Our Approach

Investing in community solutions for a more just New York City.

Launched by The New York Women’s Foundation in 2018, The Justice Fund is a seven-year initiative to support community solutions that: reduce incarceration; move New York City and the country toward decriminalization and decarceration; and invest in economic opportunity, health and safety for system-impacted people and communities.

The New York Women’s Foundation is joined by funding partners: Art for Justice Fund, Ford Foundation, Frances Lear Foundation, JM Kaplan Fund, New York Foundation and The Pinkerton Foundation.

This site is a hub for information, strategies, and resources for philanthropic funders. Fund Partners are encouraged to submit news, events, research and insights by emailing cjinitiaitve@nywf.org.

Leveraging investments and increasing impact.

The Justice Fund builds on The New York Women’s Foundation’s collaborative funds approach to leveraging investment and increasing impact. The Foundation houses three funding collaboratives: The New York City Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color, The Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies and The Justice Fund. With more than three decades of experience investing in community-led organizations working at the intersection of economic, gender and racial justice, we bring a unique perspective that cannot be found anywhere else. This includes our ground-up approach of funding solutions by women for their communities and engaging community in decision making through grantmaking and other participatory processes.

Uplifting the voices and solutions of system impacted communities

As a core tenant of our approach, community-led expertise, input and solutions are central to the initiative in multiple ways. We emphasize inclusion of individuals with histories of justice system involvement, community leaders and CBOs, and leaders from academia and research, in order to leverage their local voices and visions. We do this by:

  • Convening and engaging stakeholders to gather input on the initiative’s strategies and activities and to provide networking and peer-learning opportunities;
  • Prioritizing funding for organizations that proactively engage justice-involved individuals and their family members in key decision-making and leadership roles, such as: a) paid staff positions, particularly at the Executive Director level and other senior management roles; b) Board leadership or other visible volunteer or advisory positions; and c) opportunities for formalized input into the design, implementation and evaluation of reform-related work engaged by the organization;
  • Co-authoring and leading of public education events, research reports and op-eds on issues related to justice reform locally and nationally; and
  • Creating advisory committees to provide thought leadership and guide decision-making around grantmaking, including the review of proposals, conducting site visits, and making funding recommendations.

"The Justice Fund’s focus on women, families and impacted communities is a timely and important recognition that those most affected by mass incarceration must have a central role in this endeavor."

Hon. Jonathan Lippman, Chair of the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration