Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is trying his hand at playing Robin Hood.
Vance on Monday awarded $57.9 million in grant funding to community organizations focusing on helping children and families. The money was obtained through a series of settlements with international banks that violated U.S. sanctions, according to his office.
“I would so much rather [be] on the backbench of a gymnasium watching kids doing something productive ... than I would be on the backbench of a courtroom watching somebody whose sentenced as a result of criminal prosecution,” Vance said. “This is investing in the way forward, it’s investing in our future. And it’s not the last you’ll hear of us.”
Of the funding, $45.9 million will be used to create “Youth Opportunity Hubs” in East Harlem, Central and West Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side. In turn, the hubs will bring together different community organizations to function in one space.
Another $12 million will be given to several organizations that specialize in family and youth development, according to Vance, including the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation.
Torre’s foundation works with families affected by domestic violence and will focus on Washington Heights. Torre himself, MLB’s chief baseball officer and former Yankees manager, said he grew up in a home where his father was very abusive to his mother, even recalling when his dad threatened his mom with a revolver.
“Early intervention and prevention — if we’re ever going to make an impact on ending the cycle of domestic violence — we need these youngsters, these young people to ... be educated,” said Torre. “It’s our responsibility.”