The Spark Justice Fund (SJF) resources grassroots organizing groups that are ending money bail and unjust pretrial detention policies. The Fund 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.

The SJF was launched in 2019 and has moved more than $10.4 million to 62 organizations!


The SJF prioritizes funding for:

  • Decarcerative policy reform and/or policy implementation efforts to end cash bail and other key policy drivers of jail populations.
  • Campaigns to close jails or stop jail expansion and drive investment into the communities most impacted by incarceration.
  • The creation of innovative, community-driven alternatives to pretrial detention.


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 The SJF does not fund: 

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

The SJF Grantmaking Process

The Spark Justice Fund works closely with an Advisory Committee that contributes thought leadership and insight to guide our grant-making efforts. This advisory role was established to involve a diverse array of stakeholders in meaningful discussions aimed at exploring the national landscape, incorporating best practices, identifying emerging innovations, and amplifying the voices and experiences of those most affected.

Current Funding Opportunities

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. Proposals are currently being acceptedThe 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. See the RFP for more details.

Donor Benefits

Borealis Philanthropy builds bridges between funders and organizers to resource grassroots movements that are rooted in liberation and justice for all people. By partnering with Borealis, philanthropy can maximize its collective impact; fund bold, leading-edge work; and learn in community with allied funders, expert staff, and grantee partners.

The Spark Justice donor collaborative offers funders:

  • Learning opportunities about the grassroots campaigns SJF is supporting for pretrial justice and racial justice.
  • Updates about SJF’s current grantmaking priorities and the field of pretrial justice organizing and movement-building.
  • Feedback from executive directors, specifically Black EDs, about what’s happening in the movement and ways to respond to organizers’ needs.
  • Access to a community of donors invested in issues such as digital surveillance, pretrial detention, as well as closing jails and prisons.


For more information about the Spark Justice Fund, email