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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equal Justice USA Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Mission: Equal Justice USA (EJUSA) is a national organization working to transform the justice system to one that heals and restores lives. Our work includes ending the death penalty, strengthening programs that help crime survivors address trauma and rebuild their lives, and promoting trauma-informed responses to violence that can save lives and help heal communities.

Results: We are best known for 20 years of advocacy on the death penalty, during which we ended the death penalty in six states together with our state partners, organizing around some of the most egregious acts of violence addressed by our justice system. That work exposed us to the extensive trauma experienced across the system and shaped our analysis about the futility of asking a traumatizing justice system to carry out such essential functions as healing and community safety in the aftermath of violence. We worked with survivors who taught us about the unique trauma of losing a loved one to homicide, the extreme lack of services, and the ways that the justice system failed them. We worked with former wardens who carried out executions and taught us about the secondary trauma to corrections officers who are asked to do impossible jobs under the harshest conditions. Most importantly, capital cases uniquely must include a full life history of the defendant, so people on death row provide incredible case studies of the background of those who commit the most heinous crimes. Unsurprisingly, so many of them have a mountain of unimaginable, unaddressed trauma in their pasts. The common thread of trauma among all of these actors – those inside the system and those impacted by it on both sides – presented a roadmap for future solutions in the justice system. In 2008 we began the process of expanding our vision and programs to make those solutions a reality.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: We run three programs: (1) a campaign to end the death penalty, for which we are best known (2) a project to bring racial equity to victim services by helping groups that support crime survivors in communities of color to gain access to new resources and expand their reach, and (3) a Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which promotes a transformed vision for a justice system that is both trauma-responsive and restorative through local collaborative work with public health and criminal justice systems as well as national communications on a public health approach to the justice system.

Community Stories

51 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience with the EJUSA National Organizer, Christine Henderson, has been one of admiration and inspiration. Her enthusiasm, knowledge, people-skills, and organizational skills are outstanding. She is an excellent bridge-builder and team player with other organizations striving for the same social justice cause. She can cut across political party and religious/civic lines to bring together a diversity of people all striving for the same goal. She is an asset to any social justice movement in the local, state or national arenas.

Donor

Rating: 5

As both a donor and former employee, I am deeply familiar with EJUSA’s work, and have nothing but praise for the organization. EJUSA is doing critically important work to change how we approach and think about criminal justice in the United States. It has a long track record of success, which includes playing a key role in ending the death penalty in seven states in the past decade. Unique to EJUSA is its commitment to and skill in building bridges between different groups and across ideological divides, which is so important today. In sum, EJUSA is a terrific organization that deserves your support!

Christopher E.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for EJUSA in several capacities. As well, I'm a monthly donor. As a systems thinker and design strategist, I believe that intersectional approaches to taking on wicked problems (and our justice system is definitely that) is the best approach. In fact, I would argue the only successful approach to true paradigm shift. EJUSA is leading the way on that paradigm shift. Rethinking all of the actors in the system and what is best for each in order to achieve the change we seek. This is the group and approach to watch. Like they did with the anti-death penalty activism, this will be the group that in 25 years we say: they were ahead of their time. And they do all of this by building coalitions, caring for all their stakeholders, and leading with compassion. You will not be disappointed in supporting EJUSA. They are lean and effective and highly qualified.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

Here's the thing, there are a lot of organizations that have a higher profile in the justice reform and anti-death penalty community, but there's one org that all those with higher profiles turn to get things done.

And that is EJUSA.

There the most influential organization you've never heard of. They have been apart of the national conversation on ending the death penalty for over 25 years, with actual state-level wins that have instigated the progression toward a complete nationwide end to the unconscionable practice. Now they are at the forefront a strategy for tackling community justice reform, beginning with strong advocacy for victims and bringing them together into restorative justice reforms. EJUSA is seeing a national movement toward ending the cycle of violence and they will lead that conversation, that organizing on the ground, in the same way they have done for the death penalty.

If you want to give to an organization that does so much with their dollars, EJUSA is your place.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I thank God for this organization, the one on one assistance given by Latrina has really helped to catapult the work that we have been doing for several years. When you have a team making sure that you are dotting all the I's as well as crossing all the T's and as well as yourself havin a since of compassion for what you do.Because of this organization our organization will be more than prepared to provide crime victims the service that they need and deserve to some how help them to discover their purpose and help them in becoming whole. If I was to rate them they would surely get an excellent across the board.

jalden

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked as the policy director of a state policy non profit and worked closely with EJUSA on a large project. They helped our efforts in our state for death penalty repeal and criminal justice reform immensely. Their expertise and strategic advice helped us to be very successful in our efforts. They are reliable, knowledgeable, competent, friendly, and truly care deeply about the work they do. They were an invaluable partner to us and the key to helping our state coalition work toward the abolition of the death penalty.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This was my first time engaging this organization. As a community activist in Jacksonville, Florida I found them to be through, thoughtful, consistent, informative, factual, and professional. My work with Mrs. Christine Henderson was beyond our organization expectations. She appeared untiring, unrelenting about truth, and determined to seek and get professional results for EJUSA and those she worked with. A+

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for a small non-profit that has been working toward the abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska. EJUSA has been a tremendous help in this work. They have provided advice and guidance based on their experience in other states. Their experienced and skilled staff and support services have made it possible to change history here in Nebraska. We are indebted beyond measure. Thank you, EJUSA! -- Stephen G.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

EJUSA is a great organization that really connects with other NGOs on the ground level. They act as a cheerleader and behind-the-scenes workforce and have helped many states repeal their death penalty legislation over the years. They are starting to move onto two additional projects: victim advocacy and addressing violence and trauma as a public health issue. I can't think of a better organization to lead the charge on these new initiatives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA is a phenomenal nonprofit. They've expanded outward from death penalty work. Really like their new emphasis on fixing a broken penal system.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an associate board member at Equal Justice USA. Equal Justice USA is an excellent organization that has produced and continues to produce effective results in the area of criminal justice reform. The organization's leadership is dedicated and passionate towards their goal of ending the death penalty, and it has been a great experience working alongside them.

2 AGThornton

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA's staff is small but you wouldn't know it from their results. Few nonprofits can show the clear, specific impact that EJUSA does, and I remain impressed with how enthusiastic and dedicated its members remain, even in the face of long hours and tough work. As they make more and more progress, they take on new challenges rather than declaring victory and moving on, and I'm confident that their successes will continue to grow along with their aspirations.

3 Nicholas13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so impressed by EJUSA's work. Their vision of a justice system that works for everyone is both powerful, well expressed and transformative. Their accomplishment so far have been world-changing and their positive impact on the US justice system will continue to grow.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I work full-time for another criminal justice non-profit, and EJUSA is one of the more impressive criminal justice reform organizations I've been exposed to. Their dogged, successful anti-death penalty advocacy is truly a marvel of clever strategy and organization, and they should be commended for pivoting slightly to incorporate new, related work on victims in the CJ system. Because I'm so impressed by what they do, I serve on the Associate Board to help get the word out and learn more myself. It's a great group of people doing interesting and meaningful work.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA has provided game-changing leadership for the movement to end the death penalty. They are true visionaries, as well as amazing partners and collaborators. I rely heavily on their insight, wisdom and experience and their deep connections to a wide network of constituencies, especially conservatives, communities of color, and Evangelicals. Every conversation I have with an EJUSA staffer leaves me enriched, inspired and forever grateful.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't say enough positive things about Equal Justice USA! They have been essential in helping us achieve death penalty repeal in Connecticut. They recognized the potential in the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP) when we were just a small group of volunteers, and offered to help us get to the next level and beyond. EJUSA showed us how to become more professional and how to target our legislative and public education efforts strategically towards our goal. They continue to support us on a regular basis. And they have never sought credit for this work, nor financial support from us. Thank you, EJUSA!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA is an amazing, professional organization that is effecting substantive change in our country. The organization's emphasis on building diverse coalitions and engaging unlikely allies makes them a model for all advocacy organizations.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA does fantastic work to make the justice system truly work for all members of our society. Everyone on the staff is passionate about the work and unendingly dedicated. This is truly an amazing organization.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

EJUSA are the people who keep me well informed. I so appreciate the work they put into doing this.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization,. well presented information and advocacy.

3 Effie C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA has the energy, the expertise, the experience and the knowledge to help our country end the death penalty. Working for repeal in Nebraska, I was amazed by their commitment and their willingness to help our state on every level. EJUSA was with us all the way, encouraging us and contributing great ideas to the Nebraska organization's own hard work and strong commitment. They never gave in to discouragement, but always moved forward with a positive attitude to the next step. They're a personable and friendly bunch as well.