Today, The Just Trust announced its first board members. Launched in January 2021, The Just Trust is a grantmaking organization solely dedicated to making criminal justice reform possible and probable in all fifty states. Its two founding boards will help guide the organization’s ongoing strategy development as it works to become operational and begin grantmaking in early 2022.
The Just Trust is made up of two legal entities—a 501(c)(3) project that is fiscally sponsored by the New Venture Fund (NVF), and a brand new, independent 501(c)(4) called The Just Trust for Action. These two entities will have separate boards, together making up the governance structure of The Just Trust.
“As we enter our first strategic planning phase this summer—in tandem with deep stakeholder engagement with leaders in the field—I’m thrilled to announce our first board members,” said Ana Zamora, Founder and Executive Director of The Just Trust. “These leaders will not only serve as a critical guiding force for me, a lifelong justice reform advocate turned Executive Director, but they’ll also help build our core capacity: powering local, regional, and state-based reform strategies in every corner of the United States and across the political aisle, all with the end goal of improving the overall health and safety of communities across the country. This group was selected both for their deep expertise in the criminal justice space, as well as for their leadership in philanthropy, nonprofit management, movement building, and commitment to bipartisan policy advocacy work.”
The Just Trust Advisory Board
Joining Ana to launch the 501(c)(3) arm of The Just Trust are: Candice Jones, CEO of Public Welfare Foundation; Brian Hooks, CEO of Stand Together; and Priscilla Chan, co-Founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
“We are long past the point of tinkering with a system that is fundamentally unjust. Criminal justice reform is a massive undertaking that requires engaging people and inspiring progress at every level through long-term movement building,” said Candice Jones, CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation. “The Just Trust’s principled commitment to criminal justice reform, supporting a strong and diverse bench of leaders—especially those who have been directly impacted by the system—and to strengthening the philanthropic backbone fueling the work across the U.S. is exactly what is needed in this moment.”
“The Just Trust comes at a critical time in the movement for criminal justice reform—having proved progress is possible, we are acutely aware there is still much more to do,” said Brian Hooks, CEO of Stand Together. “It represents a renewed commitment to the strong and broad coalition required to eliminate the injustices that continue to hold so many people back.”
“Transformational change, like the kind we seek in the criminal justice reform space, requires linking arms and joining forces,” said Priscilla Chan, co-CEO of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “The Just Trust is working to build a large coalition of funders, advocates, and unlikely allies who are coming from very different starting places but all want to build a justice system that is more just and humane.”
The Just Trust for Action Governing Board
Joining Ana as the first two governing board members to incorporate and launch the 501(c)(4) arm, The Just Trust for Action, are Kevin Madden, Executive Vice President of Advocacy for Arnold Ventures, and David Plouffe, political advocacy strategist. In the months to come, The Just Trust for Action will work to continue to build out this governing board and bring in other leaders to help guide strategy and operations.
“Criminal justice reform is one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said Kevin Madden, Executive VP of Advocacy at Arnold Ventures. “We believe criminal justice reform requires both cultural changes and policy changes, working in concert. Advocates across the country must have the resources to constantly educate and engage decision makers—elected officials and voters—on an issue we know has support across the political spectrum.”
“The Just Trust for Action has a unique opportunity to supercharge the criminal justice reform movement with much-needed resources, especially 501(c)(4) funding,” said David Plouffe. “A large percentage of the real, measurable change in criminal justice reform will come from policy and practice change happening in tandem—that is a mathematical fact. Laws all over the country must change to get anywhere near the decarceration goals this country so sorely needs.”
To read the full biographies of these founding board members, please visit www.TheJustTrust.org/Team.
Additional board members will be announced later in 2021, as seats are confirmed.