Home Page - Fall 2022
Catalyst Grant Program
Request for Proposals and Application
Racism and racial biases are deeply embedded in the criminal legal system, leading to disproportionate harm to communities of color. People of color, particularly Black people, experience arrests and vehicle and pedestrian stops at higher rates than white people. Moreover, Black people are detained at higher rates than white people and incarcerated for longer periods. Even brief incarceration can result in lost employment and housing, burdensome fines and fees, and destabilized family relationships. Criminal legal system involvement exacerbates existing challenges for many people of color and contributes to a compounding cycle that criminalizes them.
Local organizations are at the forefront of systemic change in the criminal legal system. Improving communities’ access to relevant data and technology can help them inform and improve policies and practices that make the criminal legal system more equitable.
The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are collaborating on the Catalyst Grant Program to help organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity and reform at the front end of the criminal legal system.
We are seeking project proposals that advance the focus areas of the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative, which include supporting policies, programs, and practices that prevent unnecessary system involvement and decrease racial and ethnic disparities in policing and prosecution. We are building on the two previous cohorts that consisted of 39 grantees across the country.
You can access the full Request for Proposals here (PDF).
Proposals are due December 2, 2022.
The Request for Proposals contains program details, example projects, application questions, a budget template (XLS), and information about Microsoft technology benefits.
You can also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs – revised 11/4/2022).
Sign up through this form to be notified about new FAQs and reminders of key dates.
Send any questions about the program to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of Program, Key Dates, and How to Learn More
Purpose of Solicitation
To support local activities related to advancing racial equity and reform in the front end of the adult criminal legal system through data and technology.
Lead Organizational Eligibility
Locally embedded 501(c)(3) organizations based in the US, excluding colleges and universities. We have a focus on those organizations embedded in communities of color, particularly Black communities. Lead organizations may include in their proposals partner organizations that do not meet lead organization eligibility criteria.
Award and Benefits
Selected applicants will receive $40,000 in grant funds; assistance on data, policy, and community engagement from the Urban Institute; access to Microsoft technology and related support; and peer learning opportunities.
RFP Issue Date
Monday, October 10, 2022
Deadline for Proposals
Friday, December 2, 2022, 8:00 p.m. eastern time
Application Process and Content
You will need to register and submit your application through the grant application website: catalystapplications.urban.org. A full list of application questions and instructions are in appendix A of the RFP. Given word limits for the 10 narrative questions, application responses are expected to total roughly five pages. After starting an application, applicants may save it as a draft to return to later before submitting.
Project Topic Requirements
Projects must focus on reform and racial equity in the front end of the criminal legal system (i.e., prevention, policing, and prosecution). Projects must also incorporate data and technology and be locally focused. Additional information on eligibility is in the RFP section on Project Topic Requirements.
Grants will not be given to projects that specifically focus on:
Register for Grant Program Updates
Sign up to receive notifications for updated FAQs, webinar reminders, and other deadlines. This registration is not required to apply for the grant.
Webinar: RFP Overview
Microsoft Technology Use: Benefits and Workshop
Projects are not required to use Microsoft technology, but projects that use Microsoft technology in ways that are integral to the proposed data and technology activities will be eligible for additional in-kind technology access and support. We held workshops to learn more about relevant Microsoft technology on October 27th and November 2, 2022. Download the recording and slides.
Deadline for Questions
You may send any questions to email@example.com. The deadline for submitting questions about project topics, eligibility, or other RFP content is Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. We will regularly post FAQ updates to the grant application website. The Urban Institute will continue to answer technical questions related to the grant application website until the proposal deadline.
Notice of Decision to Applicants and Project Award
Timing of Project Activities
May 2023–December 2023