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FreeHer Circle Awards 2021 Grants

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

CJI’s FreeHer Circle proudly announces its roster of grantees for 2021. The list of organizations approved to receive a FreeHer grant was released in August, with a total of $500,000 in grants. This new round of grants—only the program’s second—will now fuel the organizing efforts of 25 grassroots organizations working in seven states to eliminate mass incarceration and the criminalization of women and girls, trans women and trans girls, and gender non-conforming people. All CJI Circle funds are supported with free trainings to strengthen our grantee organizations' leadership capabilities.

The FreeHer Circle was established in response to the exploding incarceration rate for women—the majority of convictions from drug and other nonviolent offences, which has surpassed that of men... and keeps rising. On top of that, the overwhelming majority of women in prison are survivors of domestic violence, more than 60% of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18, and 86% have suffered serious physical and/or sexual abuse as children. Many women find themselves incarcerated even after defending themselves against intimate partner violence and sexual assault.

CJI was so fortunate to be able to increase FreeHer giving by 20% in this historic grantmaking cycle over 2020’s total of $400,000. More funding this year allowed CJI to reach even more worthy organizations fighting trends like the number of women incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons increasing over the past 35 years by more than 700 percent, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.

FreeHer grants work at the intersection of trauma, sexual assault, domestic violence, and incarceration faced by thousands of women across America—known as the abuse-to-prison pipeline. As CJI’s newest Circle fund, FreeHer illustrates our broad commitment to push back against all forms of oppression inflicted on our people in the name of misguided legal and immigration systems by fostering groundbreaking, community-based solutions on the ground to address the many harmful repercussions we all witness and experience in our homes and neighborhoods.

Take TAKE, for example. Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering (TAKE) is a peer-support group for trans women of color in Birmingham, AL, tackling workplace discrimination, housing advocacy, sex worker rights, and other trans-related issues.

FreeHer Circle support is helping TAKE bring housing stability to trans women of color in Birmingham through Gloria’s Safe Haven. TAKE is renovating a recently purchased multi-family home in Birmingham into a semi-permanent housing solution for transgender women of color in the south considered ineligible for traditional housing programs.

Click here for a list of CJI’s 2021 FreeHer grantees.

Be the Change! CJI's FreeHer Circle is currently recruiting new donor members to be a part of the action. For donors seeking a better way to engage with truly inclusive philanthropy through FreeHer, contact CJI at for more information.

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