PHILADELPHIA — The City’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Cabinet announced today the launch of two new microgrant programs designed to aid in the City’s work on criminal justice reform. The microgrants, offered through the Office of Criminal Justice (OCJ) and the Office of Reentry Partnerships (ORP), are now seeking applications from qualifying community-based organizations.

“By investing in people and organizations who know the community best, we are empowering Philadelphians closest to this important reform work to make changes in their own neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We encourage all community-based organizations engaged in this important work to apply so we can continue to help connect people to these vital services.”

“Making our communities safer and improving the our justice system requires more input from Philly’s communities,” said Keir Bradford-Grey, Chief Defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, “It’s great to see resources being dedicated to groups who have firsthand knowledge of what the people really want and need from our justice system.”

“These new microgrant programs will give community groups the power to help system-involved people without the filter of government,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “The District Attorney’s Office and City of Philadelphia’s efforts to reform the criminal legal system can only be successful if local organizations that know their communities best are empowered to realize long-held visions for safety, inclusion, and justice.”

Criminal Justice Reform Microgrants: Administered by OCJ, in partnership with the criminal justice partner agencies and the Community Advisory Committee, this program will support community-based organizations doing innovative work to further the goals of Philadelphia’s participation in the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC). The SJC in Philadelphia aims to advance safety and racial equity while reducing the size of the local jail population.

The Criminal Justice Reform Microgrant Program will provide funding to Philadelphia-based programs that 1) advance criminal justice reform from a policy perspective; 2) directly engage Philadelphia’s communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system in the reform work; and/or 3) provide support services to individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. To learn more, click here for full program details.

$200,000 in grants will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Sustainability – Grants up to $10,000 to support the continuation of existing criminal justice reform efforts.
  • Innovation – Grants up to $10,000 to support new projects and/or unique approaches to criminal justice reform. (If you are making a notable change to an existing program, we encourage you to apply for an innovation grant.

Funding for these microgrants is provided to the City of Philadelphia by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the Safety and Justice Challenge. The Fund for Philadelphia will administer the grant awards.

Application process: The first step in the process is to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through the City’s website. Letters can also be emailed as a PDF document with attachments to Applications are due by 5 p.m. on November 6, 2020.

Reentry Solutions Microgrants for Community Engagement: Administered by ORP, this microgranting initiative focuses on soliciting community input to inform how people under county probation and parole supervision can best be supported and connected to services (such as workforce training, adult education, and primary healthcare), and how the City can build a more effective reentry services system. This microgranting is part of the broader work around Neighborhood Resource Centers, and will be managed by HR&A Advisors.

NRCs will be a network of community centers where people on county probation and parole report to their probation officer in or near their own neighborhood and access services and resources alongside family members and neighbors. NRCs aim to reduce probation/parole violations, enable people on probation to thrive, and benefit neighbors by removing obstacles, meeting people where they are, and delivering critical programs in welcoming community-centered spaces. Although physical plans for the opening of the first NRC have been significantly delayed because of COVID-19, the City remains committed to engaging with justice-involved individuals to understand how to strengthen the City’s reentry services system and better support people on county supervision.

The City will award $60,000 through HR&A to community-based organizations to implement their own strategies to engage and solicit feedback from Philadelphians who are or have recently been under county supervision and/or have recently returned from incarceration. While proposals may differ in approach, depending on knowledge from local organizations of the best platforms to engage the target communities virtually, proposals are expected to include community engagement forums such as open houses, focus groups, and/or digital surveys. Grant funds must be partially used to compensate community members for leading and/or participating in the community engagement, and proposals from organizations led by people who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system will receive preferential treatment in the selection process. To learn more, click here for full program details.

Application process: Proposals are due October 15, 2020, and applicants will be notified by November 23, 2020 regarding whether they are receiving a grant. Projects will be completed by January 22, 2020.

About the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
The City of Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Cabinet includes the Office of Violence Prevention, Office of Criminal Justice, Office of Reentry Partnerships, Philadelphia Department of Prisons, and the Department of Licenses and Inspections among others.

The Office of Criminal Justice (OCJ) advances the Kenney administration’s goals for criminal justice reform, with emphasis on development of partnerships between City agencies, criminal justice partners, nonprofit organizations, and community members. In addition, OCJ supports the Administration’s goals of violence prevention and service to formerly incarcerated individuals.

The Office of Reentry Partnerships (ORP) was formed in August 2019 to elevate and organize citywide reentry efforts and support the Kenney administration’s goals for criminal justice reform, violence prevention, and community reinvestment.