General Questions

What are the goals of the Art for Justice Fund?

The Art for Justice Fund invests in leading organizations and innovative programs aimed at safely cutting the prison population in states with the highest rates of incarceration, and strengthening education and employment options for people leaving prison. Our overall goals are to:

  • Reduce mass incarceration by 20% in 10-15 target states over five years.
  • Make visible the human dimension of mass incarceration.
  • Educate Americans about mass incarceration and its links to racial bias.
  • Build the public will for further reforms of our criminal justice system.

What is the timeline?

The Fund aims to invest a minimum of $100 million over five years (2017-2022). 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.

How will funds be aggregated?

The Ford Foundation partners with Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors (RPA) to manage the grantmaking of the Art for Justice Fund. 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.

What governance will be established for the Fund?

All activities of the Art for Justice Fund will be guided by an Governing Board, which will have duties that include:

  • Approving and monitoring the initiative’s overall strategy;
  • Approving grantmaking guidelines;
  • Approving grants dockets; and
  • Reviewing annual progress reports.

The Governing Board’s work will be informed by the Art for Justice Council, a group of exemplary leaders in criminal justice reform and justice-focused artists. Over the course of the initiative, the Council will:

  • Offer counsel on overall program strategy;
  • Review annual progress reports; and
  • Serve as ambassadors of the Art for Justice Fund.

Who will determine grantees?

The Governing Board will establish program guidelines, determine eligibility and application processes, and select grantees for the Art for Justice Fund.

Who manages the Fund?

The Art for Justice Fund, a project of the Ford Foundation, will be housed and managed in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA). Learn more.

For Grant Seekers

What types of organizations are likely recipients of grants from the Art for Justice Fund?

Nonprofit 501(c)3 social justice, advocacy, educational, and arts organizations that align with our grantmaking strategies are likely candidates. See our list of current grantees.

What will Art for Justice Fund not fund?

While we are grateful for all the work being done to shift policy and perception around mass incarceration, the Art for Justice Fund does not accept unsolicited proposals and will not presently make grants to:

  • 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 not connected to specific public policy campaigns or model programs.
  • Film or photography projects that do not emerge from specific public policy campaigns or model programs.
  • Art or writing projects that are not solicited or commissioned by Art for Justice.

How can an organization apply?

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

For Donors

How may I contribute to the Fund?

Donors to the Art for Justice Fund may choose one of three ways to participate:

  • Donate works of arts (or other tangible assets) to the Art for Justice Fund at RPA, which in turn will convert their value into funds for program grantmaking in keeping with explicit guidelines overseen by the Art for Justice Fund Governing Board;
  • Donate funds to RPA that will be used for program grantmaking overseen by the Fund’s Governing Board; or
  • Donate stocks or securities that can be sold, converted to their market value and used for program grantmaking overseen by the Fund’s Governing Board.

Is there a minimum donation?

There is no minimum donation through our secure online portal.  However, as a general guide, the minimum donation for art, jewelry, non-marketable securities or other non-cash assets or is $100,000. Costs associated with the storage and disposition of art make it cost-prohibitive for the Fund to accept gifts valued below $100,000.

Will I be able to get a charitable deduction for my gift?

RPA is a 501(c)3 public charity, donations to which are generally deductible for income tax purposes to the maximum extent allowed by law. Donors’ personal circumstances will dictate the amount of deduction they may take or use. Donations of works of tangible personal property, including art, are subject to complex tax rules. RPA strongly urges donors to work with their tax advisors with regard to contributions and applicable tax reporting or appraisal requirements. RPA retains the right to refuse a contribution.

May I restrict my gift?

The full potential of the Art for Justice Fund will be realized through the pooling of resources by generous, like-minded donors and the use of those combined funds to advance strategies informed by the expertise and experience of the Ford Foundation, the Art for Justice Fund Council, and the Governing Board. All gifts made to the Art for Justice Fund must be unrestricted.

How will a sale of art be handled?

In compliance with IRS rules, RPA will maintain complete control over the decision and timing of any sale of art work donated to RPA to support the Art for Justice Fund, and will manage any such sale and conversion of art into funds. It is the policy of RPA’s board to sell assets as soon as feasible.

  • Gifts of fine art and other non-liquid assets require special treatment and supervision. RPA will work with donors to ensure the efficient and appropriate handling of contributions and dispositions of fine art. Donors will have a single point of contact at RPA to oversee the process.
  • RPA will work with the donor’s representatives, including attorneys, appraisers and recommended dealers to plan and oversee any sale.
  • RPA will manage the relationship with the designated dealer(s) and ensure works of art are appropriately stored, safeguarded and insured until their final disposition.
  • Donors will receive an acknowledgement letter and RPA will cooperate with donors with regard to applicable income tax reporting requirements arising from their contributions.

Are there special considerations with donations of fine art?

Fine art and collectibles are considered tangible personal property. Complicated income tax rules apply to contributions of tangible personal property. RPA strongly urges donors to work with their tax advisor with regard to contributions and claiming and using a charitable deduction for such contributions. Depending on the donor’s individual income tax circumstances, a charitable deduction may be of limited benefit.

Who will cover the costs of appraisal, sale fees, insurance, and related costs associated with a sale of artwork?

RPA will charge donors a flat $10,000 handling fee on contributions of non-liquid assets that will cover legal review, management and disposition of asset contributed. For certain contributions, donors may be required to obtain a qualified appraisal in order to claim an income tax deduction. RPA strongly encourages donors to work with their tax advisors in planning their contributions. Fees charged for appraisal and commissions to auction houses or dealers are not included in RPA fee.

Is there a date limit to gifts (i.e., gifts will not be accepted after certain date)?

RPA will accept gifts to the Fund throughout its five-year timeframe. Gifts will be used for grants to the selected recipients.

What recognition and/or other benefits will I receive for my donation?

Donors will receive an acknowledgement letter, and RPA will cooperate with regard to applicable income tax reporting requirements that may arise from the contribution. RPA will sponsor two recognition events each year for donors who contribute to the Fund, and will issue Annual Reports that acknowledge all donors to the Fund.

Will I receive regular reports about the work of the Fund?

RPA will produce a mid-year briefing report in the first year of the Fund and a final report at the end of that year. In subsequent years, the Fund will issue Annual Reports to inform individual donors, family foundations and their advisors about the work of the Art for Justice Fund and ensure transparency and accountability to the Fund’s donors.

May I propose organizations to be considered for grants?

While donors may recommend organizations to the Fund for consideration, all grants will be made in keeping with the guidelines and application procedures laid out for the Fund, and all grant decisions will be made by the Governing Board.

May I contribute directly to Fund grantees?

Donors may contribute directly to Fund grantees, independent of the Fund. Art for Justice Fund grantees are published on the website. While donors may contribute directly to a Fund grantee, they may achieve greater impact by learning about criminal justice reform through Art for Justice Fund donor briefings and events, and pooling their contributions with other donors under the auspices of the Fund. In addition, by supporting the Fund donors will save time and resources because the organizations will have been vetted by people with expertise in the criminal justice field.

How else can I help?

We welcome and are grateful to all donors who share information about this initiative with their friends and colleagues, and encourage others to contribute.

For more information, contact the Art For Justice Fund team.