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Brooklyn Community Bail Fund — General Support

Organization Name 
Award Date 
Grant Amount 
For general support.
Topic (focus area) 

Published: September 2016

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund staff reviewed this page prior to publication.

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended $404,800 to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (BCBF) for general support.

We have identified bail reform as a highly impactful area of policy change that we believe could substantially reduce incarceration in numerous jurisdictions around the country. The bail reform landscape includes litigation, advocacy, communications, technical assistance for governmental actors, and bail funds, among other things. This grant pertains to the category of bail funds.

BCBF, which began operations in 2015 in Brooklyn, NY, pays bail amounts of $2,000 or less for misdemeanor defendants who cannot otherwise afford to pay bail. This approach allows defendants to return home rather than going to jail while awaiting trial, and is intended to avoid coerced guilty pleas and other harms caused by pre-trial detention. In addition to its local work, BCBF provides strategic and technical assistance to a broad range of organizations considering establishing bail funds in other jurisdictions. There are about a dozen bail funds operating around the country now and many new ones are starting to emerge.

With this grant, we are supporting BCBF to:

  • Organize existing bail funds around the country into a national network and support that network with coordination staffing. The network will allow bail funds across different cities throughout the U.S. to develop shared data and process standards for bail funds, coordinate local advocacy, and act as a coordinated voice about how bail funds can work most effectively towards broader systems change.
  • Develop a plan for strategic bail fund expansion connected to advocacy around reducing incarceration.

We do not plan to write in more detail about this grant at this time.