In 2011, after the Supreme Court declared California’s prisons overcrowded, Californians for Safety and Justice launched to reduce prison and jail populations, reallocating resources from incarceration to support prevention, education and health. Tides’ expertise as a fiscal sponsor provided CSJ with a solid operational backbone; beyond that, Tides acted as a committed partner in all aspects, taking every opportunity to champion CSJ’s work and open the organization up to new opportunities.
By quickly hiring staff and making connections to partners and funders across California, Tides accelerated the campaign’s ability to scale. Tides also handled core functional services, freeing the CSJ team to prioritize winning campaigns instead of navigating legal compliance questions, managing finances and developing personnel policies. Tides helped build public support for CSJ’s work, convening varied stakeholders to educate them about mass incarceration issues and leading letter-writing campaigns.
With key services safely in Tides’ hands, CSJ’s robust advocacy team focused on deep policy research, public education, strategic communications and coalition building. It also brought new voices into the conversation, including crime survivors, law enforcement officers and prosecutors. CSJ launched Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, which has grown to be the largest organizing network for crime survivors calling for new safety priorities in the nation.
California has gone from a state epitomizing our country’s over-reliance on incarceration to now leading the nation in advancing smart justice. It’s a true breakthrough.
Lenore Anderson, Executive Director, Californians for Safety and Justice
In 2014, CSJ went to the ballot to spur policy efforts to de-crowd prisons. With the help of Tides’ 501(c)(4) sister organization, The Advocacy Fund, The Alliance for Safety and Justice Action Fund was created to sponsor Proposition 47. The measure reclassified six nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, reducing the number of people incarcerated and re-directing the savings to education and health services. ASJ AF went on to co-lead the campaign for Proposition 57 in 2016 to further reduce overcrowding in prisons, focus the system on evidence‐based rehabilitation, and increase public safety.
Building on its success in California, CSJ launched a national organization, Alliance for Safety and Justice, in 2015. Under Tides’ management, this new social venture works to reform state justice systems and empower the communities most harmed by concentrated crime and over-incarceration.
By reaching across traditional boundaries, bringing new voices into the criminal justice coalition in order to pass Prop 47, and taking their successful reform model to national scale, Californians for Safety and Justice embodies Tides’ multifaceted approach to solving society’s toughest problems. CSJ’s work has given Tides the opportunity to act not just as a fiscal sponsor, but as a steadfast partner throughout their journey.