Equitable Justice

Our ultimate vision for the American justice system is that it is equitable, fair, and rightsized; it values women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals; and it ceases to inflict pain, perpetuate racism, and uphold patriarchy.

The current U.S. criminal justice system does not accommodate the unique needs and circumstances of women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals, and it disproportionately harms people of color. For the system to be truly just and equitable, the voices of these individuals need to be at the center of conversations about its reform.

Through our Equitable Justice program area, the Foundation will fund, amplify, build capacity, and collaborate to advance organizations and efforts approaching justice reform with an intersectional lens and centering system-impacted women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals of color.

We include in our definition of “criminal justice,” law enforcement, the judicial system, and corrections at all levels of government, in communities, and in schools. By “system-impacted,” we mean those who have themselves been in, have had loved ones involved with, or live in communities disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system.


We seek the following outcomes through Equitable Justice:

  • Strength
    Grant partners are better resourced to build the power of system-impacted women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming individuals and advance a truthful narrative about our criminal justice system.
  • Visibility
    Grant partners, their work, and their messages are more visible and compelling to talent, funders, policymakers, the media, and other potential collaborators.
  • Partnership
    We and other funders more effectively collaborate to support narratives and work most likely to create transformative change in the justice system.
  • Systems Change
    Policymakers are more compelled to advance fair and equitable criminal justice laws and practices.
  • Power
    System-impacted women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals of color have agency to improve their lives and the lives of others, advance policies and practices on issues they deem most critical to them, their families, their communities, and the justice system, and are more valued and respected.

About the 2018-2020 Equitable Justice Fund

The 2018-2020 Equitable Justice Fund is the inaugural grantmaking round of this new program area. The fund will support small, community-based organizations in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC that are building the leadership and advocacy capacity of system-impacted women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals of color to advance equity and change the narrative about who they are, what our criminal justice system is, and what it can be.

Grant Awards:

The Foundation expects to award 8 grants of $25,000 a year for two years. The grant period will run November 2018 – November 2020. Grants will be in support of general operating expenses.

Grant Partner Agreements:

Grantees will be asked to do a check-in with the foundation 6 months into each grant year; write a story about their current work to be shared through their own, the Foundation’s, and other appropriate media channels; and submit a report at the end of the first year and at the end of the grant period on key activities, learnings, outcomes, and feedback. The Foundation is open to supporting convening(s) of the grantee cohort either through video or in person to nurture networking and/or capacity building needs expressed by grantees.

Questions & Contact:

Please review our answers to these frequently asked questions about the Equitable Justice Fund.

If you have additional questions, please contact Amanda O’Meara at (703) 276-7500 ext. 10 or aomeara@weissbergfoundation.org.