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.
Chief Executive Officer
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.
Finance & Operations Manager
As a Southern-raised person of color, I have seen the beauty within my community and felt the pain toward it as well. I have personally seen many strokes of criminal injustice plague my family, from childhood to adulthood. As a child, my entrepreneur parents always instilled a need for education and business savvy. So I went to school for business administration with a concentration in accounting at Howard University. After graduating, I went into corporate accounting at Stewart Title Guaranty headquarters and worked my way up to Senior Accountant. While there, I developed an appreciation of financial reporting and internal audit controls. Yet, I felt that my profession was misaligned with my passion for social justice, which I was starting to explore through volunteerism.
By expanding my social lens, I learned more about inequities within the community. So I transitioned into the social sector focusing on education reform, as education had given me so many opportunities. In 2014, I applied for the Education Pioneers Fellowship, which connects analysts with a full-time work placement within an education organization to lead or support strategic, analytically driven work. I was selected from thousands of top graduate students and professionals to work with Tennessee SCORE, one of the largest education advocacy organizations in the state. I collaborated with the executive team on critical grant compliance, internal audit, budgeting, and business administration functionalities to drive continued organizational growth. After my fellowship, I continued my commitment to education reform by joining New Teacher Center, where I further honed my skills and engaged with and advised the senior management for six years.
The pandemic reawakened my passion for criminal justice reform. Even though I had volunteered with organizations spanning from Big Brother Big Sister, YMCA, Child Advocates, and United Way in programs that supported social and criminal justice reform, it was not enough for me. I wanted to be a part of an organization at the forefront of transforming the criminal justice system. The mission of The Just Trust aligns with my life’s purpose and passion that life as a whole should be equitable in justice, health, education, and economic opportunity regardless of status or color. So as a dedicated servant to equity and justice, I bring my background in business administration, accounting, financial planning and analysis, and operational oversight to The Just Trust with the desire to provide the infrastructure support needed for this organization to soar in its groundbreaking mission.
Senior Program Officer
My journey into this work began the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. I participated in a summer program focused on the intersection of identity and how society and systems conspire to sort people in positions of power and privilege. This experience created the seed for my life’s work, which has focused on interrupting the conscious and unconscious dynamics that prevent our collective selves from accessing opportunities to become our best humans. I believe that the structures of our criminal justice system prevent both people and communities from achieving the freedom that our nation says it promises.
Before the Just Trust, I served on the program team at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) supporting grantmaking in areas of criminal justice reform, economic justice, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, immigrant rights, reproductive justice, and racial equity. I supported ZSR’s sabbatical
program and launched a nonprofit internship program aimed at increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the nonprofit sector by providing paid internships. I also spearheaded the creation of an endowed scholarship fund in memory of Darryl Hunt, a wrongfully convicted Black man who spent nearly 20 years in prison. Prior to ZSR, I worked at One Economy Corporation providing strategies to rural communities on broadband adoption. I began my career in philanthropy at the Winston-Salem Foundation serving in various roles, including launching the Black Philanthropy Initiative aimed at increasing the voices of African Americans in the field. I graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in political science and am now pursuing an M.P.A. at UNC Charlotte.
In my personal life, I am a doting father to my kids Dial Jean and Ellington, avid and unrequited fan of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Guardians, sometimes golfer and homebrewer, and aspiring cook. I am honored to be a part of the Just Trust team to focus more deeply and intently on critical criminal justice reform issues.
Vice President of Brand & Communications
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.
Chief Program Officer
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.
My journey began like most Hollywood movies made in the 90s about immigrants – a humble family travels across the seas from the heart of Russia to New York City. With my father’s Soviet education stripped away in exchange for a taxi cab medallion in order to earn money, and my mother, who was never quite able to grasp the slang and grammar rules of English, I became an official translator at the tender age of five and was instilled with the values of hard work and the yearning for education the day I stepped foot on American soil.
Throughout my life, although academics were important, my creativity and curiosities always pulled me towards the arts. In the early 2000s, I was accepted into one of the most precious 3D animation colleges in the world, The Ringling College of Art and Design. I had spent half a decade devoted to my creative craft and was hired by a top commercial brand before graduating. I became an American vagabond when my career allowed me to travel to the biggest entertainment hubs in the country – Los Angeles, Manhattan, Hollywood and San Francisco. It was during my time in Silicon Valley that I began to wean away from focusing my livelihood on art and instead I turned my creativity and attention to detail towards the often ignored pipeline behind the curtain – the executive assistant.
As an executive assistant at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), I knew that my contribution to my leaders’ days made them function with efficiency and speed. Every morning, I knew I was no longer just a cog in the machine, but rather the start button that churned alongside the rest of my teammates in order to make the world, literally, a better place. As part of the Education department at CZI, I could see a project I helped rise up from the ground, from start to finish, come to life and be shipped out in order to allow children at any stage of their school career to be able to learn with no restrictions. It did not matter where they were from, where they lived, or who their relations were – every child would be deserving of an education and equity in the system.
After 3 years of having a helping hand in building a stronger education system for all, I had been given the opportunity to give my aid to the justice reform effort. I see the inequity and struggles that plague this country every day, and to be part of something like The Just Trust is one of the greatest successes in my career thus far. The road to reform will be difficult, but to be part of the side that dedicates itself to fighting injustice and inequality, is truly its own reward.
Investment Partnerships Manager
Growing up in East Oakland, I experienced firsthand the genius, beauty and strength of a diverse community—as well as the consequences of underinvestment and systemic inequity which prevented my community from truly thriving. My father, a newspaper reporter and editor, instilled in me a duty to educate myself on current events and politics, and my mother, a nurse practitioner, taught me the importance of individual health and showed how that affects the health of a community.
Such an upbringing shaped my understanding of our world as simultaneously full of injustice and full of opportunity. In 2017, that understanding was confirmed as I got the opportunity to visit San Quentin state prison in the Bay Area. That experience changed my life, as I saw our current criminal justice system up close, from the horror of the gas chamber previously used for executions, to the cramped and degrading conditions for the men incarcerated there. Beyond touring the facility, our team was able to sit in a small circle and speak openly and honestly with several of the men. After just a few minutes, all of my preconceived notions disappeared as I witnessed their brilliance, humility, and humanity as we got to know each other, and my resolve deepened to fix our broken justice system.
Professionally, I have instinctively gravitated towards opportunities to enact systems change which create justice and opportunity for the most vulnerable in our community. Before arriving at The Just Trust, my journey has taken me to Code For America, Hack The Hood, Mindful Life Project and Dream Corps, where I have had the privilege to work with some truly transformational philanthropic partners including the Knight Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Ford Foundation, Google.org, and the Bezos Earth Fund.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Politics (Highest Honors In The Major). I currently live in Sacramento, California with my incredible wife Sarah and two troublemaking kids Lincoln and Vera, and enjoy soccer, hiking, podcasts, salmiakki, and chess.
As a daughter of immigrants, my passion for public health equity and violence prevention is rooted in my experience of seeing firsthand how health disparities are linked to access to social systems such as education, employment, and housing. Early in my career, while working with South Asian domestic violence survivors and developing anti-trafficking programs in Eastern Europe, I first recognized violence as a public health issue. I also learned that lasting change on the ground is not possible without the leadership of movement builders and advocates, a belief I still hold today.
Prior to The Just Trust, I worked in policy research and analysis and philanthropy. At Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where I designed research and policy analysis in partnership with communities around the globe, I managed a project that looked at the increase in violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and created tools for advocates. I also advanced research initiatives focused on reproductive justice, maternal and child health, and Title X, using a racial and gender justice lens.
My philanthropy experience is rooted in grassroots social change and a desire to understand how organizations are resourced. While at The Global Fund for Children, I worked with brilliant leaders in Washington, DC, who led literacy initiatives for incarcerated youth and helped decrease recidivism rates. I also partnered with indigenous leaders in New Mexico who brought traditional healing practices to systems-impacted youth. At The New York Women’s Foundation, I led the Initiative Against Sex Trafficking of Minors and built strategy to advance the power and voices of survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially those that encountered the criminal justice system. And at Frontline Solutions, I supported The Baltimore Children & Youth Fund, a public fund centered in racial equity, intergenerational leadership, community ownership, and collective decision-making. I have an M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University and B.A. in sociology and gender studies from Rutgers University.
Through these experiences, I have learned that when we invest in our neighborhoods, and when systems-impacted individuals and families have the option to heal and grow, our communities are safer and healthier. It is an honor and privilege to build relationships with movement leaders and advocates and those most affected by our unjust systems. I look forward to standing alongside The Just Trust’s partners as we work for justice reform.
Chief Strategy & Operations Officer
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.
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 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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