The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is a gun violence prevention group based in Newtown, Connecticut, formed by families of victims of the 2012 school spree shooting in the town. The organization has advocated for some gun control policies, though the organization does not focus on lobbying and advocacy for gun control.
Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the 501(c)(4) advocacy and lobbying group Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund.
Sandy Hook Promise Foundation runs several programs to target behaviors suspected to be precursors to school violence that have been used in schools throughout the country. One program is known as “Say Something,” which teaches students and teachers to recognize and respond to warning signs that a student may harm themselves or others. Another program is known as “Start with Hello,” which seeks to reduce social isolation by encouraging students to reach out to peers and create a “culture of inclusion” in schools.
Another program that the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation runs is called “Know the Signs,” which details how to identify, intervene, and get help for individuals before they hurt themselves or others. Another program that the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation runs is called “SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program,” which offers training for students and adults about the warning signs of youth suicide and how to intervene before violence or self-harm occurs. Another program that the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation runs is their “Safety Assessment and Intervention” training, which trains schools and community organizations on how to identify, assess and respond to threatening behaviors before they escalate to violence.
Positions on Firearms Rights
The Sandy Hook Promise organizations have advocated for some gun control policies despite claiming, in the words of co-founder Mark Barden, “you will never see [Sandy Hook Promise] advocating for anything that even compromises or at all infringes on anybody’s right to have their gun, ever.”
In 2018, Tony Baker, former chief of staff for Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Connecticut), was hired by Sandy Hook Promise after he was fired from Rep. Esty’s office for allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend, who also worked for Rep. Esty. Sandy Hook Promise fired him after he was contacted by the Washington Post regarding the allegations.
In April 2015, the families of 11 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting issued a statement clarifying that they are not involved with Sandy Hook Promise. The statement sought to clarify the issue for donors who might mistakenly believe they were directly supporting the victims’ families.
In 2018, at the group’s annual Promise Champions Gala, Sandy Hook Promise honored House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Washington) for her role in supporting the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 and helping it to pass in the House of Representatives.
In June 2017, talk show host Megyn Kelly was removed as the host of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation’s annual Promise Champions Gala over her decision to interview controversial radio host Alex Jones on her NBC show Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Jones had previously falsely claimed that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a government-perpetrated hoax. Sandy Hook parent Nicole Hockley issued a statement saying, “Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host,” in response to Kelly’s decision to interview Jones. Kelly defended her decision to do the interview, saying it was important to “shine a light” on Jones.
The executive director of Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is Tim Makris. Makris is the father of Philip Makris, who was killed at in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012.