Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence


MISSION of the Blue Ribbon Commission is to provide leadership, foster collaboration and develop resources for addressing youth violence in New Hanover County by:

Providing a cohesive vision and comprehensive strategic plan

Overcoming current fragmented programs by consolidating, coordinating and streamlining communication and eliminating redundancy

Securing resources to sustain needed programs

Ensuring accountability by monitoring and evaluating progress

Advocating for programs

Educating the community about the issue of youth violence

To learn more about the issues surrounding youth violence in the Cape Fear community, click here.

Blue Ribbon Commission Strategic Plan (currently being revised)

Semi-Annual Report

Youth Ambassador Program Application

Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission include the following:

  • Bill Saffo, Mayor of Wilmington
  • Jonathan Barfield, Chair, New Hanover County Commissioners
  • Dr. Tim Markley, New Hanover County School Superintendant
  • Ben David, District Attorney of the 5th Prosecutorial Judicial
  • District
  • Phyllis Gorham, Superior Court Judge
  • James Faison, District Court Judge
  • Pastor Robert Campbell
  • Ernie Thompson, First Presbyterian Church
  • Connie Majure-Rhett, CEO, Chamber of Commerce
  • MaryEllen Bonczek, New Hanover Regional Medical Center

The commission is supported by Tufanna Thomas, Strategic Director for the Blue Ribbon Commission, who will be a conduit between the commission and a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from programs addressing youth violence in the community under the following categories:

  • Enforcement
  • Research
  • Prevention
  • Intervention

Education Action Team

Co-chairs: Dr. Tim Markley and Nick Rhoades

Community Engagement Action Team

Co-chairs: Rev. Robert Campbell and Megan Davenport

Youth Violence Action Team

Co-chairs: Ben David and Frankie Roberts

Rankin Park Initiative
Chair: Richard McNinch, Corning Inc.

For a complete listing of members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, Technical Advisory Committee, and Action Teams CLICK HERE

Youth Enrichment Zone:
The Youth Enrichment Zone (YEZ) is a project modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone.  The goal is to transform communities one block, one area at a time by identifying, coordinating, and making community resources available to reduce youth violence.  This is a community effort, led by the BRC, to create a safe and caring environment for children and families.  This endeavor will include individuals in leadership roles, local organizations, area businesses and schools as well as residents of the YEZ.  Here’s a link showing the boundaries of the YEZ.  Through the coordination of a continuum of support and services for children and families, the YEZ aims to facilitate an increased availability of after school programs, summer programs, life-skills and parenting programs, and the development of violence prevention programs and activities.

The Rankin Park Project is an initiative of the Blue Ribbon Commission and Youth Enrichment Zone.  The purpose of the project is to provide positive recreation and alternatives for children, youth and families who live in the Youth Enrichment Zone.  The project is led by residents, businesses and corporations with hopes to provide more amenities for families in the Rankin Park.



Blue Ribbon Commission offices are located at 801 Princess Street in downtown Wilmington.  They can be reached by phone at (910)-399-4512.

For more information, visit their website at