PROJECTCatalyst Grant Program

Catalyst Grant Program banner

The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are collaborating on the Catalyst Grant Program to help organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity in the criminal legal system. Local projects focus on the system’s front end, including prevention, policing, and prosecution. On this website, you can find descriptions of the Catalyst Grant Program and the efforts it funds.

The Problem

Racism and racial biases are deeply embedded in the criminal legal system, leading to disproportionate harm to communities of color. People of color, particularly Black people, experience arrests and vehicle and pedestrian stops at higher rates than white people. Moreover, Black people are detained at higher rates than white people and incarcerated for longer periods. Even brief stays in prison or jail can result in lost employment and housing, burdensome fines and fees, and destabilized family relationships. Legal system involvement exacerbates existing challenges for many people of color and contributes to a compounding cycle that criminalizes them.

Map of Catalyst grantees

Our Effort

The Catalyst Grant Program supports local organizations across the country in using data and technology to inform and improve policies and practices that advance racial equity in prevention, policing, and prosecution. Each organization receives funds to cover project costs, project implementation assistance from Urban, peer learning opportunities, and access to Microsoft technology and related support.

We encourage you to learn more about the organizations, their projects, and lessons Urban gleans from their experiences through this web page and our 2021 Urban Wire post about the program. Sign up to receive notices of future rounds of the Catalyst Grant Program.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Cities Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Birmingham-Hoover, AL Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Champaign-Urbana, IL Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Flagstaff, AZ Harrisonburg, VA Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Lansing-East Lansing, MI Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Madison, WI Memphis, TN-MS-AR Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI New Orleans-Metairie, LA New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Pittsburgh, PA Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Trenton-Princeton, NJ Tucson, AZ Tulsa, OK San Juan-Bayamón-Caguas, PR
Tags Alternatives to incarceration Black/African American communities Community data use Community engagement Community public safety investment Courts and sentencing Crime and justice analytics Data and technology capacity of nonprofits Gun violence Human trafficking Latinx communities Mass incarceration Native Populations Policing and community safety Race and equity in grantmaking Race, gender, class, and ethnicity Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice Structural racism in research, data, and technology Victims of crime Women and girls
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center