Justice & Opportunity
At CZI we want to be a part of creating a future where every person can enjoy meaningful work, take care of their families, and live in a just society. But in making that vision a reality, we face the challenge of breaking down barriers that keep individuals, families, and communities from reaching their full potential.
Many of the same families who face eviction and a broken criminal justice system are also struggling to earn a stable living. We are working to address these challenges and help families tackle systems that too often seem stacked against them, so that they have a better chance to get ahead and live a fulfilling life.
As a young organization, we certainly know we don’t have all the answers or even all the questions to ask. We’re starting by supporting the organizations, leaders, and communities working to address the affordable housing crisis starting in the Bay Area, create more opportunity for more people, and build better criminal justice and immigration systems. We believe we need to work with and for the people we serve — learning from and empowering organizations and leaders from the communities most affected by these challenges. Through these partnerships and collaborations, we hope to identify new solutions and help provide the tools and resources needed to apply them on a national scale.
Projects in Justice & Opportunity
Today, our work focuses on finding ways to strengthen our communities and help more families get ahead. We support organizations and partners working in four areas: Criminal Justice Reform, Economic Opportunity, Housing Affordability, and Immigration Reform.
Criminal Justice Reform. We want to support efforts to safely reduce the number of people imprisoned in the US and develop better approaches to keep our communities safe. We support policy reform efforts led by partners like Families Against Mandatory Minimums who advocates for bi-partisan safety solutions. We are also supporting organizations that train and support people closest to the problem, from JustLeadershipUSA, who work with individuals who have been incarcerated, to Fair and Just Prosecution, who are building a national network of prosecutors. We are also supporting tools like the Measures for Justice data portal that help us better understand the criminal justice system.
Economic Opportunity. We want to help more families get ahead and stay ahead. Over the years, technology and a more connected world have lifted a lot of people up, but it’s also left a lot of people behind. As a new organization just beginning work on issues that have persisted for decades, we are focused on supporting and learning from partners doing impactful work alongside the communities they serve. Some of our partner organizations are making use of technology to connect people to the work, training, financial resources, and services they need to succeed: Partners like Family Independence Initiative, who have built an online support network and community for low-income families while providing access to capital to invest in their health, education, and professional growth; Code for America, who are piloting ways to remove barriers and help people access government social safety net services more quickly to help them weather unexpected setbacks; and Opportunity@Work, who are working to shift hiring practices to help more people with skills and potential access opportunities to gain the jobs and training the need to succeed in today’s workplace.
Housing Affordability. Research shows us what we already know intuitively: that access to a safe, stable, affordable place to live is crucial to family success. However, broken housing markets and antiquated policies keep too many Americans from this critical need, especially in the Bay Area. We’re focused on supporting local partners who are developing and leading innovative approaches to addressing these challenges that we hope can be scaled to other communities across the US: Partners like Landed, who help local educators stay and afford homes in the communities where they teach; a new coalition of local housing leaders, who are coming together with their diverse constituencies to develop a regional solutions plan to address shared challenges; and the Terner Center at UC Berkeley, whose innovative research aims to shape policy and private sector solutions to housing issues nationally.
Immigration Reform. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in America today left without a pathway to citizenship, including 2.1 million DREAMers who were brought to the US as children. These young people deserve the opportunity to fully contribute to American society and the economy. They deserve a fair shot – and the repeal of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has created an urgent crisis. We support programs and partners that are working to make the American Dream achievable for everyone and advance policies to fix our broken system, like TheDream.US who provide college scholarships to student DREAMers around the country, and FWD.us who are working with partners to protect DREAMers and pass commonsense reforms.