SOS, FreeHer Circles Kick Off New Grant Cycles for 2022

Updated: Apr 1

CJI is seeking proposals for our Strategic Opportunities Support (SOS) Rapid Response Circle, a source of micro-grants (up to $5,000) to eligible organizations addressing immediate, emergency needs and critically urgent strategic organizing opportunities in their communities.



This year, the Fund is focused on supporting:

  • Responses to disasters that impact an organization’s ability to carry out their criminal justice work and/or that pose a direct threat to incarcerated people

  • Advocacy and organizing for an appropriate and just response to COVID-19 such as compassionate release (funding is not offered for PPE supplies)

  • Responses to cases of state violence (police brutality or violence from other agents of law enforcement, ICE raids, etc.)

  • Creation of community-based initiatives for alternatives to policing and incarceration

  • Work to halt policies that expand the criminalization and/or incarceration of marginalized groups, as well as those that aim to limit constitutionally protected activities

  • Work to promote policies that protect, restore, or expand protections for and rights of formerly incarcerated peoples, especially voting rights

  • Organizing against incidents of white supremacist/fascist aggression

  • Inclusion and/or participation of underrepresented communities or formerly incarcerated people and directly impacted families in movement and policy convenings

  • Healing justice work

Later this spring, the FreeHer Circle will also begin accepting proposals. FreeHer is a grantmaking initiative supporting women-led organizations addressing state-sanctioned violence against women and girls, including trans women and trans girls, and gender-nonconforming people. The sudden resurgence of attacks on reproductive justice is entirely unsurprising as women, both cisgender and transgender, have long suffered systemic oppression at the hands of the state. But the FreeHer Circle is dedicated to turning the tide.


The fund is focused on the ways that women, girls and gender non-conforming folks are uniquely impacted by incarceration and seeks to mitigate its astronomical rise and catastrophic impact on families while laying the foundation to create lasting, transformative change. Initiatives the FreeHer Circle supports include but are not limited to:

  • Ending the abuse-to-prison pipeline

  • Establishing alternatives to incarceration

  • Ensuring human rights in conditions of confinement

  • Clemency campaigns for women in state and federal prisons, especially those who are elderly, infirm, and/or serving extremely long sentences

  • Family reunification, including an end to automatic termination of parental rights due to incarceration, especially for parents and children at the U.S. border

  • Restoring rights and opportunities to women and girls taken or restricted due to a history of incarceration or detention.

Though deeply tied to it, the fund is not limited to the criminal legal system and may extend to address other forms of state-sanctioned violence against women and girls, such as the Texas and Idaho abortion bans and other issues surrounding reproductive justice.


FreeHer restores power to directly impacted leaders by providing resources through unrestricted general operating support grants and capacity-building opportunities that enhance their organizations’ operations, infrastructure, and programming with technical assistance and education.


The FreeHer and SOS Circles do the vital work of supporting bold, uncompromising, and visionary responses to emergent and ongoing injustices across our country. In order to bring about foundational change we must not only support initiatives that mitigate harm, we must also support initiatives that pave the way for a just future.


Head to www.cji.org/apply-for-grants for more information!

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