Criminal Justice Reform

The Minneapolis Foundation invests resources and supports policies, research, advocacy, and convening around long-term systemic reform.

This past year, we brought on our first-ever Safe Communities & Criminal Justice Fellow, Brandon Williams, to help implement this critical body of work through the lens of an emerging generation that has had direct experience with violence and a fractured criminal justice system. Brandon works closely with Chanda Smith Baker, SVP of Impact, who is deeply connected at the local and national level in criminal justice reform efforts.

Read more about Chanda and Brandon’s experience >>

Pursuing justice, equity, and healing

The Minneapolis Foundation makes strategic charitable investments to dismantle the barriers that hold the racial inequities in our criminal justice system in place. One of the ways we do this is through the Fund for Safe Communities, a collective impact fund that supports violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and individual and community healing.
Through live, virtual, and on-demand opportunities, we invite the community to get closer to the issue of criminal justice reform and discover what role they can play in driving transformational change – both as individuals and as a collective. Our award-winning podcast, Conversations with Chanda, has featured guests who have faced wrongful incarceration, murder of loved ones at the hands of police, and direct attempts to change the criminal justice system.
The Minneapolis Foundation has been invited to participate in a number of cross-sector initiatives to address criminal justice reform, including a working group led by Governor Walz to take a critical look at deadly-force police encounters that resulted in 28 recommendations for reform that are now ripe for implementation. This spring, after careful research on where we could achieve collective impact, we launched a community collaborative with the Greater Twin Cities United Way and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation focused on criminal justice reform. Through the collaborative, we will align collective resources to drive lasting, systemic change.
Through the Foundation’s long-term work addressing racial inequities in our community, we know that in order to to dismantle the barriers that hold these inequities in place, we as a community need to better understand them. That’s why we partner closely with the University of Minnesota to invest in research and learning. Last year, we released Pretrial Justice: A Report on the Cash Bail System and we are currently working on developing a community learning curriculum to better understand the racial inequities in the police system.

What can you do next?

Real Talk: Minneapolis Police – Present & Future


On June 11, 2020, we hosted a virtual conversation between R.T. Rybak and Chanda Smith Baker about the racial inequities that are embedded in our criminal justice system, and specifically in policing, and the opportunities we have to drive transformational change.