Impact Justice works to develop and further community-based models that increase safety and justice. Through their California Justice Leaders (CJL) program, Impact Justice uses an AmeriCorps approach to serve justice-impacted young adults. By hiring credible messengers, the CJL members work in nonprofit organizations for a year where they act as reentry navigators for currently and formerly incarcerated young Californians. Four years since its inception, the CJL program, supported by a Spark Grant, has reached 10 counties and has benefitted over 100 members—this year alone, Impact Justice projects 63 new members will join the ranks.

As Impact Justice continues to scale the CJL program throughout the state, and given the number of individuals who have benefitted from the program, the Michelson 20MM Foundation is pleased to award a 2022 Smart Justice Spark Grant to Impact Justice. 

Through the Spark Grant, Impact Justice will bolster their CJL Alumni Network program. Focusing on four areas—skill-building, networking, connection opportunities, and a deeper dive into topics that interest alumni—Impact Justice will offer professional development opportunities to the 110 alums and counting. In addition to furthering skills such as writing, public speaking, and community engagement, the Alumni Network also provides an opportunity for alumni to expand their networks and obtain job opportunities.

“Seeing the California Justice Leaders program continue to grow since Michelson 20MM’s initial investment in 2019 has demonstrated the power of Impact Justice’s community-based model,” Kenia Miranda Verdugo, Smart Justice Program Manager shared. “We look forward to the success of alumni, including Donald Wilson, Joshua Thomas, and Oscar Canales, in the year to come.”

The Alumni Network will also establish a fund designed to help alums cover the cost of conference fees, university application fees, and other career broadening programs that may otherwise include a financial barrier to entry. We eagerly anticipate sharing updates on the Alumni Network in the year to come!

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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