering comprehensive and holistic programs and services to support violence prone communities and countless victims of violence: Employment and Education, Victim Support, Nonviolence Streetworker Outreach and Re-Entry, and Nonviolence Training and Nonviolent Conflict Resolution Workshops. Together, these services provide our clients with a continuum of care to ensure they stay alive, feel a sense of purpose and are able to be productive members of the community.
ISPN’s nationally recognized model of violence reduction using nonviolence is being deployed in cities throughout the state and country, in places such as Providence, RI, Pawtucket, RI, Central Falls, RI, New Bedford, MA, Fall River, MA, Brockton, MA, Wyandanch, NY and Chicago, IL. Teny Gross, ISPN’s former Executive Director, is currently the Executive Director for the Institute for Nonviolence- Chicago, and using our Violence Reduction model in the Austin Neighborhood of Chicago.