Meet the foundations that took home NCRP Impact Awards
Open Society Foundations, a family of offices and foundations established by George Soros, seek to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities in more than 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression and access to health care and education.
Open Society Foundations have long been a major funder of criminal justice reform in the U.S. and reducing mass incarceration is one of its major goals. Their efforts took a significant step forward in the fall of 2014, when Californians passed Proposition 47, a ballot initiative to reclassify many low-level nonviolent and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Open Society supported Californians for Safety and Justice, a nonprofit organization that works for sensible reforms that promote public safety by spending fewer tax dollars on incarceration and more on prevention and treatment. And through its 501c4 arm, Open Society funded Vote Safe, the entity which directed the campaign for Prop 47’s passage. Thanks to the hard work of those entities, its many philanthropic funding partners and genuine bipartisan support, Prop 47 was overwhelmingly approved by California voters. The initiative has already been credited with helping California cut its prison population by nearly 3,000 inmates, helping to bring the state into compliance with a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding. A number of other states across the country are now considering similar initiatives to reduce mass incarceration.