Soros Justice Fellowships
The Soros Justice Fellowships fund 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 overreliance on incarceration and extreme punishment, and ensuring a fair and accountable system of justice.
Fellows receive funding through the following three categories:
The Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships fund 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 may range from litigation to public education to coalition building to grassroots mobilization to policy-driven research. Advocacy Fellowships are 18 months in duration and may be undertaken with the support of a host organization. Advocacy Fellowships come with an award that ranges between $94,500 and $127,500, depending on level of experience, for the 18 months.
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 Media 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 12 months in duration, and fellows are expected to make their projects their full-time work during the term of the fellowship. Media Fellowships come with an award that ranges between $63,000 and $85,000, depending on level of experience, for the 12 months. Up to three people can apply jointly for a single Media Fellowship, but joint applications carry a single award.
Youth Activist Fellowships
The Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellowships, in partnership with the Open Society Youth Exchange, support outstanding individuals aged 18 to 25 to take on projects of their own design that address some 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 and 12 or 18 months in duration. Youth Activist Fellowships come with an award of $57,500 for full-time, 18-month projects (the award is pro-rated for part-time or 12-month projects).
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. Please carefully review the complete guidelines for more details on the specific requirements for each category of fellowships.
We strongly encourage applications for projects that demonstrate a clear understanding of the intersection of criminal justice issues with the particular needs of low-income communities, Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and children, and those otherwise disproportionately affected by harsh criminal justice policies, as well as applications for projects that cut across various criminal justice fields and related sectors, such as education, health and mental health, housing, and employment.
We especially welcome applications 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).
The fellowships do not fund the following:
- enrollment for degree or nondegree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research
- projects that address criminal justice issues outside the United States (applicants themselves—with the exception of Youth Activist Fellowship applicants—can be based outside the United States, as long as their work directly relates to a U.S. issue)
- lobbying activities
Applications must be submitted online via the application portal, which can be accessed here starting on February 8, 2022.Apply Online
Download the complete guidelines.
Download the complete guidelines.
Download the complete guidelines.
Download our tax lobbying rules.
Amanda Alexander2012Through direct legal services, client education, targeted litigation, and advocacy, Detroit native Amanda Alexander will work to minimize the ways an entire family suffers when a parent is incarcerated.
Amanda Aronczyk2012Aronczyk will produce a radio documentary and report on the financial barriers people face upon leaving prison and how this impacts families and communities.
Ana Muniz2012Working with a broad-based coalition in Los Angeles, scholar and activist Muniz will challenge the continued and growing use of gang injunctions. Individuals typically targeted by these policies are overwhelmingly black or Latino youth, raising...
Angad Bhalla2012Documentary filmmaker Bhalla will promote his film that examines the injustice of solitary confinement. The film explores the remarkable, creative journey and friendship between artist Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace, a man who has spent 40 years...
Azadeh Zohrabi2012Zohrabi will work to move California away from the use of long-term solitary confinement in state prisons through impact litigation, strategic communications, and public education.
Carlos Garcia2012Garcia, an activist and community organizer in Maricopa County, Arizona, will work to end the federal government’s collaboration with local law enforcement to detain and deport immigrants.
Dana Wolfe2012Through public education and advocacy, Wolfe will work to promote a reasonable and informed dialogue about sex offender management and sexual assault prevention in the state of New York.
Francis Guzman2012Guzman will challenge the practice of prosecuting and incarcerating children in California's adult criminal justice system and advocate for alternative sentencing and local treatment for youth charged with serious offenses.
Hilda Chan2012Chan will lead a grassroots campaign in San Diego County to end mandatory, unannounced, warrantless, and suspicionless home searches of people who have applied for welfare.