Social Justice Accelerator

We're looking for five new projects that will fuel social change.



For over thirty years, the Urban Justice Center has provided a platform for dynamic advocates to fuel social change, successfully incubating innovative and impactful advocacy projects. The UJC will now more intentionally expand this work with our new Social Justice Accelerator (SJA). The SJA will award up to five people the opportunity and resources to develop their early-stage projects focused on social justice initiatives. Awards will be for a one-year period, with the opportunity and intention to extend it for a second year. The Social Justice Accelerator at UJC is looking to bring in dynamic people and teams who will make important impacts on significant social justice issues, leading the way for a just, fair and decent society.


The Social Justice Accelerator is open to ideas and early stage organizations aimed at making a significant impact on social justice issues. We welcome lawyers, advocates, writers, artists, and anyone else with a vision and a plan. The SJA is designed for folks who are passionate about their idea and determined to bring it to life – and the SJA’s support will be instrumental to helping make it a reality. 

UJC’s strength is born from its model that allows each project to bring their vision to life by determining their own programming and strategy, with the benefit of UJC’s shared services, support and community/social justice knowledge and experience. Projects with more than one person are welcome to apply; although projects may be offered only one free space in the program, to be determined based on the application.  Overhead cost at the UJC for additional onsite staff is approximately $20,000 per person for the 2018-2019 year. 

Participating projects will be expected to incorporate separately during the one or two-year period.  The UJC will offer guidance and assistance with this process, including matching projects with pro bono legal help. Projects that have already incorporated are welcome to apply. At the end of the one or two year period, there may be an opportunity to continue to be based in UJC’s offices alongside UJC’s anchor projects, while paying for overhead costs at the regular rate.   




Participants awarded space at UJC’s office will enjoy, at no cost, the same administrative and office support as all other UJC staff in the New York office. This includes:

· Mentorship and advisement from the legal experts of the Urban Justice Center

· Fiscals sponsorship from UJC for projects that are not yet separately incorporated and/or do not have their 501c3 status

· Assistance with accounting, finance, payroll, and benefits (depending on the stage of the project and the preferences of the participant)

· A desk, chair, desktop computer, landline phone, and full access and use of UJC’s full-floor office facilities

· Cost-free standard use of printing, faxing, postage, office supplies and conference rooms

· When available, space to accommodate temporary interns or volunteers

· Assistance with branching into an independent 501c3 (if desired) at the end of the incubation period


Applications are due on December 1, 2018. UJC will conduct interviews on a rolling basis, and make final decisions by January 31, 2019.  

Please submit all materials and questions to:

Application components

1. Summary

· Project Title and one-page project summary (for our ease of reference)

· Name and Contact Information

· Two references with names and contact information

2. Project Description

In 1,000 - 3,000 words, please include the following:

· Statement of the problem

· Relevant skills, experiences, or personal connection to the problem – why are you the right person/people

· Approach and specific strategy for addressing the problem

· Who else, if anyone, is addressing the issue and how you will do it differently (and more effectively)

3. Funding

· Sources and amounts of your funding for salary and benefits (health, dental and retirement benefits provided by UJC will cost approximately 32% of base salary)

· Other funding already raised

· Current plans for further funding

4. Resume




True pioneers often set out with limited resources, no clear path and no instructions.  Nonetheless, they move boldly forward. In 1984, the Urban Justice Center (UJC) began in much the same way:  working from a burned-out building in East Harlem with almost no funding. They arrived at soup kitchens, jails and shelters – places others would not go – and set up free legal clinics. Today, in spite of social opposition and division, they remain champions of change. The UJC will continue to uplift, nurture and improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.

The UJC is a not-for-profit advocacy organization with a unique platform that combines radical freedom with necessary support. UJC’s anchor projects must raise their own operating funds, but then have virtually complete freedom in directing their programs – including, hiring, methods, goals, and daily management. The UJC currently houses twelve projects and employs a staff of over 200 lawyers, researchers, social workers and advocates. Our projects have a long history of making serious impacts on behalf of a wide array of poor and disenfranchised populations. The Social Justice Accelerator is the UJC’s next major project.

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