Safer Foundation joins the Catalyst Grant Program to advance local justice reform

Safer Foundation is one of 25 programs to receive grants to use data and technology to advance racial equity in the criminal legal system.

[Chicago, Illinois, June 27th, 2023] –The Safer Foundation is one of 25 locally embedded non-profit organizations selected to join the Catalyst Grant Program, an initiative to support local communities in using data and technology to advance racial equity and reform in the criminal legal system, the Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative announced today.

Safer Foundation and the other participating organizations have proposed projects that will use technology to analyze, visualize, and share data to strengthen community organizing, advocacy, and service provision.

Safer Foundation was chosen following a highly competitive selection process that drew applications from across the country.

Racially disparate outcomes in the prosecutorial process are well documented. Assessing what contributes to such outcomes is necessary for harm to be eliminated and repaired. Court-watch initiatives can discern and track real-time decisions that affect defendants in the prosecutorial process.

With Catalyst Grant funding, Safer Foundation, in collaboration with the Illinois Alliance for Reentry & Justice, aims to shed light on how the decisions judges make contribute to disparate outcomes for people of color in the prosecutorial process. The Illinois Alliance for Reentry & Justice will observe courtroom proceedings and focus on judges’ role to look for differences in defendant outcomes based on race. To compare these observations with official court records, the alliance will disseminate data-driven visual presentations of the nuances of judges’ decision making to hold elected judges more accountable and inform community members of how judges’ decisions lead to racially disparate outcomes in criminal legal proceedings.

Safer Foundation and the other organizations participating in the Catalyst Grant Program will receive funds to cover project implementation; assistance on data, policy, and community engagement from Urban; access to Microsoft technology and related support; and peer learning opportunities. Key learnings and resources emerging from the Catalyst Grant Program will be shared with and beyond the justice reform field.

The 25 Catalyst Grant Program grantees are located in 15 states and the District of Columbia, deepening the work of the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative across the country.

Information about the selected projects, as well as updates related to the Justice Reform Initiative Catalyst Grant Program, will be published on

About the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity. Urban is a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decision-making, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. For more than 50 years, Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions—and this remains the charge today.

About the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative

Microsoft is committed to creating a future for everyone by supporting people’s fundamental rights, advancing equitable and fair systems, and addressing racial inequity. By providing access to relevant data and technology, the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative enables organizations working to prevent unnecessary justice system involvement and eliminate racial disparities in policing and prosecution practices. To learn more about the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative please visit