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DC Fiscal Policy Institute Joins the Catalyst Grant Program

WASHINGTON, DC — The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) is thrilled to join the Catalyst Grant Program, a collaborative effort between The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative to help nonprofit organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity and reform in the criminal legal system. 

DCFPI will leverage grant resources to create a data dashboard that illustrates the racial and economic harm of DC’s system of criminal and legal fees and fines on residents with low incomes, who are disproportionately Black and brown, while laying the groundwork for a reform agenda that reduces extractive methods of revenue generation.   

From fines for panhandling to sleeping on the sidewalk, the District levies a host of extractive fees and fines for arbitrary offenses that disproportionately target Black and brown residents. While Black residents comprise only 46 percent of DC’s population, they account for nearly 86 percent of those arrested. The inability to pay court-ordered fees and fines can result in garnished wages, extended parole, and imprisonment.  

By collecting new data and making it more accessible to DC residents, DCFPI will create an evidence base to advance a reform agenda that tackles these harmful policies and practices,says DCFPI Executive Director Erica Williams. “We are grateful for the support and partnership of The Urban Institute and Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative. 

DCFPI is one of 25 nonprofit organizations selected this year by The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative to join the Catalyst Grant Program. To stay informed on this project, visit and subscribe to our email list 

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