• A4J was designed as a spend-down fund from its inception.  It was A4J’s founder, Agnes Gund’s, intent from the beginning to respond with urgency to those doing the work on the ground and to move dollars as strategically and quickly as possible.  Neither she nor the board had any desire to create a new endowed fund that would require additional time and resources to manage and sustain.  

    A4J understood in 2017 there was a political/cultural moment of opportunity to advance criminal legal change and believed a large infuse of resources to artists and advocates working in common cause to end mass incarceration could be catalytic. If A4J stewarded these resources wisely, we could inspire other donors to step up and continue supporting the work after the Fund was gone. 

  • By June 2023, an exciting trend was emerging with more criminal justice funders taking up the work of narrative change, and in some cases, support for artists. The Just Trust and Galaxy Gives are two examples. At the same time, more traditional arts and humanities funders were taking up social justice, and in some cases criminal legal reform. The best example is the Mellon Foundation with its new five-year, $125M funding initiative called Imagining Freedom. 

    Other examples include The Center for Art and Advocacy’s Right of Return Fellowship, designed to resource and support formerly incarcerated artists working with advocates to end mass incarceration. 

  • In the A4J grantee directory, you will find a listing of every artist, advocate, and organization funded by A4J over its six-year lifetime. Where possible, websites and social media platforms are included so you can contact many of them directly. 

  • Both. A4J initially referred to the Art for Justice Fund, the time-limited grantmaking initiative, which existed from 2017 to 2023. The community of artists, advocates, and allied donors the Fund helped to coalesce would become a powerful force in the movement to end mass incarceration as a strategy to end mass incarceration. 


Artists + Advocates


  • A4J, the Fund, ended as planned on June 30, 2023, and no longer accepts or manages donations of any kind. However, we strongly encourage you to consider supporting the artists and organizations listed in A4J grantee directory

    You may also consider contacting A4J’s fiscal sponsor,Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which provided programmatic, advisory, and governance support to the Fund. RPA may be able to help manage donations and support of proceeds from the sale of artwork, jewelry, or other valued objects.

Press + Media