Grant: Catalyst Grant Program by Urban Institute and Microsoft 

Request for Proposal Opening: 10 January 2022 

RFP Overview Webinar: 24 January 2022

RFP Deadline: 18 February 2022 


The US justice system disproportionately impacts and harms communities of color, especially Black communities. Racism and racial biases are deeply embedded in the justice system, leading to disparities based on race that are well documented. Even when brief, contact with the justice system carries significant costs to individuals, families, and communities. By improving access to relevant data and technology, communities can have additional tools to inform and improve policy and practices to make the justice 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 fairness in the criminal justice system. Grants will be up to $40,000 for six-month projects.  

To create and submit an application, including accessing eligibility questions, applicants must register on this website. After starting an application, applicants can save it as a draft to return to later before submitting.   


Locally embedded 501(c)(3) organizations based in the US, excluding colleges and universities and local governments are eligible to be lead organizations. We have a focus on those organizations embedded in communities of color, particularly Black communities, and encourage partnerships. Organizations that received a 2021 Catalyst Grant or are a current recipient of another Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative grant are not eligible to be lead applicants, but may be a partnering organization.

Project Topics: 

Projects must:

  • Aim to advance reform in prevention, policing, and/or prosecution;
  • Contribute to decreasing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system;
  • Incorporate data and technology; and
  • Be locally focused.

For this program, the three areas of focus listed above are: 

  • Prevention: Preventing law enforcement contact, diverting people from incarceration or interrupting violence in communities 
  • Policing: Working to improve policing policies, programs, and practices, including facilitating connection between law enforcement agencies and communities 
  • Prosecution: Advancing data-driven transparency and accountability that empowers both communities and prosecutors to decrease racial and ethnic disparities within the prosecution process

Grants will not be given to projects that: 

  • Serve or focus on people under 18 years of age; 
  • Serve or focus on programs for people who are currently incarcerated; 
  • Serve or focus on programs related to people returning from incarceration; or 
  • Propose activities at the state or national level


More Information and Application Link: Click here

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