Strategic Opportunities Support: SOS Rapid Response Fund

Circle for Justice Innovations

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: US $2,500 - US $5,000

Fields of work: Ex-offender Services Correctional Systems & Prisons Criminal Justice System Reform Disaster Relief / Humanitarian Aid

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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2020 will likely be remembered in US history for two defining events: The spread of the Covid-19 virus, and, no less consequential to life and death in our communities, the national presidential and “down ballot” elections. In this perilous time, our movement to transform the criminal justice system must be on high alert to the dangers and opportunities posed by these monumental concerns.

CJI’s SOS Rapid Response Fund has always provided flexible and immediate funding to organizations responding to changing political landscapes and working to build collective power at critical junctures. SOS Grant ranges are between $2,500 to $5,000 (max) In the coming months, SOS will continue to respond to crisis and opportunities across the spectrum of our work, giving priority to the following categories:

Organizing that responds to opportunities or dangers affecting the health, safety, or human rights of incarcerated and directly impacted people based on Covid-19 policies or practices.

Examples may include, but are not limited to

  • Campaigns to secure the release of incarcerated people to protect health and safety during Covid-19. This may include calls to reduce risk by reducing the overall prison population, such as campaigns to release people detained for technical parole violations, and/or people serving sentences of one year or less. It may also include campaigns to secure the release of people who are vulnerable to the virus such as people over 50 and people with underlying health conditions.
  • Mobilizing to make prison and jail communication free of charge in response to Covid-related bans to in-person visits. Such campaigns may support policy change and educate the public about the price of calling prisons in a time when telephone communication is the only way families can speak with incarcerated loved ones.
  • Campaigns that demand emergency wages for incarcerated people who are making hand sanitizer, masks, and other Covid-related materials.

Organizing to support the rights of formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people to effectively participate in the electoral process.

Examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobilizing community action to re-enfranchise incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people by introducing or supporting legislation that restores their voting rights and/or reduces obstacles to the restoration of their voting rights, such as unpaid court fines and fees.
  • Organizing to include the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in voting rights campaigns that have gained momentum due to COVID 19. This may include campaigns to increase access to voter registration, expand early voting, and expand voting by mail, all of which disproportionately affect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who are often left out of campaign strategies and materials.
  • Community education campaigns that explain the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and combat widespread misinformation about their eligibility to vote.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.