Change needs to happen in all 50 states. With a strong advocacy infrastructure in place, we believe it can.
In the United States, the vast majority of the criminal justice system is run at the state and local level. In practice, we’re talking about a very complex web of policies and institutions that look wildly different in Oklahoma than they do in California or in Virginia. Our best chance at transforming the justice system is to do so state by state—advancing new laws and implementing them well, protecting past wins, and building cultural and political momentum for reform in nuanced, localized ways.
Our State by State funding initiative is focused on building up criminal justice reform advocacy infrastructure in all 50 states. With access to sustained, flexible funding, advocacy groups on the ground can be more nimble and responsive to needs and opportunities in their communities—whatever they might be.
To begin, we’re starting in:
These states were selected after a comprehensive, nationwide analysis of both need and opportunity around criminal justice reform. The Just Trust, along with external advisors and consultants, assessed considerations like incarceration rates and populations, racial disparities, criminal justice trends, historic philanthropic investment, recent reform or rollback efforts, existing advocacy infrastructure, appetite for reform, and many other factors.
Check out the recent announcement of our first official State by State grantees in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, complementing The Just Trust’s previous grantmaking in Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia .
Many of our early state partners have been doing this work for a long time, often on shoestring budgets. And they’ve made incredible progress in spite of that—championing legislative campaigns and stewarding implementation, fighting back regressive policies, removing barriers for people with criminal records, championing new community safety models, changing the narrative, and so much more. Just imagine what this powerful ecosystem could do with sustained funding and flexible c3 and c4 resources in the long term.
Our summer 2022 call for LOI’s is now closed, but if you’re working on reform in any of these states and missed the first funding round, we still want to hear from you.
Please fill out our rolling grant inquiries form, and a member of our team will reach out.
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