PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Office for Criminal Justice (OCJ) has announced the selection of the grant awards for its John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) Winter 2023 – 2024 Criminal Justice Microgrant Fund (the Fund). The Fund will award and distribute $240,000 in grants. The Fund is part of a larger allocation of funds received by the City from the MacArthur Foundation to address criminal justice reform and the rising prison population in Philadelphia and nationwide. The funds aim to explore the disproportionate impact of the criminal legal system on historically marginalized racial and ethnic communities and address these inequities directly.

“Having more community voices and organizations involved in preventing gun violence is a key part of the Parker administration’s strategy to help make Philadelphia neighborhoods safer,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “We hear what our residents are saying. And we want them to know that more help is on its way. We are thankful to the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge for the ability to include more seats at the table and have more community voices heard as part of our overall public safety strategy.” The SJC Microgrant Fund aims to fund programs that:

  1. Develop new and creative approaches to criminal justice reform in Philadelphia.
  2. Engage communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system in the reform effort.
  3. Provide services to individuals who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system.
  4. Are BIPOC-led organizations seeking general operating support.

The Fund provides resources to community-based organizations doing innovative work around criminal justice reform. Up to 50 percent of the award can be used by grantees to increase organizational capacity. Grants were funded in the following categories:

  • Sustainability grants supporting existing initiatives.
  • Innovation grants supporting new projects and unique approaches.

The City funded the following organizations:

  • Ardella’s House
  • Beloved Care Project
  • Caring Together Program
  • Currently Trending
  • Forget Me Knot
  • KB Foundation
  • New Leash on Life
  • New View Institute
  • Philly Youth Basketball
  • Reawakening Agency

“We are so grateful to the MacArthur Foundation for helping the City invest in more community-based organizations that are working tirelessly to make our communities safer,” said Patty Jones Thompson, Office of Criminal Justice Deputy Director. “The Fund helps us to reach Philadelphians most impacted by the criminal legal system.”

Grants range from $20,000 for individual applicants to $60,000 for collaborative partnerships between multiple organizations. Funding is for an entire year. All grantees join the Safety & Justice Challenge microgrant community, a network of agencies with subject matter expertise and experience in ongoing legal system reform efforts.

For questions regarding the Criminal Justice Microgrant Fund, contact


About the MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including advancing global climate solutions, decreasing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the U.S., and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program and the global 100&Change competition, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy as well as the vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. More information about the Foundation’s criminal justice reform work can be found at

MEDIA CONTACT FOR THE OFFICE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Amaury Ávalos, Communications Director, Managing Director’s Office,