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Agnes Gund’s Art for Justice Fund Awards $22 Million in First Round of Grants

The Art for Justice Fund, founded by philanthropist and longtime arts patron Agnes Gund earlier this year, announced today that it will award $22 million in its first round of grants to arts and criminal justice organizations working to fight mass incarceration in the United States.

Among the thirty programs that will receive grants ranging from $100,000 to $7.5 million are Color of Change, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and Alliance for Safety and Justice. Arts organizations that were awarded grants include the Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, the Arizona University Poetry Center, the National Book Foundation, and the Actors’ Gang.

All of the recipients that were nominated for awards strive to advance one or more of the key objectives of the Art for Social Justice Fund, which is committed to reforming prosecutorial and bail practices; repealing excessive prison sentences; improving pathways to education and employment for former inmates; supporting artists and writers producing work on the injustices of mass incarceration; and investing in arts initiatives and other projects as a means of crime prevention.

In order to launch the fund, Gund sold a beloved Roy Lichtenstein painting, Masterpiece, 1962, from her private collection in January. The piece raised $165 million at auction—one of the highest known bids for a work of art. She donated $100 million of the proceeds to the fund and challenged other collectors to follow her example.

“My hope is that the work supported by the Art for Justice Fund will help create a groundswell that drives reforms well beyond these specific programs,” said Agnes Gund. “The problem of mass incarceration touches every community across the country, and we need to work together to find creative solutions to build a better, safer future for all our children.”

The fund, established in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is a five-year initiative that will continue to support organizations that combat mass incarceration through policy as well as community engagement.

To date, nearly thirty donors, including Jo Carole Lauder, Clarence Otis, Jr. and Jacqueline Bradley, and Laurie Tisch, have added to Gund’s founding gift for the Art for Justice Fund. The next round of grant awards will be annoucned in spring 2018.

The complete list of grant recipients is as follows:

Prosecution and Bail Reform
• Center for Court Innovation
• Civil Rights Corps
• Color of Change
• CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance
• Fair and Just Prosecution
• Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice
• Pretrial Justice Initiative
• Vera Institute of Justice—More Just New York Program

Sentencing Reform
• Alliance for Safety and Justice
• Californians for Safety and Justice
• Equal Justice Initiative
• Forward Justice

Access to Education and Employment
• City of Detroit, Mayor’s Office
• Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
• The Opportunity Institute
• Vera Institute of Justice—Second Chance Pell Program

Enabling Artists to Bear Witness
• Asian American Writers’ Workshop
• National Book Foundation
• PEN America
• Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
• Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural
• University of Arizona Poetry Center

Arts Diversion and Prison Programs
• The Actors’ Gang
• Art 180
• Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network
• California Lawyers for the Arts
• Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates
• Rehabilitation through the Arts
• Storycatchers Theatre
• WriteGirl