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Circle for Justice Innovations

(formerly Criminal Justice Initiative @ the Solidago Foundation)

147 Prince Street, Suite 4-20

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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cji is fiscally sponsored by

NEO Philanthropy: EIN 13-3191113

© 2019 by  Circle for Justice Innovations. Inspired by love and the belief that change is necessary and possible. Join us!


Aleah Bacquie Vaughn, Executive Director of the CJI Fund, was previously Deputy Director at the American Committee on Africa and The Africa Fund, where she championed the release of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, and divestment from companies doing business with South Africa’s apartheid government. In South Africa, Aleah worked for the South African Council of Churches to decrease violence in the East Rand; on the Independent Electoral Commission, to educate communities about voting in the country’s historic first democratic elections; for the World Council on Religion and Peace, which first called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and for the Women’s Development Foundation, which supported electing women to national government. Returning to the US in 1996, Aleah worked on the Jubilee campaign to cancel African debt, and demand HIV/AIDS medication for African countries. As Director of Social Justice Ministries for Riverside Church, she supervised 13 social justice ministries, including The Sharing Fund, and Prison Ministry. She also co-created the Prison Family Support Group and Sojourners, a ministry to support and advocate for releasing people detained in U.S. facilities. She then served as the Director of Grants and Training at the Peace Development Fund. Aleah is the granddaughter of Irene Morgan, of the Morgan v. Virginia Supreme Court decision against segregation in interstate travel. The Freedom Rides supported her case. Aleah is the proud, fierce mother of two black boys.

Executive Director

Aleah Bacquie Vaughn

Tina Reynolds Co-Founded Women on the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH) an association of formerly and currently incarcerated women who became empowered by their own experiences while involved in the criminal justice system and beyond. WORTH played a pivotal role in the passage of the Anti-Shackling Bill, Adoption and Safe Families Act and the DOH Oversight Bill. Reynolds received a master’s in social work from Hunter College. Lectured at York College for 10 years within their Behavioral Sciences Department, where she developed and taught “Impact of Incarceration on Families, Communities and Children”. As the Program Director at the Child Center, she developed and implemented a tele-vising program in Queens for incarcerated parents in Rikers, Taconic and Bedford Hills. She has published pieces on the abolition of prisons, the impact of incarceration on women and children, formerly incarcerated women and policy change and is an editor of an anthology “Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States”.

Program Director

Tina Reynolds

Danielle Freire joined CJI in October 2018 as Associate Director of Development. In this role, she manages all fundraising activities and works to increase CJI's donor and support base. Danielle has a passion for promoting programs that empower communities of color. She began her development career in 2013 as a fundraising specialist for Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of New York City, a housing nonprofit that empowers residents through home ownership education, financial counseling, and community leadership training. After NHS, Danielle joined Student Leadership Network (formerly Young Women's Leadership Network) as a development associate and then as manager of institutional giving to secure funding for college counseling and girls' education programs that serve over 19,000 young people across New York City. Most recently, Danielle served as senior manager of institutional giving for an education nonprofit, Blue Engine, and managed a $2.3 million institutional giving portfolio. Danielle is excited to join CJI and increase resources for social justice collaborative grant making to end mass incarceration and criminalization in the United States. Danielle was raised in Jersey City, NJ and is the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants. Danielle is committed to applying an equity-based lens to fundraising and looks forward to inviting more long-lasting partnerships for CJI grounded in empathy and trust. Danielle received her BA in Political Science from New Jersey City University and MS in Nonprofit Management from the the New School.

Associate Director of Development

Danielle Freire

Lizan was born in Barbados and moved to New York, where she currently resides in Brooklyn. She is an active volunteer for New York Cares, where she dedicates her time and efforts to ending hunger and providing meals to those in need. Her dream is to start an organization for young immigrants to guide them to better opportunities and ultimately naturalization. A graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lizan is passionate about improving the justice system, including ending discriminatory practices like stop and frisk. Her ultimate life goal is to design a communal atmosphere where justice is fair for all.

Operations Manager

Lizan Highland

Anna was raised in Queens, New York. With a BA in international studies and MSW in social policy, her studies and interest in asylum seeker and refugee policy took her to Greece and Germany. After living abroad for four years, she returned to NYC and found a home as Aleah's right hand at the CJI Fund. In 2015, the second year of her master’s degree was seminal in exposing to her the injustices of the criminal legal system, which she learned more about from organizing with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and mobilizing students on Columbia University campus. She is excited to continue learning about the systems change and movement building necessary to foster a criminal legal system that is humane, rehabilitative, restorative and just.

Executive Assistant

Anna Donn
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