Open Society Foundations Accepting Applications for Soros Justice Fellowships

The Open Society Foundations is accepting applications for its Soros Justice Fellowships.

Grants of up to $120,000 will be awarded to 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 over-reliance on incarceration and extreme punishment and ensuring a fair and accountable system of justice.

Fellows receive funding through the following three categories: Advocacy Fellowships, Media Fellowships, and Youth Activist Fellowships.

1) Advocacy Fellowships: The Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships are designed to enable 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 funded in the past range from litigation, to public education, to coalition building, to grassroots mobilization and policy-driven research. Advocacy Fellowships are eighteen months in duration, may be undertaken with the support of a host organization, and can begin anytime between July and November 2018. Advocacy Fellowships come with an award of either $87,000 or $120,000 (depending on level of experience), plus project-related expenses for the eighteen months.

2) 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 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. Media Fellowships are twelve months in duration, and fellows are expected to make their projects their full-time work during the term of the fellowship. Projects can begin anytime between July and November 2018. The fellowships come with an award of either $58,000 or $80,000 (depending on level of experience), plus project-related expenses for the twelve months.

3) Youth Activist Fellowships: The Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellowships, in partnership with the Open Society Youth Exchange, support outstanding individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 eager to take on projects of their own design that address an aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system. Projects can range from public education and training to grassroots organizing and policy advocacy to social media campaigns and other forms of creative communications. Youth Activist Fellowships must be undertaken in partnership with a host organization. Projects can be full-time or part-time, twelve or eighteen months, and can begin anytime between July and November 2018. Youth Activist Fellowships come with an award of $52,500 for eighteen-month projects (the award is pro-rated for part-time or twelve-month projects), plus project-related expenses, as well as access to a range of training and professional development opportunities.

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. Applications are strongly encouraged 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).

See the Open Society Foundations website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

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