white sign with bold stencil letters that says abolish, prison, build, community a black woman standing up in front of 3 workers with computer monitors in front of them a black man standing in front of news microphones and people in the background holding a banner


The Spark Justice Fund (SJF) launched in 2019 and resources grassroots organizing groups that are ending money bail and unjust pretrial detention policies. The SJF focuses on supporting grassroots and power-building groups to decarcerate, close jails, and advance transformative visions of pretrial justice in the communities most impacted by incarceration.


Recognizing the challenging and hostile environments that organizations are operating in, particularly during this significant election year, the SJF is now accepting requests for proposals to support organizations addressing our safety & security rapid response funding priorities. The SJF prioritizes funding for work towards, but not limited to:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Ensuring the physical safety of staff and volunteers, implementing security protocols, providing safety training, and having emergency response plans in place.
  • Cybersecurity: Protecting against data breaches, phishing scams, malware attacks, privacy concerns, and protecting sensitive information.
  • Crisis Communication: Managing communication during times of unexpected or significant adversity that could potentially harm an organization’s reputation, operations, or stakeholders.

Proposals are currently being accepted. The SJF Team will continue accepting applications until our funding designated for this support is depleted. All grant proposals will be reviewed by SJF team members and a grantmaking advisory committee. The SJF Team will notify all applicants about the status of their proposal once our funding allocation for this support has been depleted.


Applicants can request $10,000 – $25,000.


The proposal process is open to any groups meeting the criteria below: 

  • 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization;
  • Have a 2024 annual operating budget of $750,000 or less;
  • Did not receive a payment from the SJF in 2023
  • Are working authentically with the communities most impacted by policing and incarceration; 
  • Have an explicit, demonstrated commitment to racial, disability, and gender justice that is reflected in the organization’s leadership and staffing and in how it conducts its work;
  • Work includes a power-building and leadership-development strategy that centers those most impacted by policing.


Groups that are:

  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations;
  • Led by individuals who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system;
  • Led by individuals with disabilities;
  • Led by individuals who identify as Trans or Gender-Nonconforming; 
  • Not receiving significant support from national foundations and generally have budgets of $750,000 or less;
  • Serving communities in historically underfunded geographic areas such as the South, Mid-West, rural areas, U.S. Territories, etc.

And working on:

  • Policy Reforms and Budget Advocacy: Changing standard operations in the criminal legal system through amending, repealing, or reforming laws—including work to divest from mass incarceration by encouraging city and state officials to prioritize investments in research-backed programs that reduce mass incarceration and increase public safety.
  • Jail Closure Campaigns: Closing and stopping the construction of jail facilities, reducing the number of beds, and minimizing the number of individuals who can be incarcerated for low-level offenses in localities. 
  • Abolishing Cash Bail: Eliminating cash bail to reduce racial and economic inequities in the criminal legal system by allowing courts to ignore one’s ability to pay as a condition of release and instead focus on other factors for pretrial detention. 
  • Piloting Community-Led Alternatives to Safety: Creating small-scale projects intended to challenge the status quo and prove the viability of reducing incarceration through safe, effective alternatives.
  • Mutual Aid and Power Building: Meeting the urgent survival needs of communities impacted by mass incarceration.

What SJF does not fund:

  • Direct services work that is not connected to advocacy/organizing to address systemic issues
  • Training for police officers 
  • Law enforcement-led Associations, Foundations, or Athletic Leagues
  • University-led research and centers
  • Individuals
  • Government entities
  • International projects


Please see the following instructions to log into our online portal system: 

New Users: If you are confident your organization has never applied for funding from any Borealis funds before, self-register for an account in our portal by using this link: https://borealisphilanthropy.my.site.com/grants. Please click on “New User?” to complete the registration process and create your login credentials. Be sure to keep this login information for your organization’s records. TIP: This email address is the one we will use to communicate with you if we have questions, which sometimes require immediate response.

  • Accessing the application and eligibility quiz: Log in to the Borealis grants portal to start the application. Once you are logged in, you will be taken to the “Grantee Dashboard” section. At the top of the page, click the “Explore Grant Opportunities” tab. You will see a list of available open application opportunities. Click on the SJF Rapid Response/Learning Opportunity link to begin your application.
  • Access the Application Here: You may already have an account from your previous LOI and/or application. Not Sure? If you think that you or someone at your organization has already registered in the system, DO NOT create a new account. Please contact the grants team at grants@borealisphilanthropy.org to receive your username and password.

Existing Users: If you have previously applied for a Borealis grant, please log in to the application using this portal link: https://borealisphilanthropy.my.site.com/grants and enter your username and password. If you forgot your password, click “Can’t access your account” to reset your password. If your organization applied for a grant in the past and you do not have a username and password, please contact the grants team at grants@borealisphilanthropy.org.

Complete and submit your application: You can access the application and complete any unfinished applications using the same link: https://borealisphilanthropy.my.site.com/grants.

Please complete or update your organization’s profile in the online portal by logging in and clicking “profile” in the top left corner of the profile. You can also enter the organization’s banking information or select “pay by check” in the Profile section. 

Instructions on how to use the portal: https://sites.google.com/borealisphilanthropy.org/forgrantees/borealis-grantee-training-manual