Youth Justice

Investing in Second Chances and Alternatives to Arrest

Our Goal: 

Increase educational and economic opportunities for court-involved youth and reduce school suspensions and prevent youth involvement in the criminal justice system

Our Strategy: 

We support both advocacy and direct-service organizations that address the far-reaching effects of young people’s encounters with the criminal justice system, transforming these encounters into authentic opportunities for growth and development. We focus on investing in school discipline reforms, alternatives to arrest, and educational and workforce programs for court-involved youth.

  • Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project: Partnership with NYC Department of Education and Mayor's Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline to place restorative justice programs in four Brooklyn middle and high schools with high suspension and arrest rates over four years, building a new model for discipline reform.
  • Increasing Economic Opportunity: Support for organizations working to promote educational and employment opportunities for court-involved youth.
  • Neighborhood-Based Arrest Diversion: Support for programs that develop alternatives to arrest while fostering community engagement and accountability with local law enforcement.

2016-17 Youth Justice Grants: $595,000 to 18 Nonprofits


  • Brooklyn Community Bail Fund: $35,000 to prevent unnecessary pretrial detention based on poverty by paying bail for indigent Brooklyn youth and adults accused of misdemeanors, and providing and facilitating access to social and legal services for clients. Boroughwide       
  • Brooklyn Defender Services: $50,000 for comprehensive free legal representation to court-involved youth with a focus on school discipline and reentry, special education placements, alternative pathways to graduation, alternatives to incarceration, and counseling. Boroughwide
  • Brownsville Community Justice Center: $35,000 to provide off-ramps for young people who come into contact with the justice system, including educational, occupational, social, and health services designed to expand their leadership and increase community members' sense of public safety. Brownsville
  • CASES: $35,000 for programs that divert youth from the criminal justice system by providing education and employment services, behavioral health treatment, service projects, and links to other providers. Bedford-Stuyvesant, Coney Island
  • Center for Nu Leadership: $35,000 for programs that divert neighborhood youth from arrest proceedings by developing pre-arrest diversion options for law-officers. Bedford Stuyvesant


  • *Center for Community Alternatives: $30,000 to support counseling, life skills courses, and after-school arts-based activities for youth living in secure and non-secure detention facilities. Boroughwide          
  • *Center for Urban Pedagogy: $20,000 to engage youth from the Red Hook Community Justice Center to develop a visual guide that helps the public build understanding around a pressing social issue. Boroughwide
  • Young New Yorkers: $20,000 to provide court-mandated arts diversion programs for youth that engage them in social justice issues through the creation of large-scale public art projects. Boroughwide


  • Drive Change: $35,000 to provide training and first job experience for formerly incarcerated and court-involved young people through a nonprofit food truck. Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick
  • exalt: $40,000 to counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by elevating expectations of personal success for court-involved youth through job skills courses, individualized support, paid internships, and alumni network. Boroughwide
  • Reconnect: $30,000 to connect youth to employment, entrepreneurship training, and access to college credit to help navigate systemic challenges that make it hard to find sustainable employment. Bedford-Stuyvesant


  • JustLeadership USA: $30,000 to empower court-involved youth to drive policy reforms, including the campaign to #CloseRikers, a comprehensive multiyear effort to close Rikers Island Detention Facility. Boroughwide
  • *Osborne Association: $35,000 to support programs for children of incarcerated parents as well as a council that engages young people impacted by incarceration to develop campaigns around issues affecting their lives and communities. Boroughwide


  • Common Justice: $45,000 for a victim-service and alternative-to-incarceration program based on restorative justice principles that works with young people who commit violent felonies and those they harm. Boroughwide           
  • *Lineage Project: $40,000 for mindfulness and yoga programs for incarcerated and highly-vulnerable young people, including those in living in secure and non-secure detention facilities, as well as a Brooklyn-based program for young people on probation. Boroughwide


  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation: $30,000 for a youth organizing group that seeks to address racial and educational injustice through a campaign to implement restorative justice practices at a local high school campus. Cypress Hills
  • Teachers Unite: $20,000 for members' work with students and teachers to lead the shift from punitive to transformative justice in NYC public schools. Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, East Williamsburg, Sunset Park   
  • Urban Youth Collaborative: $30,000 to organize youth of color who have been the victims of school-based over-policing to advance youth justice alternatives and promote wellbeing of both youth and their communities. Boroughwide     

Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project News

Brooklyn Community Foundation to Launch Restorative Justice Pilot Program in Four Brooklyn Schools

Four Brooklyn middle and high schools will implement pioneering restorative justice practices next school year thanks to a new pilot program from Brooklyn Community Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Mayor de Blasio’s Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline.

Brooklyn Community Foundation Funds Restorative Justice Programs in 4 Brooklyn Schools to Reduce Suspensions and Arrests

Brooklyn Community Foundation announces grants to four expert restorative justice providers to launch full-time, in-school programs in four Brooklyn public schools beginning this fall, via the new Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project. Grants are awarded to New York Peace Institute, Good Shepherd Services, Partnership with Children, and Sweet River Consulting. 

The follow family foundations and funds support Brooklyn Community Foundation's Youth Justice efforts:

Fishman Family Fund

JM Kaplan Fund

Pinkerton Foundation

Prospect Hill Foundation

Andrew Kimball / Sarah Williams Fund

Silberman Family Fund

Sills Family Foundation

Weissberg Foundation

ALLINBKLYN, a women's philanthropic initiative