Collaborative Grantmaking

Request for Proposals: Community Alternatives to Incarceration and Policing

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is seeking applications for the 2020 Collaborative Grantmaking: Community Alternatives to Incarceration and Policing Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP is for organizations and coalitions to build capacity that supports alternatives to and addresses the harm created by the carceral state, which includes all the formal institutions of the criminal legal system and immigration system. A total of $1 million will be available to fund two to four proposals.

Application Materials and Guidance:

Presentation - September 30, 2020 Information Session

2020 Collaborative Grantmaking Presentation Cover Page

Information Session Video



This funding originated from community advocacy for investments in alternatives to incarceration. Most recently known is the work organized by Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) and Budget for Justice (BFJ).

In 2015, community based organizations and coalitions, including Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR), EPIC, No New Youth Jail Campaign (NNYJ), The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), and European Dissent, engaged in campaigns that supported a vision of a City free of  incarceration. As a result of community organizing, on September 21, 2015, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution for zero use of detention for youth. The goal of this resolution is to make Seattle a city where detention or imprisonment is obsolete.

In 2018, advocates with Budget for Justice (BFJ) called on the City to realign its criminal legal system funding priorities. As a result of this and other organizing efforts, the City Council added $1.08 million to SOCR's 2020 budget  to fund community-based organizations in Seattle supporting alternatives to or addressing harm created by the criminal legal system.

Scope of Work

The selected organizations/coalitions will work to build a community owned and self-sustaining collective network. Applicants should provide proposals that address both capacity building and alternatives to the carceral state, and include the following:

Capacity Building

  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain and strengthen authentic relationships.
  • Prioritize meeting the self-defined needs or goals of Black families and communities most impacted by the carceral state.
  • Provide what is needed for folks  to become a part of the collective network, provide resources needed for community to create and define safety for themselves, and...
  • Provide capacity building for the collective network. Examples may include, but are not limited to, meals, teach-ins, healing practices, meeting basic needs, creating community connections, workshops, training, listening sessions, and leadership development for organizers and families.

Alternatives to the Carceral State

  • The collective network will explore responses to the harms created by the carceral state and/or transformative approaches to community crises, including COVID-19. Examples of proposals could include a blueprint, set of recommendations, People's Plan (i.e. community-owned plan of research, organizing, and implementation), or an organizing strategy. Proposals should address:
    • A community owned response to safety and health; and/or
    • The ability to develop a variety of healing-centered practices aimed at repairing the harms created by systems of oppression.


Application packets are due by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 19, 2020. Please submit all applications via email to Applications and proposal materials submitted after the due date will not be considered.

We encourage joint applications and collaboration between organizations/coalitions.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance is available to all applicants that have an operating budget of $2 million or less in the fiscal year prior to applying. An outside consultant will provide the technical assistance. Technical assistance may include help to frame your approach and proposal, assistance with budgeting, reviewing proposal drafts, and with submission. Please contact Erika Pablo to make a request or to learn more about this technical assistance. Please request technical assistance at least 14 business days prior to the RFP's closing date.  

For questions related to this RFP, including application and materials and requests for technical assistance, please contact Erika Pablo via email at or (206) 833-8892.


Friday, 9/18/2020

RFP Posted and Released

Wednesday, 9/30/2020 5-7PM

Information Session

Join Zoom Meeting Here

Meeting ID: 935 1674 0312 Passcode: 793924  

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Monday 10/19/2020

Written applications due.

Monday 10/26/2020 - Monday 11/2/2020

Conduct virtual interviews, as applicable

Monday 11/23/2020

Planned award notification

Friday 1/8/2021

Contract start date


What is Collaborative Grantmaking?

SOCR is using a Collaborative Grantmaking (CGM) process to invest in approaches that address the harms created by the carceral state. CGM allows for a democratic process to make funding decisions based on a collective shared analysis. Community member participants develop the request for proposals (RFP), screen and rate proposals, and make funding recommendations, including who to award, funding amounts, and contract duration. Traditional grantmaking processes typically do not involve as much community input and the funding decisions are made by a more select few.

This is an adapted version of the Social Justice Fund's primary model of grantmaking and was used by the organizing collective, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC). EPIC used this to distribute $500,000 allocated by Seattle City Council in 2016 (and again in 2018) to community-based organizations and groups working to create alternatives to youth incarceration. The CGM participants include diverse community members that identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color, queer, and gender nonconforming and work as anti-racist organizer. Some are employed at non-profit organizations and local government agencies addressing the harms of the carceral state and capitalism.