In partnership The Open Society Foundations U.S. Programs,
The Criminal Justice Initiative of the Solidago Foundation announces a 2017 funding opportunity:

Arrest Diversion MicroGrants to Support Equity & Inclusion

DEADLINE EXTENDED: October 27, 2017

The Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) is excited to partner with the Open Society Foundations to fund viable alternatives to mass criminalization and incarceration as a response to drug use, sex work and other subsistence-driven trade. This funding collaboration is intended to strengthen community-driven health services and resource interventions made prior to or instead of arrest. The goal is to improve the capacity of community based organizations to deliver resources and harm-reduction services shown to improve health and well-being. Small, one-time micro-grants between $5,000 and $25,000 are available through a competitive application process. Ongoing funding is not guaranteed.

The Micro-Grant Competition will help 10 to 15 groups move a few steps toward achieving the following arrest diversion outcomes:

  • Arrest diversion programs will include leaders who are directly impacted and equitably resourced

  • Communities will design health-centered interventions that empower participants and measurably reduce the harms of policing drug use, sex work and other subsistence-based trade.

  • Organizations most responsive to the needs of over-policed communities will gain the tools and networks to systematically divert those facing greatest risk of incarceration.

    CJI will manage the application process. Grant selection will be made through consensus by CJI’s circle of activists and survivors of the war on drugs. Grant applications must be submitted online here to apply for these competitive grant funds.  Please read all instructions carefully.


KEY DATES:


Sept. 14th: RFP Release Date

Sept. 28th: Zoom Q&A for applicants

Oct. 6th: Final date for phone consultation w/CJI

Oct. 13th: Zoom Video Q&A for applicants

Oct. 27th: DEADLINE to submit application to CJI via submittable at https://criminaljusticeinitiative.submittable.com/submit

Dec. 15-22nd: CJI notifies Selected Grantees

Jan. 2018: Grant Funds Dispersed

Oct. 2019: Reporting and Feedback to CJI/OSF


WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

Applications will be accepted from organizations at any stage of developing an arrest diversion program. Proposals should be responsive to community needs, well thought out with a clear set of goals that can be achieved in 18 months.

  • Funding is prioritized for non-profit organizations and associations

  • Individuals and single-person LLCs are NOT eligible.

  • 501c3 registration is not required for entities operating under a fiscal sponsor or umbrella organization.

  • CJI will prioritize proposals that demonstrate authentic and equitable community engagement strategies that engage directly affected populations in co-design, implementation and evaluation of arrest diversion initiatives.

  • Funding is not restricted to ‘low level’ offense diversion. We encourage plans to divert populations traditionally ineligible for diversion such as individuals deemed ‘high risk’ or charged with felony or aggravated crimes.

  • Collaboration with other partners is encouraged, but not required, especially if they can be shown to increase potential number, quality or effectiveness of drug diversion programs in your area.

  • Organizations whose programs include aspects of healing and or trauma-reduction, especially those specifically designed for directly-impacted communities, are also encouraged to apply,

  • This is a specialized grant opportunity. CJI grantees that meet the criteria for this grant program are encouraged to apply. Application to this program does not disqualify an organization from consideration in the general CJI annual grants program.

 

HOW CAN AN ORGANIZATION USE THE FUNDS?

Projects will be selected based on ability to move the organization and its partners closer to implementing an arrest diversion system with sustainable survivor participation at the conclusion of the grant period. A maximum of 40% of the budget may be allocated to overhead costs (including staff time, administrative costs, and other indirect costs).

The following are a few examples for how grantees can use this funding:

  • Hire a coach or trainer to help design an organizing strategy for local constituencies of criminalized drug users, sex workers, family members or others targeted by policing, including strengthening the engagement of community members in the planning and implementation of pre-arrest diversion programs.

  • Resource stipends/expenses to include more survivors of the war on drugs, family members and community members living in poverty in the design or evaluation of arrest diversion programs.

  • Pay speaker fees and event costs for a jurisdiction-wide or neighborhood-based forum exploring community need and potential arrest diversion solutions.

  • Register for off-site leadership development or other programming to build technical skill set and capacity to successfully direct health outcomes.

 

TRAINING AND SUPPORT AVAILABLE DURING THE FUNDING PERIOD

For grantees just starting to plan a diversion project, we recommend organizations contact Katal Center for Health and Equity to customize technical assistance to meet your need. This may include training and other support for community members about (1) how to work with systems stakeholders and hold them accountable to community needs, or (2) how to connect local diversion programs and police accountability campaigns, with a focus on understanding the relationship between public safety and harm reduction. We recommend Katal because of their experience and because they have agreed to significantly reduce the cost of their trainings for organizations receiving these grants.

Do organizations have to work with Katal? NO, organizations may use their own service providers, especially in cases where they have previous experience with them. You also are invited to connect with resources and experts available at www.diversionhub.org. Unlike Katal Center, other providers are not funded by this partnership to reduce the cost to grantees. Applicants/grantees must develop communicate with the provider directly to create a budget. OSF and CJI will not play a role in negotiating contract fees/expenses on behalf of any grantee.


PARTNERSHIP GOALS AND ROLES

Solidago Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) is committed to the end of mass criminalization and resulting mass incarceration, driven in no small part by a failed drug war predicated on a punishment approach to drug use and its related behaviors that was targeted in devastated communities. Communities marginalized by race, class, housing status, sexual orientation and gender identity bear the brunt of the impact.

The US Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Foundations seeks to establish a new paradigm for the U.S. drug policy that addresses actual harm to individuals and communities, promotes health and social stability, ensures public safety and justice and advances equality and the freedoms of an open society. Funding for this initiative is to support equitable and high quality pre-arrest and pre-booking diversion programs that reduce use of incarceration and resource participants with harm-reduction interventions shown to improve community health and well-being.

Both OSF and CJI believe integrating activists and directly impacted leaders within funding decisionmaking is the best way to fund organizations . Under the direction of the Criminal Justice Initiative of the Solidago Foundation, a circle of activists will review all eligible applications and select the grant recipients in December. The CJI Equity & Inclusion Circle engages an innovative, truly diverse grant-making panel comprised of community organizers, activists, directly-impacted survivors of the war on drugs, including some with a history of incarceration, drug policy experts and advocates, and individual donors, who share a passion for meaningful, transformative, systemic change of the criminal justice system, especially as it relates to drug policy.

As a funding partner, Open Society Foundations is resourcing the grant dollars and helping train circle participants but all grant-making decisions are made by participants in the Circle under the guidance of CJI staff.

Finally, this partnership includes funding to reduce the cost of technical assistance for smaller, less-resourced organizations. The Katal Center for Health Equity and Justice supports strategic planning on alternatives to incarceration and bring extensive experience with harm reduction programming, pre-arrest or pre-booking diversion programming, and community organizing and education. The Katal Center contributes to this initiative by offering training and support for organizations to achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes related to this project.


Process and Timeline for Grant Decisions

Completed applications must be submitted no later than October 27, 2017 at midnight PST at https://criminaljusticeinitiative.submittable.com/submit or via the button below. The Circle will convene and decisions will be announced and processed in December 2017.

In an effort to strengthen the movement, CJI provides debrief sessions with applicants that did not receive a grant. This is intended to increase knowledge about the grantmaking process in general, and to share information with organizations that will help in future applications to CJI or any other funder. Therefore, organizations that did not receive a grant are encouraged to schedule a debrief with CJI in a time-frame that will be announced with the grant decisions.

Download budget template here

Feel free to contact CJI with any questions at criminaljusticeinitiativecji@gmail.com or by calling the CJI office at 646-849-9172.