A Problem We Must Confront

The U.S. spends more than $70 billion on correction services every year, and supports a massive prison industry that incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. With five percent of the world’s population, we house 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

In the U.S. today, one in three black men will spend time in jail. For Latinos, it’s one in six. For white males, it’s one in 17. And most incarcerated people come from poor communities.

The criminal justice policies that lead to these disproportionate outcomes devastate entire communities: not only the people sentenced to prison, but also the families they leave behind.

Yet there is little investment in proven prevention, education and re-entry programs that could reduce incarceration and recidivism — and transform millions of lives.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Inspired by the leadership of Agnes Gund and seeded with funds from the sale of artwork in her collection, the Art for Justice Fund offers art collectors and patrons the opportunity to contribute to significant reforms in the criminal justice system. The Fund is a five-year initiative designed to make meaningful progress on key reforms in the U.S. criminal justice system.

The Art for Justice Fund raises private capital, primarily through the sale of art, to support strategic investments for high impact, lasting, bipartisan criminal justice reform at the state and local level.


What will the Art for Justice Fund support?

Over the next five years (2017-2022), the Art for Justice Fund (A4JF) will support innovative advocacy and interventions aimed at safely cutting the prison population in states with the highest rates of incarceration, and strengthening the education and employment options for people leaving prison. In addition, the Fund will support selected artistic initiatives that enable artists to bear witness to the injustices of the system and speak to the potential of people enmeshed in it.

What will Art for Justice Fund not fund?

  • Individual social service and alternative to incarceration programs that do not engage policy reforms or structural change.
  • Individual college in-prison or re-entry programs, outside of a larger public/private initiative.
  • Academic research disconnected to specific policy or practice initiatives.

How can an organization apply?

In the initial phase of the Fund’s operation, proposals will be considered by invitation only. The Fund may issue a limited request for proposals in 2018. Please check this webpage for further information.

How will grants be determined?

An Advisory Board, chaired by Agnes Gund, will guide all aspects of the Fund. The Advisory Board will set program parameters and make grant determinations, based on recommendations of experts in criminal justice reform and the arts.

How can donors get involved?

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) will manage the Art for Justice Fund, in partnership with the Ford Foundation. RPA is a nonprofit organization with a proven track record in managing complex, multi-million dollar philanthropic projects. The Ford Foundation will cover operating costs of the Fund so that 100% of contributed funds will be allocated directly to grants and program contracts.

Interested donors can participate by contributing the proceeds from the sale of artwork to RPA, or by making cash contributions. Contributions will be considered tax deductible to the full extent of the law. RPA has experience in managing the sale of assets, including artwork, and can help potential donors in these matters, if desired.

We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you are rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. — Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

as of June 12, 2017

Phil and Shelley Fox Aarons
Laura and John Arnold
Clarence Otis, Jr. and Jacqueline Bradley
Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault
Tony and Robyn Coles
Pete Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney
Glenn Fuhrman
Pamela Joyner and Alfred Giuffrida
Agnes Gund
A.C. Hudgins
Jo Carole Lauder
Marguerite Steed Hoffman and Tom Lentz
Daniel S. Loeb
Donald Marron
Raymond J. McGuire and Crystal McCrary
Brooke and Dan Neidich
Edith Cooper and Robert Taylor
Laurie M. Tisch
Steve Tisch


Nick Hodges, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
212 812 4318