Alliance for Safety and Justice — General Support (2017)

Organization Name 
Award Date 
4/2017
Grant Amount 
$4,000,000
Purpose 
For general support.
Topic (focus area) 

Grant Investigator: Chloe Cockburn

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigator. Alliance for Safety and Justice staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $4,000,000 to the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) via the Tides Center for general support.

This funding represents a renewal of previous support for ASJ, which our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform, Chloe Cockburn, considers an exceptionally high-performing organization with a track record of securing significant criminal justice policy reforms.

Background

The organization

ASJ is a national organization seeking to replace overreliance on incarceration in states across the U.S. with new safety priorities rooted in community health and well-being. It has built off of and scaled up the success of Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ), a state-based advocacy and policy reform organization that, among other accomplishments, has ushered in several major policy changes and developed a statewide network for crime survivors calling for justice reform and new community investments to stop the cycle of crime.

The cause

This grant falls within our focus area of criminal justice reform, and represents a renewal of our 2016 grant recommendation to ASJ.

About the grant

Proposed activities

ASJ intends to use this funding for overall capacity building and expansion. Specifically, ASJ has the following goals for 2017:

  • Increase staff (15-20 new hires) and further develop organizational infrastructure.
  • Provide support to advance policy reforms across several states.
  • Launch the national Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) network of state chapters and an online community.
  • Influence state-based and major national media outlets’ coverage of safety and justice reform.
  • Launch the Safe and Just Campaign Academy, including curriculum design, pilot completion, and inaugural cohort selection and start.

Case for the grant

Details on our initial support for ASJ can be found on our February 2016 grant page.

In considering continued and expanded funding for ASJ, our primary considerations were:

  • Successful justice reform efforts in Illinois: We consider ASJ’s work to have directly contributed to two major policy changes in Illinois that we estimate will result in a reduction of approximately 4,500 prison beds.
  • Strong leadership and room for growth: We continue to consider ASJ’s leadership team exceptionally strong at management, capacity growth, fundraising, and overall strategy. We also consider ASJ’s expansion plans well-developed and have confidence they can be executed at a high level and could likely lead to further justice reform successes.
  • Support for the crime survivor organizing model: ASJ is building a national organizing network to center debates on crime policy around the experiences and voices of crime survivors, especially those from the communities most harmed by crime cycles and least helped. We consider this a powerful and persuasive approach for developing broader public support for replacing “tough on crime” with holistic community safety solutions, and see ASJ as a national leader in this type of organizing and narrative shifting.

Budget and room for more funding

ASJ is currently scaling up and targeting a $20-$25 million annual budget; once reached, it is our impression that ASJ intends to operate at that level for a few years, augmenting with additional fundraising for individual campaigns as needed. Our present intention is to continue supporting ASJ at some level for the foreseeable future.

Our process

In deciding on renewal, our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform, Chloe Cockburn, requested evidence of impact from ASJ’s leadership as well as detailed documentation on its plans for future expansion.

The Open Philanthropy Project separately recommended a grant to the Alliance for Safety and Justice Action Fund via The Advocacy Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization affiliated with ASJ.