The Vera Institute of Justice offers a limited number of fiscal sponsorships for innovative projects that further Vera’s mission and values. We are currently soliciting applications from start-ups and established organizations for a wide range of consulting and support services that can help your justice-related project or non-profit thrive.
What Is Fiscal Sponsorship?
Fiscal sponsorship is when a 501(c)(3) public charity (known as the fiscal sponsor) assists projects with similar goals. This allows a non-tax-exempt project to benefit from the sponsor’s tax-exempt status. The sponsor can accept grants and tax-exempt donations on behalf of the project and distribute them to the project.
Fiscal sponsorship can take many forms. In some, the project has no legal identity separate from the sponsor, which employs project staff directly. For others, the relationship between a sponsor and a sponsored project could be more independent, like that of a grantor and grantee, or an independent contractor.
A fiscal sponsor can benefit start-up projects or well-established organizations, even those that have already been recognized as tax-exempt. For example, a fiscal sponsor can provide back-office services to reduce the burden on project staff and give those staff more time to focus on project duties.
Fiscal Sponsorship at Vera: Criteria and Services
Vera considers many factors in deciding whether to sponsor a project. The project must closely align with Vera’s mission and values by having a strong connection to systemic justice issues or to Vera’s program areas, such as crime and victimization, immigration, racial justice, sentencing and corrections, substance use and mental health, and youth justice. Fiscal sponsorships may be short-term, or extend indefinitely. At this time, Vera does not serve as sponsor to projects with international program activities.
In addition to opening up tax-exempt funding streams, Vera can provide fiscal and administrative support, such as bookkeeping and accounting services, human resource management, legal services, payroll, and IT assistance, as well as office space. For projects seeking more comprehensive assistance, Vera offers non-profit start-up incubation services to help with programmatic direction, strategic planning, budget development, and fundraising. Sponsored projects pay an administrative charge to defray the cost of Vera’s services—generally, a percentage of total funds Vera receives on behalf of the project.
Vera currently serves as fiscal sponsor for the following projects:
The American Slavery Project (ASP) supports African American playwrights who write about slavery, the Civil War, and Jim Crow laws. Vera is sponsoring ASP’s first original performance, a work called Unheard Voices, which will bring to life some of the unknown men, women, and children buried in the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan.
Drive Change aims to increase employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated youth, ages 16-25, by providing them with skills-training and licensing, networking support, and transitional employment in the food services industry through the operation of licensed food trucks.
The Economic Mobility Corporation, supports programs and policies that allow low-income people to achieve greater economic stability and success through education, workforce development, mentoring, and networking. The organization achieves its goals through research and evaluation, communication with policymakers and practitioners, and replicating and expanding successful projects.
The Pipeline Crisis / Winning Strategies for Young Black Men is a collaborative of private-sector participants working in partnership with nonprofit professionals, academicians, philanthropic organizations, and government to improve opportunities for young black men by addressing the social and economic obstacles to their success.
Truth in Reality is a grassroots media advocacy organization working to change the harmful values and perception of Black women promoted on reality television. Through digital activism, public awareness campaigns, and media literacy educational programs, their goal is to reduce the rates of violence in the Black community by reducing society’s acceptance of violence as entertainment
Velo City uses cycling to introduce youth from diverse, underserved communities to urban planning and design concepts, community involvement opportunities, and career opportunities in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and design.
Vera has previously served as fiscal sponsor to the following entities:
The Ohio Green Prison Project puts green technologies in Ohio prisons to improve economic and environmental sustainability and provides related training to inmates to prepare them for getting green jobs later on. Upon the mutual agreement of Vera and the project, Vera has taken over the operation of the Ohio Green Prisons Project.
ReServe connects nonprofits and public agencies with experienced professionals who provide their expertise to these organizations at affordable rates. ReServe, now an independent 501(c)(3) organization, recently became a subsidiary of Fedcap.
Single Stop aims to prevent poverty by providing financial and tax counseling and legal services to low-income families to assist them in obtaining tax refunds, insurance, public benefits, and other resources. Single Stop is now an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
Applying to Vera for Fiscal Sponsorship
If you are interested in applying for fiscal sponsorship of your justice-related project or non-profit, please submit a completed application form, with all requested materials, to the contact listed in the form. Please allow six weeks from the date you submit your application materials for review. We look forward to learning more about your big idea.