Bail funds, legal aid, and other organizations working to help activists seeking justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence
Protesters during a protest in New York City in the United States this Sunday, May 31. William Volcov/Shutterstock
Protests around the nation have erupted in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more unarmed black people at the hands of police. Thousands of protesters have been arrested, and the National Guard has been ordered to deploy in several major U.S. cities.
Given the hazards of protesting right now — especially in the middle of the pandemic — it’s understandable if citizens are cautious about taking to the streets, even if they support activists’ demands for justice and are against police racism and brutality.
Luckily, there are many ways people can support protesters and communities impacted by police violence. Over the weekend, bail funds were trending across social media as an immediate way to provide relief to activists in jail, with threads like this one from filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry listing funds specific to each city. The National Bail Fund Network has a full directory of bail funds by state, and ActBlue has also set up a secure donation link that will let you simultaneously send money to up to 39 (and counting) nationwide bail funds.
Other options, such as legal funds and neighborhood relief efforts like Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Strong or NYC Black Mutual Aid, are great places to donate if people are looking to make a long-term, grassroots impact beyond this week’s demonstrations; many of these mutual aid groups also go hand-in-hand with COVID-19 relief in underserved communities.
Here are some of the bail funds and other organizations fighting against police injustice:
LGBTQ Fund: Bail fund providing relief to jailed LGBTQ people in 15 states and counting.
Mission: “Each day, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people are held in jail or immigration detention because they cannot afford bail — for immigration status or charges like sleeping in public. With your help, the Freedom Fund posts bail to secure their release and safety.”
Campaign Zero: Organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the U.S. Mission: “Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America. We are calling on local, state, and federal lawmakers to take immediate action to adopt data-driven policy solutions to end this violence and hold police accountable.”
Unicorn Riot: Nonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.
Mission: “Our work is dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world.”
George Floyd Memorial Fund: The official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.
Mission: “This fund is established to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist our family in the days to come as we continue to seek justice for George. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.”
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality. This has become one of the most prominent bail funds, providing relief to protesters in Minneapolis seeking justice for George Floyd.
Mission: “We stand against cash bail as unjust and identify wealth-based discrimination as a vehicle for the criminal justice system to target populations for structural violence.”
Black Visions Collective: Minnesota-based black, trans, and queer-led organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence.
Mission: “We aim to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organizations core ‘DNA’ to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging black leadership to lead powerful campaigns. By building movements from the ground up with an integrated model, we are creating the conditions for long-term success and transformation.”
Reclaim the Block: Coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Mission: “We believe health, safety, and resiliency exist without police of any kind. We organize around policies that strengthen community-led safety initiatives and reduce reliance on police departments.”
Public Goods: Mutual aid fund for the residents of Minneapolis public housing, organized by Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition (DGPHC).
Mission: “We are raising money here to buy and distribute cleaning supplies to the over 900 scattered site households in our city, and we need your help! We anticipate costs upwards of 25,000 dollars and we hope you can support us towards this goal. All funds will be used directly towards our COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund.”
Peoples City Council Freedom Fund: Los Angeles-based fund helping to pay for legal support, bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protesters in the city, as well as medical bills and transportation for injured protesters, supplies for field medics, and direct support to L.A.’s Black Lives Matter chapter.
Mission: “As the mayor and city council have sought to increase the LAPD’s budget during a pandemic, and as police around the country continue to kill innocent people of color, we have taken to the street to protest the funding of state sanctioned murder.”
Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network – Los Angeles: A coalition of grassroots organizations in Los Angeles committed to providing aid to the city’s vulnerable populations during COVID-19.
Mission: “We are immediately providing grocery and supply deliveries, and are preparing to expand this to other community support services like running errands, dog walking, childcare, caregiving, and mental health support for those impacted by the pandemic.”
Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America Bail Fund: The Oakland/San Jose chapter of DSA is currently allocating donations to a temporary bail fund, as well as a COVID-19 aid fund.
Mission: “Money in the fund may be used at the discretion of the committee for the following purposes: to pay bail, fines, or legal fees; to provide jail support; to pay for closely related expenses.”
SF Community Support: Mutual aid group for COVID-19 based in San Francisco.
Mission: “We are a San Francisco-based grassroots effort coordinating safe volunteer opportunities to meet pressing needs in our neighborhoods.”
Colorado Freedom Fund: Providing bail relief to protesters and other individuals across the state of Colorado. CFF has also been providing protest updates on its webpage.
Mission: “Founded in 2018, Colorado Freedom Fund (CFF) is a revolving fund that pays ransom (posts money bond, pays cash bail) for people unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom.”
District of Columbia
East of the River Mutual Aid Fund: Mutual aid fund organized by Black Lives Matter DC to provide material support during COVID-19, including hygiene kits and sack lunches.
Mission: “This Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots, community focused and lead ecosystem for folks in DC (District of Columbia) are engaged in or are looking to plug in. We are collecting and purchasing supplies to make hygiene bags, sack lunches and provide other material support that we have started distributing. We are working to support as many of our neighbors who are housing and food insecure as well as others that need support East of the River in Wards 7 & 8 as possible.”
Free Them All: Fund organized by the group Fempower to post bond in Miami.
Atlanta Solidarity Fund: Action Network fund set up to support the George Floyd protesters with both bail and necessary legal relief.
Mission: “This fundraiser is for bail expenses for those arrested. Any surplus funds will go toward their legal defense, and to support arrestees at other protests.”
Buy Black Atlanta: Community group fund to support and repair black-owned businesses in Atlanta that were damaged during the protests.
Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund: Mutual aid fund in support of Atlanta’s communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mission: “The Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund was created by community members from metro-Atlanta who have witnessed the needs of their neighbors at this time of crisis. While COVID-19 is a health pandemic, it has crippled economies and interrupted markets, causing wide-spread unemployment. Our concern is not with fixing the economy but instead with meeting the needs of people left with uncertainty and disruption.”
Chicago Community Bond Fund: Organization committed to posting bail for individuals in Cook County, Illinois, who are unable to post bail themselves.
Mission: “Through a revolving fund, CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence.”
Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help: Mutual aid request group based in Chicago.
Mission: “The Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help page was created by Chicago organizers Kelly Hayes and Delia Galindo to offer a simple way for people in the Chicago area to ask others for assistance during this crisis. Whether you are a parent whose income has dried up, a struggling freelancer, or enduring any other financial strife during this crisis, please feel free to share your story and ask for whatever financial help you need.”
Louisville Community Bail Fund: Bail, legal, and support fund for activists in Louisville.
Mission: “The Louisville Community Bail Fund exists to not only bail out folks, but provide post-release support to get them from jail, fed, and to a situation of safety. LCBF also maintains a focus on preventative measures for those targeted by law enforcement and threatened with incarceration.”
Louisville Mutual Aid: A fundraiser for different organizations in the city, including Black Lives Matter Louisville, Hip Hop Cares and Women of the Well.
Mission: “This fundraiser will support our organizers who go out daily to support the needs of community members. We also train folks up where they are and move them through their vision of leadership.”
New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund: Community fund for bail, jail fees, fines, and drug testing fees in New Orleans.
Mission: “Together, we will make New Orleans a safer, more equitable place to live, by redesigning the role money plays in the criminal justice system.”
Baltimore Action Legal Team: Bail fund and legal relief for the city of Baltimore, with a focus on black activists.
Mission: “BALT is committed to building the power of the local Movement for Black Lives. We take our direction from community-organizing groups who are on the ground, and we respect the leadership of local activists. BALT is committed to anti-racist practices and to black leadership. BALT is dedicated to politically-conscious lawyering and to using creative, collective solutions to support the Movement for Black Lives in Baltimore.”
Massachusetts Bail Fund: Working to post bails up to $2,000 in Essex and Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts.
Mission: “The Massachusetts Bail Fund pays up to $2,000 bail so that low-income people can stay free while they work towards resolving their case, allowing individuals, families, and communities to stay productive, together, and stable.”
Solidarity Support Distro: Mutual aid fund for delivering groceries and supplies in Boston.
Mission: “With Covid-19 at our doorstep, we need to make sure everyone is taken care of. And that means everyone. The most marginalized among us, those most in need of help at times like this, are the ones MOST commonly missed and avoided. Nonprofits can only reach so many people, and often it is only those who are connected to their services already. People experiencing homelessness, addicts, and sex workers without any institutional support are in need of food and supplies just as the rest of us are, and we need your help to reach them. Please donate to help us ensure that those most vulnerable are also receiving the help they deserve.”
Detroit Bail Fund: Bail fund launched by a local activist to provide relief to the city’s protesters.
Mission: “Funds donated will support BailProject.org and others who assist detained individuals in the release from jail. Your dollar will be contributed to supporting the protests, as well as getting people out of jail who were detained.”
Kansas City Community Bail Fund: Committed to posting bail for those arrested to Kansas City.
Mission: “Our mission is to give those who cannot afford bail a fighting chance at getting a positive outcome in their case rather than be persuaded to plead out through the use of a revolving fund. We want those detained pretrial to be given a chance to keep their jobs, their spot in school, their housing, and provide care for their children, while maintaining their presumed innocence, rather than sitting in local or county jail costing the taxpayers and themselves money. By doing so, we will be advocating for bail reform and ending mass incarceration by example.”
STL Mutual Aid: Mutual aid fund providing relief to the city of St. Louis.
Mission: “STL Mutual Aid is a network of organizers, healers, artists, community leaders, and every day people coming together to deliver food and supplies, provide financial solidarity, offer emotional support, and connect people to their neighbors.”
Neighbors for Common Good: Organization providing bail to protesters in Omaha, Nebraska.
Brooklyn Bail Fund: Community bail fund for Brooklyn’s incarcerated individuals. The nonprofit recently pivoted its focus to bail reform, but organizers have committed to helping those arrested in this week’s protests and are providing support to other bail funds across the country – read their full statement on the George Floyd protests here.
Mission: “We are committed to challenging the criminalization of race, poverty, and immigration status, the practice of putting a price on fundamental rights, and the persistent myth that bail is a necessary element of the justice system.”
Emergency Release Fund: Bail fund for trans people in NYC jails that also provides advocacy support (public defenders, legal aid, etc.).
Mission: “In response to COVID-19, the Emergency Release Fund has expanded their mission to raise and post bail for pretrial medically vulnerable individuals and anyone who identifies as LGBTQ. As of May 26th, 2020, we have freed 160 people and paid over $900k in bail funds.”
Mutual Aid NYC: A collection of mutual aid groups in NYC – many of them founded during the COVID-19 pandemic – including bail funds, homeless coalitions, family sanctuaries, immigration advocacy, PPE production and distribution, sex worker relief funds and more.
Mission: “Mutual Aid NYC is a multi-racial network of people and groups building support systems for people in the New York area during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
May 2020 Buffalo Bail Fund: Fundraiser set up to provide bail for those protesting in Buffalo, New York.
Mission: “In mourning and in solidarity, many people in Buffalo and other cities across the country have taken to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd and other black and brown people killed by police. This fund supports bail requirements for demonstrators arrested while doing this work here in Buffalo.”
Columbus Freedom Fund: Bail fund committed to helping those arrested for protesting in Columbus.
Cleveland Pandemic Response: Mutual aid hub for the city of Cleveland, with a list of resources, requests for deliveries, volunteer opportunities and more.
Mission: “This site is designed to facilitate community preparedness and recovery.”
PDX Protest Bail Fund: GoFundMe established by the General Defense Committee Local 1 to bail protesters out in Portland.
Mission: “The Portland General Defense Committee (https://pdxgdc.com/) has provided ongoing legal support to workers and protesters in Oregon since 2017, relying on over a century of national experience. The GDC works in connection with the National Lawyers Guild and other Portland-based organizations.”
Philadelphia Bail Fund: Bail fund providing relief to protesters in the city of Philadelphia, with the long-term goal of bringing an end to cash bail.
Mission: “We are committed to providing direct bail assistance to Philadelphia protesters participating in actions to ensure their safe return home.”
Bukit Bail Fund of Pittsburgh: Organization founded after the preventable death of Frank “Bukit” Smart Jr., in Allegheny County Jail, working to bail out individuals currently incarcerated in ACJ.
Mission: “The Bukit Bail Fund of Pittsburgh is a coalition of individuals and organizations striving to provide support for those incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail, located in Pittsburgh. We hope to not just provide bail, but also to increase our capacity for supporting people after they have been released.”
Mutual Aid Philadelphia: Mutual aid group organized in South Philadelphia and Center City.
Mission: “We are a mutual aid group organizing our neighbors in Center City and South Philly. We work with disabled and chronically ill folks as well as the broader community. We are glad you’re here!”
Nashville Bail Fund: Nonprofit committed to freeing low-income individuals from jail in the city of Nashville.
Mission: “The Nashville Community Bail Fund frees low-income persons from jail, connects with their loved ones, and works to end wealth-based detention through community partnerships.”
Restoring Justice Community Bail Fund: A partnership between Restoring Justice, the Bail Project and Pure Justice to provide bail relief in Houston, initially set up as a response to COVID-19.
Mission: “Restoring Justice is partnering with the Bail Project and Pure Justice to use donations to pay bail for people in need during the Covid-19 pandemic at no cost to them or their loved ones.”
Luke 4:18 Bail Fund: Bail fund overseen by Faith in Texas committed to posting bail for individuals in Dallas.
Mission: “The Luke 4:18 Bail Fund is partnering with faith communities, currently and formerly incarcerated people, families impacted by the legal justice system, and funders to drastically reduce the jail population in Dallas County.”
400+1 Bail Fund: Bail fund originally created to assist a black man arrested in Austin who feared he could catch COVID-19 in jail. The fund is now being directed toward protesters in the city.
Mission: “This bail fund was originally created to crowdfund resources for one black man too poor to make bail while fearing for his life due to the COVID outbreak. As demonstrations erupt around the nation, we are increasing our ask and reach. Additional funds will be used as a general bail fund to support the legal needs of comrades on the ground.”
Project Roar: Community fund dedicated to providing resources and outreach programs to Texas’ rural areas. They’ve expanded their services to include emergency jail and bail.
Mission: “Some of the most marginalized and neglected communities are in your city, but also lie in the county areas outside the city limits. The need for services in rural areas is often overlooked. Engaging the community will include canvassing and blockwalking, phonebanking and word of mouth, public service announcements and community service announcements, etc.”
San Antonio Freedom Fund: Community fund set up to directly go towards arrested demonstrators in the city.
Mission: “Every year countless unarmed black and brown men are humiliated, beaten, and murdered by militarized police. On May 30th, San Antonio will seek justice. The threat of arrest is real. We need your support. Please consider donating to our bail fund. All proceeds will go directly to the arrested demonstrators.”
COVID-19 Mutual Aid Salt Lake City: Mutual aid group based in the Salt Lake valley.
Mission: “Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group is facilitating connections across the Salt Lake valley between individuals in need of support due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and individuals offering support to their community. With the worsening of the outbreak in Salt Lake City, many vulnerable members of our community need to self-quarantine and avoid public places to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, creating barriers to basic needs. In addition, many basic medical supplies these populations rely on in everyday life are now scarce. We are providing assistance severely impacted by the virus by providing and transporting basic needs like groceries, prescriptions, and medical supplies.”
Richmond Community Bail Fund: Community group dedicated to freeing jailed individuals in Richmond who can’t make bail.
Mission: “The Richmond Community Bail Fund exists to restore the presumption of innocence to defendants so they don’t lose their jobs, families, and critical services while also reducing the financial burden on our community of detaining citizens prior to their day in court.”
Richmond Mutual Aid: Community-led fundraiser focused on mutual aid during COVID-19.
Northwest Community Bail Fund: Providing cash bail to arrested individuals in the Seattle metropolitan area.
Mission: “The Northwest Community Bail Fund (NCBF) provides cash bail for marginalized people charged with crimes who are unable to afford bail and find themselves incarcerated while awaiting routine court appearances in King and Snohomish Counties in Washington State.”
Milwaukee Freedom Fund: Bail fund for black and brown organizers in Milwaukee. Donations are currently on pause so as to administer the funds they’ve already received, but the webpage includes a list of similar local organizations to donate to instead.
Mission: “The Milwaukee Freedom Fund was started by Black and Brown Milwaukee organizers who want to see residents supported as they assert their right to protest for justice. We are raising money and gathering resources for bail, court-related costs, rides, food, water, and other needs, as the community struggles for liberation.”
Outside the U.S.
Toronto Protestor Bail Fund: Toronto activists are holding their own Black Lives Matter protests over the death of Regis Korchinski and have set up this bail fund for those arrested.
Mission: “In light of today’s protest we are looking to generate funding to release and support protesters who end up incarcerated. This bail fund includes any legal fees that may be incurred.”