The Opportunity Institute

Advancing social mobility and equity

Grantee Cohort Fall 2017

Location California

The Opportunity Institute (OI) advances social mobility and equity through education and social policies that make true opportunity possible. OI’s flagship criminal justice initiative, Renewing Communities (RC), is a four-year project launched in 2016 that is funded by Governor Jerry Brown, the State of California, and a dozen foundations. RC aims to “bridge corrections to college” in California by providing people with criminal histories with the opportunities, resources and supports they need to earn a college degree while in prison or after release. RC believes—and research confirms—that higher education plays a key role in breaking the cycle of poverty, reducing recidivism by 40% or more, and rebuilding the lives damaged by mass incarceration.

Funding from Art for Justice supported the expansion of a public-private initiative between government and seven community colleges to provide high-quality college education to students in California prisons.