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

CJI funds organizations that:

  • are focused on community organizing, often with member-led structures

  • are 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 legal system

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

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

IMPACT of OUR Funding ModeL

CJI’s Innovative Funding Model helps broaden the philanthropic options available for criminal justice organizing by promoting a funding model that builds community among people with vast differences of experience, identity, and experience of the criminal justice system around the shared goal of transforming the system toward healing and justice. This model enacts the kind of deep community work necessary to grow social justice movements by transforming the way we engage with each other.

Our Model:

  • supports the leadership of those directly impacted by incarceration and criminalization in directing movement resources, while engaging the deep support of those not directly impacted

  • provides an alternative, progressive model for giving that institutionalizes cross-class accountability and power-sharing that appeals to the next generation of donors

  • incubates seedling organizations that build community power and awareness from the bottom up

  • creates opportunity for working and learning in a group with differences of class, race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, and experience with incarceration for the benefit of all

  • results in creative and transformative funding decisions that shift resources to critical and under resourced areas of the movement

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