The J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation is committed to civil and human rights through investments that address disparities and promote justice, tolerance, and dignity for all.

Women’s Justice

Institutional racism, the criminalization of poverty, and gender inequities have led to a disproportionate number of women—Black women in particular—being incarcerated and imprisoned. Many women have endured abuse and violence as well as structural racism and poverty from a very young age. Many are also survivors of the U.S.’s failed war on drugs, as well as the more recent opioid epidemic. For the many women who are parents—often single parents—the impact on their children is significant and long-term.

Our Goal: Reduce the number of incarcerated women in Illinois by 50% by 2025 and close existing disparities. Our work is centered around and co-designed by those with lived experience.

Our Strategy

  • Fund a statewide task force and its plan for the reduction in the state’s prison population.
  • Support data modeling to understand the drivers of inequity.
  • Identify policies and practices to reduce women being incarcerated.
  • Invest in efforts that help women avoid engagement with the criminal justice system, support harm reduction while in custody, and reduce rates of recidivism.

Our Grants

The Women’s Justice Initiative is leading the implementation of a plan for a 50% reduction in the Illinois women’s prison population, to under 2,000 by 2023. Our support will help them implement this plan.

Women in Need (WIN) Recovery has created a service-enriched housing approach to lower incarceration and reverse recidivism. Our support will help them bring this model to scale.


Due to the U.S.’s broken immigration system, the human and due process rights of immigrants and refugees are not protected. This leads to an increase in deportations, the separation of families, irreparable harm to communities, and a devastating impact on the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families in Illinois.

Only about a third of the 20,000 cases in Chicago’s Immigration Court had some legal representation. Access to representation has been shown to lead to more favorable outcomes for those facing deportation.

Our Goal: Reduce deportations out of the Chicago Immigration Court by 50% by 2025.

Our Strategy

  • Ensuring that immigrants in criminal proceedings have access to comprehensive legal representation.
  • Build capacity of immigrant-serving organizations on legal services, community education, and advocacy
  • Catalyze public and nonprofit efforts to reach universal representation in civil/immigration procedures.
  • Support organizations that identify systemic solutions to deportation efforts including impact litigation.

Our Grants

The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender is the second largest public defender office in the U.S., with close to 500 attorneys serving 5.15 million residents, and averaging more than 100,000 cases annually. PFF provided seed funding for an in-house “Padilla Unit” to educate attorneys on immigration law and provide representation to those in detention and deportation proceedings.

National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) pursues litigation to prevent federal anti-immigration policies from moving forward, and provides direct representation to ensure that immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and protection.