About the Fund
We make direct grants to artists and advocates focused on safely reducing the prison population, promoting justice reinvestment and creating art that changes the narrative around mass incarceration.
We believe that art creates the compassion and empathy necessary to drive social change. Art is transformative and can imagine for us a future of empathy and shared safety.
Our founder, Agnes Gund, was inspired to take a stand against inequality in the criminal justice system after reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy and watching Ava DuVernay’s 13th. These storytellers paint a picture of the human toll of mass incarceration that moved her to launch the Art for Justice Fund through the sale of a beloved piece of artwork from her private collection.
The Art for Justice Fund is disrupting mass incarceration by funding artists and advocates working together to reform our criminal justice system. The Fund disrupts the very processes and policies that lead to high prison populations in the first place. In other words, we’re a “de-carceration” fund.
“It is my hope that by supporting organizations and leaders working on criminal justice reform, the Art for Justice Fund can inspire change and help pave the way for a better, safer future for our communities and the millions of people whose lives are devastated by mass incarceration.”
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization that has for more than 80 years worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide. Ford will provide programmatic expertise and cover operating costs of the Fund so that 100 percent of contributed funds are allocated directly to grants and program-related contracts.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is one of the world’s largest philanthropic advisory services and has facilitated over $3 billion of giving in 50+ countries. RPA is providing programmatic, advisory and governance support to the Fund.
Read, Watch, Learn
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist
Locking up Our Own by James Forman Jr.
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton & Cari Lynn
Orange is The New Black by Piper Kerman
13th (film) by Ava DuVernay
Ted Talk: We Need To Talk About an Injustice by Bryan Stevenson