Half of all Americans have immediate family members who have been incarcerated. Half.
The impacts of our criminal legal system are felt in every corner of society, and our punishment-first approach not only fails to keep our communities safe, but also perpetuates cycles of harm.
That’s why we are solely and uniquely dedicated to funding efforts on the frontlines of criminal justice reform. So much incredible work is happening, and we exist to power that work and accelerate change.
Our first funding came from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with a gift of $350 million over five years. We hope to partner with additional funders in the near future.
The Just Trust is made up of two legal entities 100% dedicated to advancing criminal justice reform:
- 501(c)(3) arm: The Just Trust 501(c)(3) is a fiscally sponsored project of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit charitable entity. As a brand new organization, our goal is to get to work as quickly as possible, so we made the decision to have a fiscal sponsor early on in order to access essential operations and infrastructure support—from grant administration, to IT and HR. In doing this, we can start moving resources into the field much, much faster.
- 501(c)(4) arm: The Just Trust for Action is a new, fully independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(4) funding entity. The majority of real, measurable change in criminal justice reform will come from policy and practice change working in concert. For this to happen, we need to ensure that movement leaders have the unfettered ability to engage in robust advocacy, which requires robust 501(c)(4) resources—it’s that simple. And because 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, we believe we have a role to play in bridging the gap and ensuring that the movement has what it needs to be successful and win.
The Just Trust is governed by two separate boards: an advisory board for the fiscally sponsored 501(c)(3) arm, and a governing board responsible for the independent 501(c)(4) organization. Together, these boards bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the organization—including deep knowledge of criminal justice reform, philanthropy, nonprofit management, and movement building, and an unwavering commitment to bipartisan policy work. Learn more about our boards.
The Just Trust is preparing to make its first grants in early 2022, once we are fully operational. Until that time we will not be able to take on funding requests, but please do stay tuned and keep following our newsletter so that when funding opens up you’ll be the first to know.
All jobs at The Just Trust will be posted to the website on the Careers page as they become available. Please join our email list below for real-time updates.
When we soft launched earlier this year as the Justice Accelerator Fund, we knew that as we listened to the field, sharpened our theory of change, and started putting a strategy on paper, a name evolution was possible. The Just Trust holds so much meaning for us. It’s about community, relationships, building bridges, and momentum. It’s about interrogating what it means for something to be “just,” and making space to convene brilliant people across the movement—to answer that question together, and win together.
Please sign up for our email below list and let us know what other questions or feedback you have.