CJI endeavors to leverage its unique position in the world of philanthropy to assist peer grantmakers with the delivery of strategic, targeted, and effective grant support to advance the fundamental transformation of policing and carceral systems, coupled with community-based approaches to safety and healing on a national scale.
Quest 4 Democracy (Q4D) was conceived in 2018 as a targeted effort to support advocacy nonprofits led by formerly incarcerated people working on bail reform, increased court and police accountability, the restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, and civil engagement around the felony-conviction re-enfranchisement movement.
CJI partnered with the Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM) to conduct the Quest for Democracy (Q4D) grants program on FICPFM’s behalf. FICPFM is a network of more than 50 civil and human rights organizations led by people with conviction histories or family connections who are committed to improving society by transforming the criminal justice system.
We applied our unique model of incubating smaller emerging and established organizations engaged in strategic criminal legal movement work from the perspective of our most marginalized communities. CJI, and its fiduciary partner NEO Philanthropy, provided critical Q4D grants evaluation, administration, and financial management. In the form of $25,000 grants, CJI disbursed more than 40 grants totaling $1,086,000 since the start of this partnership. In addition to this baseline support, Q4D also arranged in 2020 for the delivery of $250,000 in emergency rapid-response grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CJI is proud of the work we accomplished together with the Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People and Families Movement, and we wish the program every success as it continues operating independently to provide critical support shoring up American democracy where it is most needed.
In 2021, CJI collaborated with the Unfunded List (www.unfundedlist.com) as a co-review partner. Unfunded List reviews funding proposals twice annually from small and mid-size nonprofits and social impact startups. The more than 200 philanthropy experts on its evaluation committee provide helpful and candid feedback about each grant proposal’s weaknesses and strengths. The best proposals emerging from this process are circulated to a network of foundations and philanthropists in the hopes of securing new funding sources and partnerships for the most promising unfunded proposals.