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Soros Justice Fellowships Announcements

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

  • Organization: Open Society Institute


DEADLINE: September 26, 2003

The Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) of the Open Society Institute supports individuals who will further its mission of reducing the nation's over-reliance on policies of punishment and incarceration, and restoring discretion and fairness to the U.S. criminal justice system. Through three fellowships - Soros Justice Advocacy, Senior, and Media - CJI funds dynamic individuals from various fields such as the law, public health, community organizing and the media, to design and implement projects that will reflect and support the work of CJI's programs: The Gideon Project, The After Prison Initiative, The Community Advocacy Program, and the Policy and Research Programs.

The Fellowships are a program of the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI) at the Open Society Institute.

Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships
The Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship funds outstanding individuals from a variety of disciplines in order to initiate innovative projects that will have a measurable impact on issues underlying CJI's work. The program seeks to identify and nurture new voices and advocates for change at either the local or national level. Advocacy Fellowships are two-year projects implemented in partnership with leading nonprofit agencies whose mission is related to criminal justice.


Applicants must have demonstrable substantive knowledge of and/or up to three years experience with the issues and communities with which they propose to work. Applicants can but are not required to have an undergraduate or graduate degree in law, public health, public policy, or other fields related to criminal justice. If the applicant is currently in a graduate or undergraduate degree program, he or she must have completed the degree at the start of the fellowship (either March or August 2004), as the fellowship is full-time. Applicants may not already be employed by their proposed sponsoring organizations. All applicants must demonstrate that the project does not duplicate the sponsoring organization's existing programs.

Awards of up to $98,200 are granted for two-year projects.

Soros Justice Senior Fellowships
The Soros Justice Senior Fellowship enables experienced individuals, including activists, academics, and community leaders, to raise the level of national discussion and scholarship, organize communities, and prompt policy debate on issues that are key to CJI's work. The program seeks to identify and nurture leaders and advocates for change at the national and regional level. Fellows devote up to one year to research, write, or initiate projects.


The Criminal Justice Initiative seeks applicants with demonstrated expertise, skills and experience in areas of interest to CJI's programs. Proposals from doctoral candidates will not be considered. Please note: The Open Society Institute cannot support lobbying activities.

Awards range from $50,000-70,000 for one-year projects.

Soros Justice Media Fellowship
The Soros Justice Media Fellowship seeks dynamic journalists working in print, photography, radio, and documentary film and video to improve the quality and depth of media coverage of incarceration and criminal justice issues. As a program of the Open Society Institute's Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), the Fellowship funds projects that will further CJI's mission of reducing the over-reliance on policies of punishment and incarceration in the United States, and restoring discretion and fairness to the U.S. criminal justice system.

The program intends, through its awards, to mitigate the time, space, and market constraints that often discourage journalists from pursuing in-depth stories. Fellows devote up to one year to research, write, produce, and widely disseminate stories. Awards are up to $45,000 for full-year projects; shorter projects will be pro-rated.


Professional journalists working in print, photography, radio, and documentary film and video with at least three years of experience are eligible. Applicants may be freelance journalists or employees of news organizations. They should have well-established records of publication or broadcast in regional or national markets. All fellows are expected to publish articles or books or broadcast or exhibit-ready pieces, with the number of works to be determined at the outset of the fellowship. Documentary film or video projects that are in the post-production or distribution stages are eligible. Book proposals must include plans to write companion magazine or newspaper pieces.

Awards are up to $45,000 for one-year projects.

For application and program information, please visit our website at

The Open Society Institute is a private operating and grantmaking foundation that promotes the development of open society around the world. OSI's U.S. Programs seek to strengthen democracy in the United States by addressing barriers to opportunity and justice, broadening public discussion about such barriers, and assisting marginalized groups to participate equally in civil society and to make their voices heard. U.S. Programs challenge over-reliance on the market by advocating appropriate government responsibility for human needs and promoting public interest and service values in law, medicine, and the media. OSI's U.S. Programs support initiatives in a range of areas, including access to justice for low- and moderate-income people; independence of the judiciary; ending the death penalty; reducing gun violence and over-reliance on incarceration; drug policy reform; inner-city education and youth programs; fair treatment of immigrants; reproductive health and choice; campaign finance reform; and improved care of the dying. OSI is part of the network of foundations, created and funded by George Soros, active in more than 50 countries around the world.

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