Community Bonds
19 Grand Avenue
New Haven CT 06513
Contact Information
Address 19 Grand Avenue
New Haven, CT 06513-
Telephone (203) 3401116 x
Fax 203-3401116
E-mail info@ctbailfund.org
Web and Social Media
Our Housing Not Jails collective rallying in New Haven, November 2017
Panel discussion featuring Mother's Day Bail-Out organizers and advocates
Volunteers together with women freed from jail by the Mother's Day Bail Out campaign
Mission
Our mission is to reduce the direct harms caused by mass incarceration and mass deportation while building grassroots power among individuals and families impacted by these systems.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2016
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Brett Davidson
Board Chair Alicia Camacho
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Bonds
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission Our mission is to reduce the direct harms caused by mass incarceration and mass deportation while building grassroots power among individuals and families impacted by these systems.
Background

Founded by a group of students and activists in 2016, our mission is to reduce the harms caused by mass criminalization and deportation while building power among individuals and families impacted by these systems. We operate the following programs:

-The Pretrial Defense Fund, our bail fund in the criminal context. Launched in November 2016, this Fund has freed 365 community members from pretrial incarceration, allowing them to return home and defend themselves from a place of freedom.

-Immigrant Bail Fund, our bail fund in the immigration context. Launched in February 2017, this Fund has freed 80 community members from ICE detention. As one of the first of its kind in the nation, we have provided start-up guidance and technical support to dozens of similar bond funds nationwide.

-Family Justice Hub, the weekly hub (launched in November 2017) where we practice Participatory Defense, a community organizing model dedicated to building knowledge, power, and unity among families fighting cases in the criminal legal system. As the only Participatory Defense hub in Connecticut, we have supported over 70 families fighting criminal cases — leading to over 630 years of “Time Saved.” (Time Saved is calculated by subtracting the amount of time someone ends up having to serve in prison from their maximum exposure when they got involved in the hub.) We are leading the effort to launch Participatory Defense hubs across CT.

-Pretrial Justice Coalition. We are in the process of building a state-wide coalition of grassroots organizations dedicated to transforming the pretrial process. This work is becoming a significant focus moving forward.

-New Haven Universal Representation Pilot Project. In partnership with two other organizations, we are leading a pilot project extending free legal representation to Connecticut residents in removal proceedings. Our role within the project covers outreach, organizing, and case support aspects of the program.

-Sister’s United. We organize a grassroots mutual aid collective led by women who have been impacted by incarceration, immigration enforcement, and the DCF system. This group meets weekly.

-Immigration Advocacy. As a leading member in CT Immigrant Rights Alliance, we organize to support the decriminalization of migration and a stop to deportations. We played a leading role in passing the 2019 TRUST Act and building the campaign to get ICE out of CT courthouses.

-Community Education. We give workshops on the histories of policing, incarceration, and resistance at high schools, colleges, and community organizations.

Impact
Since launching in 2016, we have freed 455 community members from wealth-based caging: 368 from pretrial detention, 87 from immigration prison. As a result, these individuals were able to return home to their loved ones and fight their cases from a place of freedom. 
 
At the same time, we have been practicing a model of community organizing called Participatory Defense, which is dedicated to growing the power of defendants and their families (or, in the immigration context, respondents and their families) within the legal defense process. We hold weekly meetings that are open to people fighting criminal and/or immigration cases, as well as their loved ones (often people who are advocating for incarcerated family members). In these meetings, community members discuss the legal process, learn about resources, and identify strategies to actively improve their outcomes. Over 75 families have participated in these meetings, actively preventing deportations and numerous years of incarceration. As we expand bail fund operations across the state, we are in the process of providing support to grassroots organizations in New London, Waterbury, and Bridgeport to launch new Participatory Defense hubs in their communities.
 
As part of numerous coalitions, we are dedicated to leveraging the bail funds as organizing tools to support state-wide movement building. In 2019, we were active in the coalition that successfully passed the Trust Act, effectively prohibiting local and state law enforcement collaboration with ICE. We have also played a leading role in efforts to address the criminalization of homelessness in New Haven, pass the Homeless Person's Bill of Rights, confront ICE enforcement in CT courthouses, and more.
Needs
  • Multi-year grant funding
  • Program-related investment for bail funds
  • Graphic design services
  • Web design services
  • Social service organizations with whom we can partner in support of the families who attend our meetings
  • Volunteers for court accompaniment
CEO Statement We are one of the only organizations in Connecticut pursuing the transformation of our racist criminal punishment system through grassroots organizing. Our intervention, by combining community-driven bail-out work with Participatory Defense organizing, has the power to free community members from jail, surround them with community support as they fight their cases, then plug them into powerful grassroots movements for positive change. We believe the movement to end mass incarceration and mass deportation will only be successful if it is led by those most impacted by these systems of gross injustice and violence. Our work accomplishes this. 
Board Chair Statement
Our organization has three governing bodies: the Board of Directors, and two Steering Committees (one for the bail fund in the criminal context, one for the immigration context). The Steering Committees are composed of grassroots community activists with direct experience in the relevant system. They are responsible for overseeing our programmatic work, setting our grassroots organizing priorities and vision, and making difficult decisions about individual cases. The Board oversees programmatic work, executive hiring, finances, and general governance.
 
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy / Civil Rights
Secondary Organization Category Crime & Legal - Related / Administartion Of Justice
Tertiary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Alliances & Advocacy
Areas Served
New Haven
Other
Our pretrial work (in the criminal context) and our Participatory Defense hub are focused mainly on New Haven, though we are in the process of expanding state-wide, with the growth of the Steering Committee and development of new Participatory Defense hubs. Our work in the immigration context spans the entire state, and the Steering Committee for the Immigrant Bail Fund has representatives from leading immigrant rights organizations across the entire state. We also collaborate and provide technical support to similar organizations across the nation.
Programs
Description
Our community bail fund in the pretrial context has freed nearly 400 people from conditions of wealth-based incarceration, allowing them to return to their loved ones and defend themselves in court from a position of freedom. In addition to preventing the traumas of incarceration, this intervention improves case outcomes, since the people we bail out no longer need to plead guilty just to get out of jail. We encourage everyone we bail out to get involved in our Family Justice Hub, where they can learn about helpful resources and receive community support with their legal defense.
Population Served At-Risk Populations / Families / Homeless
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. We free over 150 people from pretrial detention in 2020, while involving these individuals and their families in our ongoing programming. These individuals are positioned to fight their cases in court and receive favorable outcomes.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
We conceptualize long-term success according to three categories:
  • Building community: the people we bail out choose to get involved with our organization, both to receive support and resources with their own cases and also to provide support to others in similar situation.
  • Expanding capacity: through data collection and network development, we can dramatically expand the capacity of the bail fund to provide assistance in cases with higher bails and throughout the state.
  • Achieving transformative change: by involving the families we serve in coalition-led grassroots organizing and advocacy, we achieve lasting change on the path to ending mass criminalization in Connecticut.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
We recently invested in a CRM that we can use to track case outcomes and communicate with the individuals we serve. We can compare the case outcomes of people involved in the bail fund to the case outcomes of similarly situated individuals that did not receive our assistance.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

We have bailed out nearly 400 people from pretrial detention, posting nearly $1,500,000 in bail. Of this $1,500,000, we have only ever had to pay less than $10,000 in bail forfeitures. Otherwise, the bail fund continues to revolve. 

Example Case: We pay bail for a 26-year-old single mother who was arrested following a domestic dispute with her parents. She could not afford $100 for bail. At her first court appearance, the prosecutors drop the charges. Without the bail fund, she would have spent this period in jail —and the prosecutors may have leveraged her incarceration to secure a plea bargain. Her criminal record is now clean, and the $100 is back in our revolving fund.
Description

People held in federal immigration detention can often be released to their home communities as they await trial—but only if they can afford bond. Those who cannot afford bond remain in jail due to poverty alone. While detained, many lose their jobs, housing, and custody of their children—in addition to enduring the hardship of human caging. Those who bond out are five times more likely to secure legal counsel; and those with legal counsel are twice as likely to win their immigration cases. Whereas 97% of people in immigration jail without counsel are deported, 68% of those who are bonded out eventually secure some form of legal immigration relief. To date, we have freed over 80 people from immigration prison.

Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees / Hispanic, Latino Heritage / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

The Immigrant Bail Fund becomes a powerful tool for movement building and grassroots organizing, with beneficiaries and their families receiving holistic legal and community support while getting active in the immigrant rights movement.

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Leveraging our short-term success, the Immigrant Bail Fund — in collaboration with our Family Justice Hub and the CT Immigrant Rights Alliance — becomes a powerful force for achieving immigration reform on local, state, and national levels.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Using our UpTrust data management system, we can evaluate the impact of our intervention on access to legal counsel, case outcomes, and participation in movement organizing.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. We have now freed over 80 people from immigration prison, allowing them to fight their cases from a position of freedom. This intervention, by removing people from the "detained docket" and facilitating access to counsel and community support, has prevented dozens of deportations.
Description Participatory Defense is a grassroots organizing model that builds power among defendants and their families (or, in the immigration context, respondents and their families) within the legal defense process. At the core of this model is a weekly meeting (our "Family Justice Hub") open to individuals and families fighting criminal and/or immigration cases. In these meetings, participants build community, learn about resources, and identify strategies through which they can positively influence their case outcomes. As the only Participatory Defense hub in the state, we are in the process of providing training and support to build new hubs across Connecticut.
Population Served Homeless / Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated / Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Individuals fighting cases in and around New Haven can come to our Family Justice Hub to build community and generate actionable strategies for positively influencing their case outcomes.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Participatory Defense hubs across Connecticut become a powerful force for grassroots leadership and transformation in the criminal legal and immigration systems.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. Using the UpTrust data system, we can evaluate participation in meetings, as well as the influence of actions taken under Participatory Defense on legal case outcomes. Specifically, we quantify "Time Saved," which is the difference in duration of incarceration between initially projected case outcomes and final case outcomes after family participation.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. By locating witnesses and generating letters of support, one participant in the Family Justice Hub (someone who we freed from pretrial detention with our bail fund) was able to prove that he had been wrongfully profiled for a robbery, leading to the charges against him being dropped. 
Program Comments
CEO Comments For donors interested in addressing the racial and economic injustices inherent in the legal system, the revolving bail fund represents one of the only channels through which concerned citizens can DIRECTLY reduce mass incarceration, securing freedom for those who are in detention based on poverty alone. This is a uniquely direct, grassroots form of engagement.
CEO/Executive Director
Brett Davidson
Term Start July 2016
Email brett@ctbailfund.org
Experience Brett founded the organization as a graduating Yale senior in 2016. He is now the co-director.
Co-CEO
Ana María Rivera-Forastieri
Term Start Dec 2017
Email ana.maria@ctbailfund.org
Experience Ana María previously worked as Political Director at both Working Families Organization and Junta for Progressive Action, as well as co-founder of CT Immigrant Rights Alliance. After serving on the steering committee for the Immigrant Bail Fund, she joined our organization as full-time co-director in late 2017.
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 6
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 30
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Collaborations
Organizations represented on Steering Committees: APNH, Trans Lifeline, People Against Police Brutality, Make the Road CT, CT Students 4 A Dream, CT Immigrant Rights Alliance, Hartford Deportation Defense. We also collaborate with a range of social service providers, including Transitions Clinic, EMERGE, Project FreshStart, CVH, and more. We work alongside the public defenders in the criminal context and a range of immigration attorneys, including Esperanza Center for Law and Advocacy and New Haven Legal Assistance Association. We also work closely with several clinics at Yale Law School on advocacy projects in both the criminal and immigration contexts. Lastly, we are active members in the national network of Participatory Defense hubs, as well as the National Bail Fund Network (in which our co-director serves as the leading Immigration Bond Fund Organizer).
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Unsung Heroes Award (for Immigrant Bail Fund)Wessel Fund2018
Comments
CEO Comments We are seeking individuals with fundraising capacity who believe in our vision and mission to join our Board of Directors in 2020!
Board Chair
Alicia Camacho
Company Affiliation Community Bonds
Term Aug 2019 to Feb 2020
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Ms. Hillary BridgesStudents for Educational Justice
Mr. Brett Davidson
Ms. Ana María Rivera-ForastieriStaff
Mr. Juancarlos SotoPlanned Parenthood of Southern New England
Ms. Arvia WalkerPlanned Parenthood of Southern New England
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 1
Hispanic/Latino 3
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 4
Risk Management Provisions
Directors and Officers Policy
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Additional Boards: Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Alok BhattCT Immigrant Rights Alliance
Anderson CurtisACLU SmartJustice
Kerry EllingtonPeople Against Police Brutality; New Haven Legal Assistance Association
Eric Cruz LopezCT Students 4 A Dream
Barbara Lopez
Hannah Nwosu
Nadine RuffAPNH
Constanza SegoviaHartford Deportation Defense
IV StakloTrans Lifeline
Vanesa SuarezUnidad Latina en Accion
LaToya WillisCT Bail Fund (constituent)
CEO Comments
Presently, we have a Board of Directors responsible for overseeing Community Bonds and two independent Steering Committees responsible for setting policies: one for Connecticut Bail Fund (in the criminal system), one for the Immigrant Bail Fund.
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2020
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2020
Projected Revenue $560,000.00
Projected Expenses $571,537.00
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
Documents
Form 990s
Form 9902018
Form 9902017
Form 9902016
IRS Letter of Exemption
Determination Letter
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$486,181$246,955$57,181
Current Assets$484,983$154,605$38,081
Long-Term Liabilities$27,100$1,450--
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$459,081$245,505$57,181
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountThe Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $54,750Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation $25,000 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFairfield County Community Foundaiton $50,000Sparkplug Foundation $10,000 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGraustein Memorial Fund $30,000Shalom United Church of Christ $5,000 --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Comments
CEO Comments We are a young and rapidly growing organization filling an unmet need for grassroots organizing to reduce the harms of mass incarceration and deportation while pushing for transformative change via leadership of directly impacted people and families. We have been blessed with deep support from working-class people via grassroots crowd-funding, generous philanthropic support from high-level givers, and foundation support from a range of local and regional grant-makers. However, we have very little multi-year support, and we are seeking assistance with ensuring long-term financial sustainability.
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 19 Grand Avenue
New Haven, CT 06513
Primary Phone 203 3401116
Contact Email info@ctbailfund.org
CEO/Executive Director Brett Davidson
Board Chair Alicia Camacho
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Bonds

 

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