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Soros Justice Fellowships - Advocacy Fellowships and Media Fellowships

Fellowships to USA, Canada, and International Individuals to
Develop Projects Addressing Criminal Justice Issues and Reform

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Open Society Foundations

Deadline Date:

02/17/21 11:59 PM PST

Description:

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Fellowships to USA, Canada, and International individuals for projects that foster change and reform on issues related to the U.S. criminal justice system. The fellowships are intended to mitigate the harmful impact of current criminal justice policies on communities, families, and individuals in the United States.

Open Society-U.S.’s Soros Justice Fellowships fund outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the U.S. criminal justice system. The fellowships are part of a larger effort within the Open Society Foundations to reduce the destructive impact of current criminal justice policies on the lives of individuals, families, and communities in the United States by challenging the overreliance on incarceration and extreme punishment, and ensuring a fair and accountable system of justice.

Funding categories:

Advocacy Fellowships

The Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships fund lawyers, advocates, grassroots organizers, researchers, and others with unique perspectives to undertake full-time criminal justice reform projects at the local, state, and national levels. Projects may range from litigation to public education to coalition building to grassroots mobilization to policy-driven research.

Media Fellowships

The Soros Justice Media Fellowships support writers, print and broadcast journalists, artists, filmmakers, and other individuals with distinctive voices proposing to complete media projects that engage and inform, spur debate and conversation, and catalyze change on important U.S. criminal justice issues. The Media Fellowships aim to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage individuals from pursuing vital but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular topics in comprehensive and creative ways.

Eligibility Criteria

All projects must, at a minimum, relate to one or more of the following U.S. criminal justice reform goals: reducing the number of people who are incarcerated or under correctional control, challenging extreme punishment, and promoting fairness and accountability in our systems of justice. 

Open Society strongly encourages applications for projects that demonstrate a clear understanding of the intersection of criminal justice issues with the particular needs of low-income communities, communities of color, immigrants, LGBTI people, women and children, and those otherwise disproportionately affected by harsh criminal justice policies, as well as applications for projects that cut across various criminal justice fields and related sectors, such as education, health and mental health, housing, and employment.

Open Society especially welcomes applications from individuals directly affected by, or with significant direct personal experience with, the policies, practices, and systems their projects seek to address (e.g., applicants who have themselves been incarcerated, applicants who have a family member or loved one who has been incarcerated and whose fellowship project emerges from that experience, or applicants who are survivors of violence or crime).

For additional details on each of the categories, and the eligibility criteria, see the Guidelines and Application documents in Supporting Documents below. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 161096

Estimated Size of Grant:

Individuals can apply for one of two awards in each category, depending on the applicant’s level of experience.

Advocacy Fellowships: Advocacy Track I comes with an award of $94,500. Advocacy Track II comes with an award of $127,500 over 18 months.

Media Fellowships: The award for Media Track I is $63,000. The award for Media Track II is $85,000.

Term of Contract:

Media Fellowships are 12 months in duration and can begin anytime in the fall of 2021.

Advocacy Fellowships are 18 months in duration and can begin anytime in the fall of 2021.

Applicants must be able to devote at least 35 hours per week to the project if awarded a fellowship; and the project must be the applicant’s only full-time work during the course of the fellowship. Fellows cannot be full-time students during their fellowships.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All applicants must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Fellows cannot be full-time students during their fellowships.

The fellowships do not fund enrollment for degree or non-degree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research. Past recipients of a Soros Justice Fellowship are not eligible to apply. Applicants may be based outside the United States, as long as their work directly relates to a U.S. criminal justice issue. Projects that include lobbying activities will not be funded.

Eligibility for Advocacy Fellowships

Advocacy Track I
Advocacy Track I applicants must have at least two (2) years of relevant experience, which may include: full-time and part-time employment; paid or unpaid internships; sustained volunteer work; or other pertinent experience (e.g. advocacy while incarcerated). Advocacy Track I is for people at a range of phases in their careers, including but not limited to: people just entering the field following post-graduate education; advocates with a few years of work experience; and those beginning to work on criminal justice reform issues after a career in another field or after some other life experience.

Advocacy Track II
Advocacy Track II applicants must have at least ten (10) years of relevant advocacy experience. Advocacy Track II is for seasoned, established, and accomplished leaders and experts in the field—ideally people who have distinguished themselves on a local, state or national level; and who have the kind of stature, experience, and capacity necessary to have a meaningful impact on the issue their project addresses.

Under the Advocacy Fellowship category, the fellowships do not allow multiple individuals to apply jointly for a single Advocacy Fellowship.

Eligibility for Media Fellowships

Experience
Applicants are ideally full-time writers, print or broadcast journalists, filmmakers, artists, or other media makers, with well-established records of publication, exhibition/performance, dissemination, or broadcast in local, regional or national markets, or among targeted audiences or constituencies. Applicants who are not professional writers, journalists, filmmakers, or other types of media makers must demonstrate that they nonetheless have the experience and capacity to accomplish the project.

Media Track I applicants must have at least two (2) years of relevant full-time experience.

Media Track II applicants must have a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant full-time experience. Applicants with fewer than 10 years of relevant full-time experience may nonetheless be considered for a Media Track II fellowship, provided they can demonstrate that they have truly distinguished themselves over the course of their careers.

Joint Applications
Up to three (3) individuals can apply jointly for a Media Fellowship. However, joint applications carry a single award. For joint applicants, the “full-time work” requirement does not apply to each applicant; instead, the applicants’ combined time spent on the project must be at least 35 hours per week.

The fellowships do NOT fund the following:
- Enrollment for degree or nondegree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research
- Projects that address criminal justice issues outside the United States (applicants themselves—with the exception of Youth Activist Fellowship applicants—can be based outside the United States, as long as their work directly relates to a U.S. issue)
- Lobbying activities

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are due on February 17, 2021 (11:59 pm PST) and must be submitted online through the application portal, which can be accessed starting on February 1, 2021.

Applicants who are uncertain whether some aspect of their proposed project fits within the parameters of the fellowships guidelines or whether the project is otherwise likely to be of interest may submit an email inquiry.

Application and Selection Timeline:

- Application Deadline: February 17, 2021 (11:59 pm PST)
- Finalists Notified: April 2021* (all applicants will be notified via email they have been selected as a finalist)
- Supplementary Materials Due: May 2021* (those selected as finalists asked to submit letters of recommendation, host commitment letters, advisory board details, and detailed project timeline, as well as any project updates)
- Finalist Interviews: June 2021* (all finalist interviews will be held via videoconference)
- Fellows Notified: July 2021*
- Projects Begin: Fall 2021

*Dates subject to change

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email inquiries to: sorosjusticefellowships@opensocietyfoundations.org

Grants inquiry form: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/inquiry

Open Society Foundations
224 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
United States

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

Israel

International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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