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Borealis Philanthropy: Spark Justice Fund

Deadline: September 9, 2019

The Spark Justice Fund (SJF) is a donor collaborative at Borealis Philanthropy that supports grassroots organizing and advocacy groups to end the use of money bail in the criminal justice system, transform pretrial justice, and build power in communities most impacted by incarceration in the United States.

The Fund’s long-term vision is to:

  • End money bail and advance transformative pretrial justice reforms that significantly reduce jail populations, decriminalize poverty, and eliminate disparities for low-income communities of color, including for women of color and other marginalized populations
  • Strengthen the capacity of state-based and local grassroots groups and those who are impacted by the criminal legal system to lead the movement for its transformation
  • Elevate the leadership of those most directly affected by the criminal legal system

SJF seeks to support grassroots organizing and advocacy groups that:

  • Work authentically with constituencies most impacted by mass incarceration (particularly those groups led by individuals directly impacted by the system).
  • Demonstrate a clear power-building and leadership-development strategy that meaningfully engages directly impacted communities in defining problems, solutions, and actions.
  • Engage in bail reform efforts that advance decarcertion and are connected to a broader and holistic vision of reform. The Fund will consider requests for support both to advance policy reforms and to ensure effective implementation of reforms already adopted.
  • Are based in jurisdictions with momentum and strong partnerships among groups.
  • Have an explicit, demonstrated commitment to racial, economic, and gender justice.

Grantees will be supported with:

  • Multi-year general operating support grants for grassroots organizing groups
  • Grants and coaching support for organizational development and capacity-building
  • Technical assistance and peer learning activities to foster deeper field coordination
  • Discretionary resources to respond to timely opportunities

Amount: SJF provides two-year core grants, generally in the range of $75,000-100,000 per year. Supplemental organizational development grants of at least $15,000 are also provided to groups.

Eligibility: Grassroots advocacy and organizing groups that:

  • Are independent 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscally sponsored groups
  • Work at the local and/or state levels
  • Meet the grantmaking criteria and align with the Funds goals and priorities above
  • Are typically underfunded and overlooked by philanthropy
  • There is a particular interest in supporting grassroots groups that are led by individuals with personal experience with the criminal justice system
  • Applications to support coalitions leading campaigns will be considered

Link: https://borealisphilanthropy.org/grantmaking/spark-justice-fund/

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