Philadelphia, July 1, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia is partnering with social entrepreneur and humanitarian Peter Thum’s newest effort, Liberty United. Liberty United transforms the remnants of guns and bullets collected in cities across the United States into jewelry and art. Proceeds from the sale of Liberty United pieces fund programs to reduce gun violence through collaboration with cities across the country.
“I’m honored to welcome Peter Thum and Liberty United to the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am pleased to announce that the first two programs to directly benefit from our partnership are the Mural Arts Program’s (MAP) Guild Program and the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network (PAAN). These two programs have a proven track-record of results in our communities, and through our partnership with Liberty United, they will now have additional resources to make an even bigger impact in the lives of young Philadelphians.”
Liberty United was started by Peter Thum and Cara Buono. Their first creative collaboration is with Philip and Courtney Crangi, whose Giles and Brother Railroad Spike Collection is the first set of pieces from Liberty United. Each piece incorporates recycled gunmetal or bullets and bears the serial number of an illegal weapon that has been recycled. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the proceeds from the Spike Collection will support programs working to reduce gun violence in America.
“Americans should not be dying due to gun violence; the numbers and the stories behind them are tragic,” said Peter Thum. “We’ve been working to reduce gun violence for the past four years. Recently, we launched Liberty United to destroy illegal guns and bullets and to make beautiful jewelry from them to fund the reduction of gun violence. We are proud to be working with the City of Philadelphia and to fund programs here to help reduce gun violence.”
Customers can choose to customize pieces with an engraving. When the customer selects Philadelphia as the beneficiary on the sales form, profits will be earmarked for the Philadelphia-based partner organizations. The proceeds from purchases made without the selection of a specific partner city will be divided evenly among all of them. Other partner cities include: Newburgh, New York, and Syracuse, New York. Liberty United intends to expand to include additional partner cities in the future.
The Mural Arts Program’s Guild Program is a collaboration between the Mural Arts Program and the City’s Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. The program provides training and job skills to young adult offenders on probation who are participating in the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. Participants learn mural restoration, construction and safety standards, landscaping and traditional mural-making techniques in addition to other job-readiness training. Since its establishment in 1999, the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership has sought to help 14 – 24 year olds who have had contact with the juvenile justice system and are now ‘at risk’.
“I’m so honored that the Guild program will be a beneficiary of Philadelphia’s partnership with Liberty United. It’s the perfect match, since our missions are the same – taking something negative and creating from it something positive and beautiful,” said Michael Whittington, Guild Program Coordinator for the Mural Arts Program.
The Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network (PAAN) will also benefit from the City’s partnership with Liberty United. PAAN promotes community safety by providing services that reduce drug abuse and violence. Since its inception in 1989, PAAN has become a successful street-based community violence prevention agency in the City. PAAN also participates in the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership to provide participants with increased supervision and support through access to resources like employment, mentoring, healthcare and drug treatment.
The Liberty United Spike Collection includes two cuffs, a ring and a necklace, which are available in brass, steel, stainless steel, and sterling silver and range in price from $85 to $695. They can be purchased from Liberty United’s website (www.libertyunited.com).
Liberty United is a social venture created by Peter Thum and his wife, Cara Buono, a mother, actress and humanitarian. Peter Thum is the co-founder and CEO of Fonderie 47, which creates jewelry from AK47s to fund disarmament in Africa. Fonderie 47 has destroyed more than 32,000 assault rifles in Africa. Thum also founded Ethos Water, which was acquired by Starbucks, and served as Vice President of Starbucks Corporation and Director of the Starbucks Foundation. Ethos Water has donated more than $7 million and has helped approximately half a million people around the world gain access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education. He has founded and overseen various non-profit charities dedicated to solving global crises.