August 2, 2022

The Just Trust Announces First Grant Recipients for State By State Campaign

Thirty-four organizations in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma to receive funding for criminal justice reform advocacy

RALEIGH, NC (August 3, 2022)—The Just Trust, a criminal justice reform grantmaking initiative with two funding entities – The Just Trust and The Just Trust for Action today announced the first grant recipients for its State by State Campaign, an open funding call to help grow and stabilize state-level advocacy infrastructure for durable criminal justice policy reform. Approximately $7.4 million in grants will go to select groups in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

“Our grantmaking approach takes the long view,” said Ana Zamora, Founder and CEO of The Just Trust. “It’s focused on building up a strong advocacy ecosystem that can withstand the natural ebbs and flows of politics and culture – one that is ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice because it has the sustained funding to do so.”

The thirty-four groups in the cohort work on many different issues related to criminal justice reform – from parole and probation reform to second chance hiring, sentencing reform, decriminalization of substance use and mental health disorders, and faith and community engagement. They also represent a big tent of organizations working across the political spectrum, across urban and rural divides, and across a myriad of constituents from businesses to formerly incarcerated people and survivors of crime. 

“After these first grants – largely (c)(3) dollars for general operations – we will continue to partner with these groups, especially with (c)(4) funding as needed,” Zamora said. “This work necessarily requires advocates to engage directly with decision makers – voters and legislators alike. Sustained funding for day-to-day operations means that groups can be even more nimble and strategic when responding to local policy needs,” added Zamora.

Initial State by State Campaign partners include:

ALABAMA

LOUISIANA

MISSISSIPPI

OKLAHOMA

    “This ecosystem of organizations is advancing new reforms, protecting past wins, and softening the ground for lasting change in their states,” said James Gore, Senior Program Officer at The Just Trust. “We’re proud to help power the work that many have been doing for a long time, and hope to open up more funding – eventually in all 50 states – because reform is needed and possible everywhere.”

    Since its first grants moved in March 2022, The Just Trust’s funds have committed $46.7 million in grants at the state and national level across its portfolios. 

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    About The Just Trust: Founded in 2021, The Just Trust is a grantmaking initiative made up of The Just Trust (a 501(c)(3) project of the New Venture Fund) and The Just Trust for Action, a 501(c)(4). It is 100% dedicated to powering criminal justice reform across the country. Visit TheJustTrust.org for more information.

    State by State Campaign Selection: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma were selected as the initial states for the Campaign after a comprehensive, nationwide analysis – with external field advisors and consultants – of both need and opportunity around criminal justice reform. It assessed considerations like incarceration rates and populations, racial disparities, criminal justice trends, historic philanthropic investment, recent reform or rollback efforts, existing advocacy infrastructure, public and political will for reform, and many other factors. Groups were invited to apply for funding requests based on their needs. Grant amounts were not predetermined.

    These states also complement The Just Trust’s existing efforts in Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia (which pre-date the Campaign) with plans to expand support to all 50 states over time.