The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are collaborating on the Catalyst Grant Program to help organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity and reform at the front end of the criminal legal system.
Racism and racial biases are deeply embedded in the criminal legal system, leading to disproportionate harm to communities of color. People of color, particularly Black people, experience arrests and vehicle and pedestrian stops at higher rates than white people. Moreover, Black people are detained at higher rates than white people and incarcerated for longer periods. Even brief incarceration can result in lost employment and housing, burdensome fines and fees, and destabilized family relationships. Criminal legal system involvement exacerbates existing challenges for many people of color and contributes to a compounding cycle that criminalizes them.
Local organizations are at the forefront of systemic change in the criminal legal system. Improving communities’ access to relevant data and technology can help them inform and improve policies and practices that make the criminal legal system more equitable.
They are seeking project proposals that advance the focus areas of the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative, which include supporting policies, programs, and practices that prevent unnecessary system involvement and decrease racial and ethnic disparities in policing and prosecution. they are building on the two previous cohorts that consisted of 39 grantees across the country.
Funding & Benefits
Selected applicants will receive $40,000 in grant funds; assistance on data, policy, and community engagement from the Urban Institute; access to Microsoft technology and related support; and peer learning opportunities.
- Locally embedded 501(c)(3) organizations based in the US, excluding colleges and universities. they have a focus on those organizations embedded in communities of color, particularly Black communities. Lead organizations may include in their proposals partner organizations that do not meet lead organization eligibility criteria.
- Organizations must have their own 501(c)(3) status. Organizations that have nonprofit fiscal agents and do not have their own 501(c)(3) status are not eligible as lead applicants, but they can be partner organizations to qualified lead applicants. Lead applicants must play a substantial role in proposed projects.
- Projects must focus on reform and racial equity in the front end of the criminal legal system (i.e., prevention, policing, and prosecution). Projects must also incorporate data and technology and be locally focused. Additional information on eligibility is in the RFP section on Project Topic Requirements.
- Grants will not be given to projects that specifically focus on:
- People under 18 years of age;
- People who are currently incarcerated;
- People returning from incarceration; or
- Activities at the state or national levels.
For more information, visit https://catalystapplications.urban.org/