CFPS Logo.png

Part 1. Introduction

The Coalition for Public Safety began with a revolutionary idea: a formal collection of bipartisan voices advocating for criminal justice reform.  Our bipartisan vision of collaboration has advanced reform across the country, and provided an avenue for cooperation in an increasingly polarized political environment.  In the years since CPS was founded, we have seen groups emerge across the political spectrum, bringing unique experiences and novel approaches to the effort to make our justice system fairer, more effective, and more efficient. We want to bring these organizations together to continue our push for comprehensive justice reform at the federal, state, and local level. To further that effort, the Coalition for Public Safety plans to issue grant funding over a 1-year period (January 2020 to December 2020). 

This RFP is the first issued by the Coalition for Public Safety. The application process involves two steps. Applications must be submitted by the deadline listed in “Key Activities and Timeline,” below. CPS’s staff and board will review these applications and will request interviews from the applicants whose proposals offer the greatest likelihood of producing innovative solutions in the area of criminal justice reform. The board will select up to 10 partners to participate in the next phase of the Coalition for Public Safety. 

Part 2. Program Description

CPS will fund proposals that include an innovative, cutting-edge solution that addresses at least one complex problem facing our justice system. Successful applications will demonstrate rigor and clarity in identifying and addressing the problem, and show a high likelihood of bipartisan support for the proposed solution.

Proposals must also align with CPS policy priorities, below:  

CPS Policy Priorities

Pretrial: Promote the use of transparent, validated and non-discriminatory risk-based solutions to replace pure money bail systems that discriminate against the poor and fail to provide adequate public safety return. Expand conditions of release to include proven methods of ensuring court appearances, such as check-ins and ankle monitoring.

Judicial Discretion: Codify a safety valve for mandatory minimum sentences to ensure judges have the discretion to deviate from unduly harsh punishments when circumstances warrant and egregious injustices could result.

Alternatives to Incarceration: Support expansion of alternatives to incarceration for low-level, non-violent offenders, particularly drug offenders, and special populations—such as juveniles, veterans, individuals suffering from mental illness and substance abuse, and pregnant women-- that will lead to better outcomes, save valuable taxpayer resources, and focus incarceration on true threats to our society

Women in the Justice System: Develop more effective approaches to women in the justice system, particularly those with minor children and those with a history of trauma, including improved visitation policies that strengthen families and gender-responsive programming that appropriately address underlying traumas, addictions, and socioeconomic issues.

Probation: Increase the scope of effective tools used in juvenile and adult probation systems, and focus community supervision resources on higher risk populations with the goal of reducing revocations and recidivism.

Prison Reforms: Expand and incentivize proven in-prison programming, including vocational education, life-skills, and cognitive interventions that prepare incarcerated individuals for successful reentry and lower recidivism rates. Improve access to medical assisted treatment for persons addicted to drugs.

Second Chances: Encourage partnerships with employers and the private sector to increase employment rates for those with a criminal record, support fair chance hiring for public sector jobs, break down barriers to occupational licensing, and expand criminal record sealing and expungement.

Fairness in Court and System Financing: Promote reforms to the administration and collection of fines and fees and support quality indigent defense practices to ensure our justice system is accessible and fair to all communities; support policies that mandate more transparency and accountability from for-profit actors in prisons and probation.

Data Collection: Increase the frequency of, and accountability for, reporting outcomes, and ensure that complete recidivism data is collected for each component of the justice system to constantly adjust for appropriate policy solutions.

Forfeiture Reforms: Limit governmental property forfeitures to property owners who have been convicted of crimes, and support protections that ensure any post-conviction forfeitures are proportional to the crime. 

CPS will not fund proposals that involve partisan advocacy or direct involvement in candidate campaigns. Proposals must focus on criminal justice reform within the United States. 

Part 3. Information for Prospective Applicants

Available Funding

CPS expects to issue ten partnership grants of $100,000 to organizations selected in this RFP. Partner organizations will be eligible to apply for additional program funding.  


Eligible organizations must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organizations in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service or must have a fiscal sponsor in place upon proposal submission. Organizations with a fiscal sponsor should include the name of, responsibilities of and obligation to the sponsor in their application, and include fees charged by the sponsor in their budget. 

Key Activities and Timeline

All applications must be submitted through the portal available at

Applications must include all requested components listed under the “What to Include” section in Part 4. Failure to include any of these components by the proposal due date may result in disqualification. 

Applications Due: 8:00 p.m. EST, September 30, 2019

Interviews: October 7-18, 2019

Notification of Awards: December 1, 2019

Part 4. Application Instructions

The application process includes two steps. First, an application and financial documents must be submitted by September 30. Second, selected applicants must be available for an interview between October 7-18, 2019. 


All applications must be submitted via the portal at

·     Name of Organization

·     Contact Person

·     Phone Number

·     Email Address

·     Provide a brief description of your organization, your current structure and location(s), and how this aligns with your proposal

·     If applicable, provide a description of your organization's membership and grassroots reach

·     Provide a brief description of the previous work done by your organization, particularly as it relates to criminal justice and the issues you plan to address

·     Provide a list of the board of directors and key staff who will be working on this project, including their qualifications and relevant experience

·     Select your issue area from the list below of CPS Policy Priorities

·     Provide a brief description of the way(s) in which this issue area is in need of reform

·     Explain, in detail, the solution you believe would address the issues in the above section

·     Provide a list, with a timeline if appropriate, of the specific work and activities you plan to support your proposal 

·     Provide a brief narrative explaining how the grant funds will be used and how they fit into the overall budget of your organization, and submit a detailed budget spreadsheet. Budget categories may include, but are not limited to, the following: personnel, fringe benefits, travel, other direct costs, subcontractors/collaborators, and indirect costs.

·     Provide a narrative of your expected outcomes and the benchmarks for assessing progress toward goals

·     Provide three references from outside your organization who can attest to your organization's efficacy and competence

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on: 

1.     Issue and solution selection

2.     Innovation

3.     Likelihood of adoption

4.     Organizational structure and effectiveness

5.     Policy and/or advocacy experience

6.     Grassroots reach

7.     Media presence

Partners selected for the Coalition for Public Safety will, when taken together, reflect the ideological, demographic and geographic diversity of the criminal justice reform movement, and bring a range of assets to the organization.

Part 5. Additional Information

Partner Responsibilities

Members of the Coalition for Public Safety will: 

·     Work with coalition members to advance bipartisan solutions, 

·     Participate in monthly calls with staff and give presentations on quarterly calls with the board as requested, 

·     Work within CPS-set deadlines for reporting and funding requests, 

·     Produce a white paper on the proposed solution and experience within the Coalition, 

·     Attend annual convening with board members and subject-matter experts, Present at Big Tent Meetings and Quarterly Webinars as requested, and 

·     Speak on behalf of CPS as requested. 

Reporting Schedule

Partners will participate in monthly calls with CPS staff, and in quarterly calls with the Board as requested. 

Brief quarterly reports will be submitted by March 30, June 30, September 30, and December 31.  

Annual reports will be presented at a policy convening in December 2020 with location and dates to be determined by CPS. 


CPS reserves the right to amend or cancel this process at any time. CPS has the right to request any additional information that it deems necessary, to reject any or all submissions, and to be the sole judge of the merits of those received. Materials sent to CPS will not be returned to applicants.

About the Coalition

CPS is the largest bipartisan organization working at both the state and federal level to reform our broken justice system. 

CPS builds and provides support for coalitions that include groups from the far right to the far left, and recruits influential voices from business, athletics, faith, military and law enforcement backgrounds, as well as representatives from impacted communities to work toward consensus on reforms that will make the justice system fairer and more effective. CPS organizes activities for the coalition of groups designed to raise awareness around the challenges in our justice system, and build support for the bipartisan approach to addressing those challenges. CPS develops creative campaigns, and employs cutting-edge tactics that will inject fresh narratives into reform work, appeal to new constituencies, and grow the criminal justice reform movement.