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Strategic Opportunities Support (SOS) - Rapid Response Fund

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Protect the Health, Safety, and
Human Rights of Incarcerated Populations During COVID-19

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Circle for Justice Innovation's (CJI)

Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $5,000 to USA nonprofit organizations to ensure justice for and protect the human rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Funding is intended to support efforts and activities that address health, safety, and human rights of the incarcerated, as well as voting rights of the formerly incarcerated living in the community.

CJI’s SOS Rapid Response Fund has always provided flexible and immediate funding to organizations responding to changing political landscapes and working to build collective power at critical junctures. In the coming months, SOS will continue to respond to crisis and opportunities across the spectrum of our work, giving priority to the following categories:

1) Organizing that responds to opportunities or dangers affecting the health, safety, or human rights of incarcerated and directly impacted people based on Covid-19 policies or practices.

Examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • Campaigns to secure the release of incarcerated people to protect health and safety during COVID-19. This may include calls to reduce risk by reducing the overall prison population, such as campaigns to release people detained for technical parole violations, and/or people serving sentences of one year or less. It may also include campaigns to secure the release of people who are vulnerable to the virus such as people over 50 and people with underlying health conditions.
  • Mobilizing to make prison and jail communication free of charge in response to COVID-related bans to in-person visits. Such campaigns may support policy change and educate the public about the price of calling prisons in a time when telephone communication is the only way families can speak with incarcerated loved ones.
  • Campaigns that demand emergency wages for incarcerated people who are making hand sanitizer, masks, and other COVID-related materials.

2) Organizing to support the rights of formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people to effectively participate in the electoral process.

Examples may include, but are not limited to:

  • Mobilizing community action to re-enfranchise incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people by introducing or supporting legislation that restores their voting rights and/or reduces obstacles to the restoration of their voting rights, such as unpaid court fines and fees.
  • Organizing to include the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in voting rights campaigns that have gained momentum due to COVID 19. This may include campaigns to increase access to voter registration, expand early voting, and expand voting by mail, all of which disproportionately affect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who are often left out of campaign strategies and materials.
  • Community education campaigns that explain the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and combat widespread misinformation about their eligibility to vote.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189386

Estimated Size of Grant:

SOS Grant ranges are between $2,500 to $5,000 (max).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible: 501c3 nonprofit organization or fiscal sponsor

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline: January 1, 2021

Contact Information:

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


Aleah Bacquie Vaughn, Executive Director

For assistance with online application:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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

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