CJI's Strategic Grant Making Focus for 2016

Each year CJI chooses a specific RFP focus to further that goal. CJI 2016 grant making will focus on strategic movement building that includes the leadership of formerly incarcerated people, directly impacted communities and their families. Specific criteria for the RFP will be released on September 1, 2015.

Who We Fund

CJI is an incubator for emerging and small, established organizations that are engaged in strategic criminal justice movement work with marginalized communities: including people of color, young people, immigrants, gender and sexual minorities,[2]incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, Native Americans, low-income communities and other communities impacted by the criminal justice and immigration systems.

CJI funds organizations that: 

  • are focused on community organizing, often with member-led structures. CJI funds both groups focused exclusively on criminal justice as well as multi-issue organizations with targeted criminal justice work intended to build the movement.

  • have a clear vision for how their work will bring about systemic change and strengthen the larger movement to transform the criminal justice system

  •  include the leadership of formerly incarcerated people, those directly impacted by state violence, or the criminal justice system in general

  • are part of intersectional networks, alliances or coalitions that are building power for transformational change

The following key issues are general funding priorities

  • Organizing to end police abuse and excessive policing;

  • Organizing to end Mass Criminalization and Perpetual Punishment (racial profiling, prison human rights violations, social marginalization in voting, housing, jobs, and automatic termination of parental rights, harsh sentencing, the death penalty, etc.);

  • Organizing to end Crimmigration[3] by working to eradicate mass detention and deportation, and the abolition of private prisons, in collaboration with the larger movement against mass incarceration; 

  • Organizing that promotes the development and use of alternatives to incarceration (ATI), innovative, community-based safety structures and authentic restorative justice programs; and, 

  • Healing work that addresses the trauma of incarceration, detention, and state violence and its impact on individuals and families, thereby preparing impacted communities to assume leadership positions.

What We Don’t Fund 

  • Annual fundraising drives; 

  • Projects undertaken by individuals; 

  • Capital costs, including equipment or real estate purchases or renovations; and, 

  • Isolated organizations not working with others.

  • Healing work that is not connected to organizing or the movement

  • Direct services, such as housing, provision of clothes, shelter, food, etc., or standalone legal services

  • Organizations with budgets much larger than $500,000.

[1] Mass Criminalization: state policies and practices that criminalize daily life based on identity; including race, economic status, migrant status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

[2] Gender and sexual minorities (GSM): anyone who does not identify as cisgender and/or heterosexual; asexual, bisexual, gay, genderqueer, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, undecided.

[3] Crimmigration: the intersection of criminal and immigration policies which criminalize the pursuit of basic human rights and needs, such as safety, work, food, education and health care, etc.