Equitable Justice Fund

2018-2020 Grantee Partners

Founded in 1996, African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is a think tank that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality. AAPF utilizes new ideas and innovative perspectives to transform public discourse and policy. They promote frameworks and strategies that address a vision of racial justice that embraces the intersections of race, gender, class, and the array of barriers that disempower those who are marginalized in society. AAPF is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Black Women’s Blueprint works to place Black women and girls’ lives as well as their particular struggles squarely within the context of the larger racial justice concerns of Black communities and are committed to building movements where gender matters in broader social justice organizing so that all members of their communities gain social, political and economic equity. They engage in progressive research, historical documentation, policy advocacy and organizing steeped in the struggles of Black women within their diverse communities and within dominant culture. They work to address the specific gender-responsive needs of women in the justice system and engage the community and their members in organizing and advocacy campaigns focused on justice reform.

College and Community Fellowship (CCF) is a nonprofit dedicated to helping women with criminal convictions earn college degrees so that they, their families, and their communities can thrive. CCF approaches systemic change through their national advocacy and technical assistance programs. CCF’s advocacy training program, Women Influencing Systems and History (WISH), equips women impacted by incarceration with the tools and skills to become stronger advocates and organizers around issues that impact them and their communities.

Maryland Justice Project‘s mission and goal is to breakdown the boundaries and stigmas associated with women and girls who are disenfranchised and marginalized. They do this by educating and informing both ex-offenders and employers about legislation relative to this cause, their responsibilities, and the positive impact that advocated initiatives can have on the community.

Rights4Girls advocates for the dignity and rights of young women and girls so that every girl can be safe and live a life free of violence and exploitation. Through strategies that include public education campaigns, policy development and advocacy, youth engagement, and coalition-building, Rights4Girls changes the narrative and polices that allow girls to be criminalized when they are victimized, as well as promotes solutions that provide girls and gender non-conforming youth with access to healing and support. Rights4Girls centers the voices and experiences of our most marginalized girls, including girls and gender-nonconforming youth of color, to ensure that their lives are not only contemplated in mainstream conversations around justice reform and gendered violence, but that their needs are made a priority.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP seeks to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, gender nonconforming, and/or intersex (TGNCI). SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. SRLP believes that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence. SRLP’s Prisoner Justice Project uses a multi-strategy approach to actualize change that addresses the root causes of incarceration in transgender communities.

Young Women United (YWU) is a reproductive justice organization leading policy change, research, place-based community organizing, and culture shift strategies by and for women and people of color in New Mexico. YWU works to build communities where all people have access to the information, education, and resources needed to make real decisions about their own bodies and lives.

Equitable Justice Mini-Grants

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) was created to fill a service gap for trans and queer immigrants incarcerated in detention centers in the US. They work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Two Spirit, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and HIV+ immigrant prisoners and their families currently in detention centers, those that are recently released from detention centers, and those at risk at entering immigration detention in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They provide services to clients on the inside and post-release as well as community organizing, advocacy and policy work around the structural barriers and state violence that LGBTQI detainees face in relation to their immigration status, race, sexuality, and gender expression/identity.

Project Hajra is a community organization of AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South/Central Asian) women and families invested in strong intersectional and community-based approaches. With ~258 members based in Queens, their primary focus is creative community organizing by migrant women of color to end state violence (including criminal justice system) and interpersonal/domestic violence in their communities through healing and transformative justice. They develop culture-specific programs related to gender justice, community defense, and reclaiming safety on their own terms instead of the criminal justice system.

Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF) is a member-led organization of youth of color that builds power to secure social, economic, and racial justice. They develop politically conscious leaders invested in improving themselves and their communities through youth-led campaigns, movement-building, and cultural expression through arts and media. RYTF prioritizes movement building through coalition work. RYTF prioritizes intersectionality with aligned movements, particularly gender equity, within its work as its staff and membership are predominantly women of color.


From May through September of 2018, through an open request for proposals and a proposal review process that engaged foundation staff, trustees, and community partners, the foundation identified seven organizations to receive 2018-2020 Equitable Justice Fund grants.

Key characteristics we sought in Equitable Justice grantee partners included the following:

  • Deep knowledge of their target population—which must include women, girls, trans, and/or gender non-conforming individuals of color—and of the issues they are working to address, including an intersectional analysis of them.
  • Key roles for and engagement of women, girls, trans, and/or gender non-conforming individuals of color in criminal justice reform.
  • Strategic use of advocacy, organizing and/or civic engagement to advance systems-level reform toward equitable criminal justice.
  • Building the power of system-impacted women, girls, trans, and/or gender non-conforming individuals of color to improve their lives and the lives of others; advance equitable criminal justice policies and practices; and change the narrative on who they are and can be.
  • Meaningful success in achieving goals, including making transformational progress in advancing equitable criminal justice reform.