Live Free was founded by Rev. Michael McBride (Pastor Mike) in 2011. The root of this work was the initial community organizing that Pastor Mike and others began in Oakland, CA which produced the Oakland Ceasefire program, a violence intervention initiative that helped cut city-wide shootings and homicides in half. Live Free then launched a nationwide campaign to mobilize faith and directly-impacted leaders across the country in order to combat urban gun violence and mass incarceration.

Since that time, Live Free has been at the forefront of national efforts to scale up the implementation of proven gun violence reduction strategies–now referred to as community violence intervention (CVI)–at the local, state, and federal levels. As a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the President’s Gun Violence Task Force, Pastor Mike spent years pushing the White House, DOJ, and members of Congress to make heavy investments in CVI when few people knew what it was. 

In order to help build a national ecosystem of leaders and advocates in this field, Live Free has served as a national hub helping to launch, incubate, and support numerous initiatives. In 2016, Live Free helped fund the launch of Community Justice, an organization focused on influencing federal and state gun violence policy; in 2018, Live Free co-founded the Black Brown Peace Consortium which united violence intervention practitioners, advocates, and researchers into a national advocacy coalition; and, in 2021, Live Free raised funds to launch the Peace Consortium’s “Fund Peace” Campaign which helped to unlock billions of dollars in federal funding for CVI. 

Over the last decade, Live Free has trained, coached, and invested millions of dollars in leaders and organizations around the country working to end gun violence, re-shape public safety, and expand voter engagement in Black and Brown communities. At the local level, Live Free-supported organizing efforts have secured the launch of CVI programs in many cities including Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Indianapolis, Detroit, Birmingham, Montgomery, Orlando, and Oklahoma City (resulting in thousands of fewer shootings to date) while also winning a whole range of criminal justice and policing reforms in cities, counties, and states around the country.