The Just Trust is part of a larger story, one forged by decades of advocates championing justice reform.
We accelerate their momentum—from watershed legislative victories to the generations-long battles that change perceptions—across every corner of the country.
Our criminal justice system has devastated generations of families and entire communities in America. To watch without responding is not an option. People across the nation are advocating for a just and compassionate engine of public safety for all—one where we hold each other to account, treat each other with dignity, and where the strength of our communities keep people safe.
The Just Trust looks across political spectrums and state lines to advance the hard work of advocates, build creative alliances, center the work of directly-impacted individuals, and sustain the calls for reform among the mainstream.
We invest in visionary leaders and nonprofits—from underdogs to heavyweights, organizers to policy wonks, rural folks to city dwellers—each fighting for the safety and wellbeing of their communities.
Strategy & Operations Lead
My heart, spirit, and mindset are that of an organizer. It shows up in every facet of my life—from gathering my community for some family style lomi salmon, palusami, and my Grandpa’s sapasui (that’s Samoan chop suey if you don’t know!), to organizing bike camping adventures with fellow cyclists, to partnering with donors and philanthropic institutions to bring resources to scale for power builders—inspiring and aligning others to come together, break bread, and make change is one of my greatest joys.
I have a ferocious belief in the power of organizing and movement building—I saw early on in my career that the most brilliant problem solvers were the organizers, coalition leaders, storytellers, and practitioners closest to the challenges, but unfortunately, they almost always lacked the resources and capacity to scale their programs, run their organizations, and have the impact that I and they knew was possible. That’s why I have committed my career to strengthening movements by organizing resources amongst a broad constellation of committed philanthropic funding partners, supporting the development of movement leaders, and cultivating high-impact teams.
As the former vice president of Way to Win, I worked on the larger landscape of partnerships to strengthen and create the infrastructure needed to advance transformative policy and build lasting power in the pro-democracy sector. This work resulted in over $150 million to state and national organizations in the 2020 election cycle. Prior to Way to Win, I was the co-executive director of the California Donor Table, where I worked with a broad base of funders, political donors, labor leaders, practitioners, and state and local community leaders to invest in and support the civic engagement and electoral priorities of California’s new majority communities. Before entering the philanthropic sector, I contributed to the growth and sustainability of a number of organizations focused on racial, social, and economic equity, from Rockwood Leadership Institute to PolicyLink.
I have an ardent commitment to building more just systems in America, and I have seen firsthand the injustices of the criminal legal system and the disproportionate impacts on my community. That’s what brings me to The Just Trust, and why, in my personal capacity, I serve on the boards of Color of Change PAC and Tides Advocacy Fund, and serve as a brain trust member of the Democracy Frontlines Fund, housed at The Libra Foundation. I am thrilled to lead the strategy and operations and contribute to the growth and trajectory of The Just Trust—a place where I can continue to bring the best of my organizer heart, spirit, and mindset.
Through my early career experiences, I learned firsthand about the inequities, harms, and failures of our criminal justice system. As the founding director of a reentry program in Santa Cruz County—while simultaneously working in a leadership role at a local syringe exchange program—I saw people cycle through the syringe exchange right into the jails, without the opportunity to access housing, healthcare, treatment, or other services.
I witnessed the justice system further harm individuals, their families, and their communities by treating public health and poverty-related issues as crimes.
These experiences compelled me to pursue a career reforming our criminal laws.
Prior to joining The Just Trust, I was the criminal justice policy director at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. I’ve also held roles at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the ACLU. At the DPA, I directed the organization’s national marijuana policy work; played a key role in the Prop 64 campaign to legalize marijuana and reduce criminal penalties; authored several pieces of legislation across multiple states; and drafted numerous amicus briefs challenging the application of draconian criminal laws. While at the ACLU, I managed then Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy in California, and worked extensively on the Prop 47 campaign to reduce several drug and property-related felonies to misdemeanors.
I earned my J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law and M.Sc. in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. I’ve authored several reports on the criminal legal system, and co-authored two law review articles. Much of this work has been cited in media outlets like The New York Times, The Economist, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, and Reuters. In my free time, I’ve spent nearly a decade as a restorative justice practitioner inside San Quentin State Prison, and I currently sit on the board of Esq. Apprentice.
Brand & Communications Lead
Sometimes you find the work, and sometimes the work finds you. In my case, the latter is true. My career thus far has been a tour of systems change, working on agricultural justice, sustainable and ethical production, immigration reform, housing affordability, and criminal justice reform. Each experience guided me to the next, and taught me not only about the deep intersectionality of our most pressing issues, but also about the critical role that story and narrative can/must play in shifting both policy and practice.
Prior to joining The Just Trust, I led communications for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Justice & Opportunity portfolio, covering numerous issue areas in addition to criminal justice reform. I’m proud to have led strategic communications for the organization’s 501(c)3 and 501(c)(4) investments—from big ballot measure fights like Proposition 15 in California and Oregon Measure 110, to state-based legislative efforts to clear criminal records. I also helped launch CZI’s first news media grants portfolio in support of high quality, equitable, sustainable local journalism.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in international peace and conflict studies, I spent time working with public relations and communications firms before eventually joining the Oakland-based nonprofit Fair Trade USA. In addition to managing internal and external communications, I worked on numerous national brand campaigns—with integrated grassroots efforts—to increase consumer awareness of and demand for responsibly made goods. I had the honor of collaborating with leaders like Patagonia, Athleta, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, PepsiCo, Ben & Jerry’s, and many other brands to launch and promote ethical products, and to center the voices of those closest to the issues—the farmers, workers, and fishermen themselves.
Now, the gravitational pull I feel toward criminal justice reform comes from a hard truth I’ve come to understand deeply — that when people fall through the cracks of our other systems, the criminal justice system is always there to catch them. I hope that my experience leading brand and communications work across social justice fields, including movement building and policy efforts, can help to change this.
Associate Program Lead
Professionally and personally, my life’s work is dedicated to criminal justice reform, and to partnering with a rapidly growing national coalition of formerly incarcerated leaders who are expanding and accelerating the criminal legal reform movement. In addition, I have supported efforts to build national and state-based partnerships that are challenging the harsh laws that contribute to mass incarceration. These organizations are working to pass critical legislation and giving those closest to the problems associated with mass incarceration the agency to reimagine and fundamentally reshape our criminal legal system.
The reality is that one in three Black men in America will inevitably feel the burden of being incarcerated in his life. I never believed I would be one of them, but in 2004, I became part of this alarming statistic. I, like many Americans, had scant knowledge of how unjust and brutally punitive the American criminal legal system is. However, after becoming a system-impacted and a formerly incarcerated person—with a wasted decade of life behind me, I learned more about how our system targets people who are historically marginalized: Black, brown, poor, mentally ill—the list of overrepresented people in our prisons and jails goes on and on.
Now, I’m humbled to bring my firsthand involvement with the criminal justice system, philanthropic experience, and strong technical skills to The Just Trust. In my new role, I will continue to partner with unlikely allies who are critical to reimagining how to end mass incarceration and bring healing and prosperity to communities—especially the rapidly growing national coalition of formerly incarcerated leaders who are expanding and accelerating the criminal legal reform movement. I will resume sitting at the table with crime survivors, system-impacted people, elected officials, law enforcement, and people in our communities who believe we can’t continue with a failed criminal legal system. I will continue to support new voices, new leaders, foster collaboration, and build strong coalitions because transforming the criminal legal system to stand on principles of fairness, equality, and representative of true justice cannot be achieved solely by a particular group or government. Regardless of political beliefs, race, or any other divisive system of thought—this is an American issue that touches too many people and communities. We all must be working together.
Before joining The Just Trust, I was the criminal justice reform program manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), and I have spoken extensively—including to leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to all 50 state legislatures, to philanthropic organizations, and the business community—about the systemic barriers that keep the 70–100 million people with criminal records in the U.S. from achieving their full potential. Before that, I spent twenty years working in the utility industry, including twelve years as the founder and CEO of a Bay Area geotechnical company, where I managed and completed large and complex utility analytics for government and private entities.
I sit on the Board of Directors of Mount Tamalpais College, The Next Chapter, and the Pruno Fund in my leisure time. I also sit on the Advisory Boards of the Prison Journalism Project and Working Nation.
Founder & Executive Director
Until I crossed over into philanthropy in 2018, I spent my career fighting on the front lines of criminal justice reform—as an organizer, advocate, and campaigner. I’ve been in the trenches of this work when we lost way more than we won. I know the deep, painful sting of losing a major campaign that you’ve thrown your whole heart into. I also know what it feels like to be part of progress. It’s these experiences that built my advocacy chops and taught me that the pathway to real change is crooked, rife with setbacks, and that no map exists to help you traverse it.
My journey began in an administrative role with the California Appellate Project, an organization that provides legal services to people in California facing execution. There I learned about the harm and stigma that our punitive, unforgiving system has on communities and families, including my own. I then spent the next ten years working at the ACLU, ultimately as director of criminal justice reform. Using integrated advocacy, I worked to advance issues including sentencing reform, reducing use of the death penalty, legislative and administrative reforms around wrongful convictions, and greater prosecutorial accountability through voter education and engagement. During these years, I also served in leadership roles in two California ballot measures: as Deputy Campaign Manager for Yes on 34 in 2012 and as Campaign Manager for No on 66 in 2016. And I launched the first ever statewide prosecutor accountability campaign, simply called: “Meet Your DA.”
In my advocacy life, I was deeply frustrated with the extreme lack of resources in our movement—especially for organizations with directly impacted leaders. I saw philanthropy as a critical unlock and eventually moved into a new role as director of criminal justice reform at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), which became one of the largest funders of frontline criminal justice reform work in the country—a $143 million portfolio in just under three years. My team at CZI backed key wins like Measure 110 in Oregon to decriminalize all drug possession; helped defeat Proposition 20 in California, which sought to roll back key justice reforms; funded the Clean Slate Initiative, supporting record-clearing policies for millions of people in Pennsylvania, Utah, Michigan, and other states; and, importantly, supported countless reform and organizing efforts led by directly impacted groups, in states often passed over like West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
In my personal life, I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Openhouse in San Francisco, which serves LGBTQ+ seniors. It’s an honor and a privilege to now lead The Just Trust—where I get to wear all of my hats and channel the stings of losses, the glory of wins, and the hope that I feel from across this powerful, diverse, ever-evolving fight for justice, safety, and wellbeing.
Priscilla is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropic organization she started with her husband, Mark Zuckerberg, in December 2015.
CZI is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges—from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. As a pediatrician and former teacher, Priscilla’s work with patients and students in communities across the Bay Area has informed her desire to make learning more personalized, find new paths to manage and cure disease, and expand opportunity for more people. She is also the founder of The Primary School, which integrates health and education and serves children and families in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood in Menlo Park, California. Priscilla earned her BA in Biology at Harvard University and her MD at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She completed her pediatrics training in the UCSF/PLUS Pediatrics Residency.
Brian is chairman and CEO of Stand Together, a philanthropic community that works with more than 700 business leaders and philanthropists to empower people to realize their unique potential and help every person rise.
Stand Together’s comprehensive approach to addressing the country’s biggest challenges includes support for more than 1,000 professors at over 300 universities, tens of thousands of K-12 teachers, more than 200 community-based organizations addressing persistent poverty, and millions of grassroots activists working to improve public policy, including in the area of criminal justice. Brian is also president of the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute. Previously, he served as executive director and COO of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he led strategy and operations for a growing research, education, and public policy center. He is co-author with Charles Koch of the book, Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World, a national bestseller published in November 2020 by St. Martin’s Press. Brian was also named to the 2021 TIME100 Next list, featuring leaders who are shaping the future of their fields. Brian serves on the boards of the Mercatus Center, Institute for Humane Studies, and Reason Foundation.
Candice is the President and CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation, a private national foundation. Under Jones’ leadership, the Foundation invests in criminal justice and juvenile justice solutions.
Previously, she served as Senior Advisor at Chicago CRED, an organization that focuses on gun violence in Chicago, and also served as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, a cabinet-level state agency where she supervised operations, programming, budget matters, and communications. During her tenure there, she pushed significant reforms that reduced the number of youth in state custody. Candice has also served as a White House Fellow within the U.S. Department of Education where she guided a plan to reinstate federal Pell grants for youth and adults in custody. And prior, Candice served as a program officer with the MacArthur Foundation, where she managed a grant portfolio focused on decreasing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system and on improving the quality of defense for indigent youth. She currently serves on the board of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a Chicago-based civil legal service organization.
Jenny is the Vice President of Operations and General Counsel at the Philanthropy Roundtable.
She is responsible for leading the Roundtable’s operational needs, including information technology, talent management, and legal issues. Prior to joining the Roundtable, Jenny served as the deputy general counsel, political law and vice president of public policy at Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in America. At Koch Industries, she led and oversaw political law compliance for United States, Canada, and the European Union, and led the criminal justice reform portfolio, resulting in passage of the First Step Act. As a part of leading the criminal justice reform portfolio at Koch Industries, she also collaborated with businesses, policymakers, non-profits, and academics to reduce overcriminalization, build effective and holistic reentry programs, and increase second chance hiring. She believes in criminal justice reform, because everyone has a dream and potential.
Kevin is the Executive Vice President for Advocacy at Arnold Ventures, one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations focused on delivering public policy reforms at the federal, state, and local level.
Building on over 20 years of experience operating in some of the most high-profile debates from Wall Street to Washington, Kevin leads the integration of Arnold Ventures’ advocacy and communications strategies with its policy and research capabilities, positioning the organization as a leader in shaping public policy debates and positive outcomes. Prior to his leadership role at Arnold Ventures, Kevin was a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a leading public affairs firm where he designed and managed comprehensive public affairs campaigns while working with CEOs and their executive teams to navigate today’s challenging media environment. He also served as a senior strategist and spokesman on three presidential campaigns from 2004 to 2016, and was a top congressional leadership staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as spokesman and communications strategist in the Office of the Republican House Majority Leader. Kevin also served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs and national spokesman for the Department of Justice. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Bipartisan Policy Center Action Network.
David has been a successful leader across sectors as a top executive in politics, government, technology, and philanthropy.
After running President Obama’s two presidential campaigns, Plouffe largely became known for revolutionizing how presidential campaigns are run. And won. As Senior Advisor to President Obama in the White House, he was at the center of the debate on the key issues now facing our country, from tax and entitlement reform to health care and immigration reform to foreign policy challenges. In recent years, Plouffe served as a top executive at Uber, negotiating ride-sharing laws with dozens of countries, and was an early strategic advisor to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books and currently hosts as a political analyst for NBC news.
In deep collaboration
Our process brings in different voices from the field for inspiration, co-design moments and to hold us accountable to lasting change.
We deploy a unique combination of c3 and c4 funding to respond strategically to the movement’s ongoing needs.
We made a decision early on to have a fiscal sponsor in order to access essential infrastructure support—from grant administration, to IT, and HR. By doing this, we can start moving resources into the hands of advocates, allies, and leaders much, much faster.
This space has historically had a dearth of (c)(4) resources which has held back significant progress on these issues and has had a grave human cost. The majority of real, measurable change in criminal justice reform comes from advancing policy and practice together. That’s why we’re making sure that leaders in the field can engage in robust advocacy, which requires robust 501(c)(4) resources—it’s that simple.
Join our small-but-mighty team of allies, dedicated to championing the work and vision of leaders in the space.
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