Ohio State Bar Foundation announces recipients of phase I of its $500,000 Racial Justice Initiative grant

October 01, 2020

The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) is awarding a $15,000 grant to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and giving a $25,000 sponsorship to the Community Arts Project through its new up to $500,000 Racial Justice Initiative.

“The OSBF launched its new Racial Justice Initiative to educate communities and support long-term, positive change regarding race and the quest for equal legal justice,” said OSBF President Mark Kitrick. “In phase one of this grant process, we are pleased to fund the Health Policy Institute of Ohio’s Connections Between Criminal Justice and Health Brief and be a presenting sponsor of the Community Arts Project’s HeART of Protests. Both organizations’ work will address racism in the legal system, as well as educate Ohioans on inequities and injustices that exist.”

With OSBF’s grant funding, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio will create its new policy brief, which will provide research on the following:

  • The relationship between criminal justice and health
  • Data and information on how racism and inequities in the criminal justice system impact the overall health and wellbeing of Ohioans of color
  • Opportunities for improvement across the criminal justice and health systems
  • Evidence-informed policy approaches to eliminate racism, advance equity, reduce spending, and improve outcomes in the criminal justice and health systems

The new brief will be provided to legislators, state policymakers, and other stakeholders to increase their knowledge of the factors that impact both criminal justice and health, including racism, neighborhood conditions, education, family, and community violence and policing practices.

“The goal of this project is to educate Ohioans and motivate state and local leaders to act on areas where Ohio public policy can be better aligned with evidence-based strategies to reduce disparities and inequities and improve outcomes in both criminal justice and health,” said Health Policy Institute of Ohio President Amy Rohling.

The OSBF also is giving a $25,000 sponsorship to support the Community Arts Project’s HeART of Protests. The HeART of Protest series, convened by the King Arts Complex, runs from Juneteenth through Election Day. The project represents 28 organizations in Columbus that have come together to create 46 (consequential) days of artistic protest. Each entity will focus on telling an aspect of the story of Black America, from slavery to the present day. Through its unique art form, the call to action for this project is voter registration.

“The OSBF is proud to play a role in helping to address systemic racism in our legal system through this new grant cycle,” said OSBF Executive Director Lori Keating. “The Racial Justice Initiative is happening in phases, and while phase one has passed, nonprofits can continue applying through subsequent phases. The Foundation looks forward to reviewing more applications for funding and assisting nonprofits in their important work.”


Grant applications for OSBF’s new Racial Justice Initiative should specifically address and support initiatives concerning systemic racism that hinder the pursuit of justice and public understanding of the rule of law for historically marginalized communities of color in Ohio.


Grant funding for the Racial Justice Initiative will occur in phases. The deadline for phase two is October 15, 2020. Subsequent deadlines will be January 15, 2021 and March 15, 2021. Applications that are submitted after one of the deadlines will be considered for the next phase, pending availability of funds and continuance of the initiative.


Organizations can apply for the Racial Justice Initiative grant after submitting a letter of intent or completing a pre-submission conference by submitting an application through OSBF’s online portal, which can be accessed at OSBF.org/RacialJustice. Organizations may apply for grant money through this new initiative and through the Foundation’s traditional grant cycles, as long as the applications are completely unrelated.


For organizations looking for more information and assistance on completing an application, OSBF’s Racial Justice Initiative webpage has helpful resources available to download at OSBF.org/RacialJustice.

Each year, the OSBF gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars through its grantmaking efforts. This year, with its new Racial Justice Initiative grant, the Foundation will give away more than $1 million to Ohio nonprofits.

If you have any questions about OSBF’s grantmaking, contact OSBF Grants Manager Tiffany Patterson at 614-487-4483 or TPatterson@OSBF.net.

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