Juvenile Justice Initiative
The Juvenile Justice Initiative of The Tow Foundation is shaped by our goal to affect system reform around juvenile justice policy in the state of Connecticut. Through strategic grantmaking and advocacy, we are working to help change the way youth who have encountered the court system are judged and treated. This includes children and youth who are beyond control of their families, are failing in or have been expelled from school, have been rejected by their communities, or have been institutionalized. We advocate recognition and growth of the talents and assets of these young people versus simply identifying and punishing them for their deficits. We are dedicated to moving public opinion and systems to treat these youth as our valued future and not as lives best thrown away. This leads us to invest in organizations that work for the best outcomes for these children, which ultimately will benefit all of society. We believe that investing in these youth will help them to prove their own worth.
Our grants support programs and organizations that offer youth opportunities for success within Connecticut’s juvenile justice system and, more importantly, in the communities where they live. In doing so, we look to seed ideas that demonstrate promising practices and pledge to encourage the state to expand and replicate them. Areas of interest include life skills and vocational training; family support; parenting skill-building; alternatives to suspension and expulsion; art, music and drama therapy; youth organizing and media; health and mental health services, and community building. Through our advocacy with policymakers, the public, the media and other funders, the challenges faced by these young people are brought to light, offering better prospects for more equitable public policies.
We accomplish more than we could alone through essential partnerships. The Tow Foundation is a founding member and active participant on the steering committee of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, which has become the state’s leading source of information and advocacy in the field. Groundbreaking policy advocacy has been achieved with the support of the Campaign for Youth Justice. Our philanthropic colleagues through national networks like the Youth Transition Funders Group, Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, Philanthropy New York, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, Association of Small Foundations, and Council on Foundations have provided valuable support to our work and helped to ensure that these successes in Connecticut resonate throughout the country.
The Tow Foundation relies on its partnerships with nonprofit leaders, local and state policymakers, families and the youth themselves to accomplish its goals and help make change happen.