Ohio Transformation Fund

Addressing the impact of mass incarceration and criminalization in Ohio

Grantee Cohort Spring 2018, Spring 2020

Location Ohio

The Ohio Transformation Fund (OTF) is a donor collaborative fund created in 2015 by national and local funders to address the impact of mass incarceration and criminalization in Ohio. OTF regrants funds to organizations working in the field of criminal justice in Ohio to address capacity gaps and conducts fundraising to increase support. OTF staff convenes funders and grantees to help them learn from each other and work together to achieve policy reforms and systems change.

The Ohio Transformation Fund leveraged its Art for Justice grant to enhance its creative messaging and strategies to advance criminal justice reform, build capacity and infrastructure for state grassroots activism and deepen its relationships with arts partners. It specializes in creating structural change in Ohio’s criminal justice system to improve safety and health in the community. It is one of the few statewide donor collaborative funds dedicated to safely reducing the number of people in prisons and jails.

Through its previous partnership with Art for Justice, Ohio Transformation Fund centred voices of people directly impacted by the justice system in related policy conversations. Specifically, the Fund equipped 15 people directly impacted to publicly testify before legislators during hearings on drug sentencing reform efforts, published a brief in Policy Matters Ohio guiding legislators on the “Five Rs of Sentencing Reform” and hosted several Night Out for Safety and Liberation events alongside the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.

With their latest round of support, they partnered with JustLeadershipUSA to develop a robust model emergency-management plan that puts the protection of incarcerated people first, which is of life-saving importance during this pandemic. The Ohio Transformation Fund will partner with JustLeadershipUSA to establish an Ohio-based #JUSTUS Emergency Management Plan Campaign at various jurisdictional levels in Ohio.