Public Welfare Foundation is anchoring its work in the Midwest in Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Despite declines in Michigan’s adult prison population, the state remains in the top 10 for total number of people in prison. Numerous organizations were responsible for those declines and continue their fight to shrink the footprint of Michigan’s criminal legal system, including emerging organizations led by directly impacted people and people of color. Opportunities lie with helping groups build collective power to advocate for reforms and advance the priorities of those most impacted by the system.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s prison population has soared nearly 400 percent since 1980, with Milwaukee County as the top contributor of human beings to institutional custody in the state. A 2013 study found that Wisconsin had one of the highest incarceration rates for African American men in the country. Challenges withstanding, the City of Milwaukee presents an opportunity. Local leaders are building momentum for scaled investment in communities through programs that offer alternatives to incarceration while responding to community level harm.

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Organizations Working for Justice Reform in the Midwest

Detroit Justice Center

Detroit Justice Center works alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system, and promote equitable and just cities.

Safe & Just Michigan

Safe & Just Michigan advances policies that end Michigan’s over-use of incarceration and promote community safety and healing.

Wisconsin Voices’ African American Roundtable

Wisconsin Voices’ African American Roundtable exists to empower and organize Milwaukee’s predominantly black neighborhoods to transform policies so African Americans can thrive and live their greatest potential. In 2019, AART launched LiberateMKE with over 40 community partners, calling for reinvestment of local resources to improve the lives of those most impacted by structural and community level violence.

EXPO, a program of WISDOM

EXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing) works to end mass incarceration, eliminate structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restore formerly incarcerated people to full.

Scroll through our grants database for details about local investments.