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The Soze Agency — Returning Citizens Project

Russell Craig with his piece Self Portrait, depicting his face on four canvases, painted over a backdrop of sentencing and parole papers from his conviction on drug charges, shown at the Truth to Power exhibit in Philadelphia, 2016. (Courtesy of Soze)
Organization Name 
The Soze Agency
Award Date 
Grant Amount 
To support the Returning Citizens Project
Topic (focus area) 

Published: February 2017

The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $261,500 to The Soze Agency to support its Returning Citizens Project. Michael Skolnik, the CEO of The Soze Agency, plans to use this grant to coordinate the launch of a formerly incarcerated artist network, with an initial group of five selected artists.

This is a discretionary (formerly called “no-process”) grant. For discretionary grants, the grant investigator (in this case Chloe Cockburn, our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform) can recommend the grant without needing to go through our normal process of providing their reasoning, discussing with the team, and providing input on and review of our public page. These grants are limited to a relatively small proportion of our grantmaking, and some other stipulations apply to what types of grant are eligible. The overall aim is for us to be able to move forward on relatively small and low-risk grants, based purely on the judgment of a single staff member and with minimal delay.

Update: In June of 2017, we added $45,000 to the original award amount to expand the group of initially selected artists. The “grant amount” above has been updated to reflect this.