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  4. TVTP Grantee One World Strong Showcases Pipeline from Idea to Action to Grant

TVTP Grantee One World Strong Showcases Pipeline from Idea to Action to Grant

Release Date: June 21, 2024

Where it All Began 

On April 15, 2013, around 30,000 runners gathered to complete the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon. That afternoon, with approximately 5,700 runners left to complete the course, two bombs detonated near the finish line, killing three and injuring hundreds. One of those injured was Dave Fortier, who was hit by shrapnel from the first bomb. 

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Fortier was moved by the selfless offers of help from bystanders. Similarly, during recovery, he was again heartened by an organization called Semper Fi and America’s Fund, which sent veterans to meet with survivors of the bombing. These were people who had experienced similar injuries and were able to lend support and assistance in a way that differed from the help provided by medical personnel, counselors, and family members. 

It was in this moment that Fortier knew he wanted to give back to hurt communities in the same way. 

Creating One World Strong 

On June 12, 2016, Fortier and other Boston Marathon bombing survivors traveled to Orlando, Florida, to connect with survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. He got the chance to be on the other side of the peer-to-peer support, and it made him realize he wanted to continue to do this type of volunteer work. This was further solidified during a speaking engagement in 2017, where he realized most of the audience was not aware of a terrorist attack that had happened overseas and killed nearly 600 people. The need for people to help people was unmet, and Fortier realized he would start his own non-profit to accomplish that mission. 

One World Strong’s mission is “to establish a vibrant international community of survivors of terrorism, hate crimes, or traumatic events that provides peer-to-peer hope, support, and mentorship to anyone impacted by these events.” The organization focuses on supporting survivors and helping survivors share their stories to support violence prevention efforts.  

“It’s a driving factor to be able to help other people, and that assistance that you’re providing others provides a healing power in yourself,” Fortier said. “There’s no timeline on a healing process. Some people might be okay after an event. For others, it takes a lot of time — some people don’t even realize they need help right away. And the role we play is letting folks know that there are people out there who have been through something similar and are able to help.” 


An Introduction to DHS and the TVTP Grant Program 

In June 2018, Fortier spoke about the creation of One World Strong at an interagency roundtable hosted by the Department of State. While there, he was able to connect with personnel from CP3’s predecessor office, the Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (OTVTP). Fortier was able to make connections with employees who also had personal experience with terrorist attacks, and they discussed the overlap in his work with survivors and OTVTP’s expanding mission.    

OTVTP invited Fortier to speak at the Fourth Digital Forum on Terrorism Prevention on September 11, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The intent was to discuss innovative and inclusive ways of building the capacity of credible, local, non-government voices to challenge terrorism and violence. 

While there, Fortier met with a TVTP grantee, who encouraged him to apply for a grant. In Fiscal Year 2021, One World Strong received a TVTP grant to create the One World Online Resilience Center (OWORC), which serves as a one-stop shop for local terrorism prevention and victim services. The OWORC features terrorism prevention materials, terrorism victims’ services, and shareable content from survivors and former extremists to bolster resilience among local communities and undermine violent narratives.  

“We’ve received funding through the TVTP Grant Program, and we will continuously point people in that direction for funding,” Fortier said. “There are organizations like CP3 out there that can help, and I feel compelled to help others who are doing great work to find support and funding.” 


Last Updated: 06/25/2024
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