Innocence Blog

Innocence Project Receives $1 Million Donation from Pershing Square Foundation

Posted: February 8, 2013 2:20 pm

The Pershing Square Foundation today announced a $1 million grant to support the Innocence Project’s shift toward having wider systemic impact on criminal justice policy at the federal and state level. The grant, the largest in the organization’s history, will support the Innocence Project’s state-based policy advocacy as well as its core legal, policy and communications work. Crain’s New York Business reports:


“This is major,” said Maddy deLone, the Innocence Project’s executive director. “We are going to be able to scale up in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.”
The grant will help the organization educate, train and work cooperatively with law enforcement to implement best practices and support non-lobbying advocacy that seeks to improve eyewitness identification procedures and expand access to post-conviction DNA testing for people trying to prove their innocence.

“We’ve known what the reforms are, but now we can try to scale up so we can work to have them adopted,” Ms. deLone said.
The Pershing Square Foundation, started in 2006 by Bill Ackman and his wife Karen, aims to support organizations that help create social change. Since its inception, it has donated more than $160 million in the areas of economic development, education, healthcare, human rights, the arts and urban development.

“The Innocence Project has had the ability to transform lives on a case by case basis but this is an opportunity to change the criminal justice system for the better,” said Paul Bernstein, the foundation’s chief executive officer.
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