Non-profit

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

Website:

brooklynbailfund.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Tax ID:

90-1014588

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $2,592,631
Expenses: $1,519,462
Assets: $3,573,901

Type:

Charitable bail organization

Executive Director:

Peter Goldberg

Formation:

2012

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (BCBF) is a left-of-center nonprofit which provides bail funds for low-income individuals in New York City. From 2015 to 2019, the BCBF provided more than $5 million in bail funds. [1]

The BCBF favors liberal criminal justice reform. [2] Its research publications and website declare the criminal justice system to be “racist” and in need of dramatic restructuring. [3] More recently, the BCBF has advocated for defunding the police. [4]

Though the organization pays bail, it is ideologically opposed to the bail system. The BCBF’s website claims that bail unfairly penalizes low-income individuals who struggle to make bail. The organization points to its own 95% bail return rate as evidence that bail is unnecessary for keeping charged criminals in compliance with the courts. [5][6]

The BCFB opposes the detention policies of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). With the outbreak of COVID-19, the BCBF advocated for ICE to release all detained immigrants. [7]

The BCBF is a member of Progressive Everywhere’s fund to pay bail for protestors and bystanders arrested during the 2020 protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

History

In 2012, the New York state government passed the Charitable Bail Act to permit nonprofits to pay for up to $2,000 of bail for defendants in misdemeanor cases. The nonprofit Bronx Freedom Fund played a key role in lobbying to pass the bill after the organization was reprimanded as an unlicensed bail bondsman. [8] In 2019, State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) proposed a bill to expand the maximum bail contribution to $10,000, but the bill was vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). [9]

After the passage of the legislation in 2012, Brooklyn Defender Services asked Peter Goldberg, an associate at the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton,[10] to help form a nonprofit bail fund called the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Goldberg managed the Fund pro bono until he left his position at Cleary to manage the BCBF full-time in 2015. He continues to manage the fund to the present day as of June 2020. [11]

Research

The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund funds research on criminal justice issues. In 2017, the BCBF published a report on the bail bond industry in New York City showing a proliferation of unlicensed companies allegedly misleading customers. The BCBF recommended that the city government immediately audit the entire industry and increase licensing and regulatory requirements. [12] In 2019, the BCBF published a follow-up report finding that despite increased regulations, bail bonds companies continued to operate with little oversight. [13]

In 2018, the BCBF put forward a report on drug law enforcement in New York City along with VOCAL-NY, 5 Borough Defenders, and Court Watch NYC. The report declared: “what remains clear is that the system is racist” due to the disproportionate enforcement of drug laws on black and Hispanic individuals. The report also highlighted the impact of drug laws on entrenching the bail system and other criminal justice concerns. [14]

New York Immigrant Freedom Fund

In 2018, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund launched the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund (NYIFF) as a separate bail fund for illegal immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Fund was formed in response to the election of President Donald Trump and his campaign promises supporting a crackdown on illegal immigration. [15]

Since immigration enforcement is a federal matter, the Fund has no cap on how much it can spend on individual cases. Since its founding, the Fund has spent $2.3 million on bail for over 300 clients, with an average bond of $8,500[16] and its largest bond reaching $60,000. [17]

George Floyd Protests

After the death of George Floyd, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund declared its support for defunding the police. Its website stated:[18]

The murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police and the weaponization of law enforcement in Central Park—and the thousands that came before and the many more that haven’t made the front page—are irrefutable evidence that policing is a violent action rooted in racism and white supremacy.

Progressive Everywhere Bail Fund

Progressives Everywhere, a nonprofit that supports progressive Democrats,[19] created a fund to pay bails for protestors and bystanders arrested during the George Floyd protests. The BCFB is one of the groups which receives financial support from the fund alongside:[20]

  • Louisville Community Bail Fund
  • Bail Project
  • Chicago Community Bond Fund
  • Massachusetts Bail Fund
  • Northwest Community Bail Fund
  • Restoring Justice
  • Philadelphia Bail Fund
  • National Bail Out
  • NorCal Resist Activist Bail & ICE Bond Fund
  • Baltimore Action Legal Team
  • Columbus Freedom Fund

Act Blue Charities, a pass-through organization for left-of-center nonprofits, also channels money to Progressive Everywhere’s bail fund. [21]

Advisory Group

The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund coordinates its efforts with an “advisory group” consisting of numerous left-of-center advocacy groups: African Communities Together, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, Make the Road NY, and Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. [22]

References

  1. “About Us.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/about-us. ^
  2. “About the NY Immigrant Freedom Fund.” New York Immigrant Freedom Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://nyimmigrantfreedom.org/about-nyiff-2/. ^
  3. “Broken Promises: A CWNYC Response To Drug Policing and Prosecution In New York City.” Court Watch NYC. October 2018. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5824a5aa579fb35e65295211/t/5dbff1f6c7aa2f31f1f8d523/1572860413324/Broken+Promises+CWNYC+Response_2018.pdf. ^
  4. “Take Action.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/take-action. ^
  5. “About Us.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/about-us. ^
  6. “The Problem.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/the-problem. ^
  7. “Take Action.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/take-action. ^
  8. Mathew, Theresa. “Why New York City Created Its Own Fund to Bail People Out of Jail.” City Lab. December 1, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/12/nyc-bail-fund/546155/#:~:text=It%20was%20instrumental%20in%20getting,has%20been%20operating%20ever%20since.. ^
  9. Rivera, Gustavo. “Statement On The Veto Of The Charitable Bail Fund Reform Act.” Labor Press. December 15, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2020. http://laborpress.org/statement-on-the-veto-of-the-charitable-bail-fund-reform-act/. ^
  10. “peter goldberg.” Linkedin. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-goldberg-05019960/. ^
  11. “About Us.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/about-us. ^
  12. “License & Registration Please.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5824a5aa579fb35e65295211/t/5dbff191e9a2667a919cd4b3/1572860317684/BCBF+License+Registration+Please_2017.pdf. ^
  13. “Bail Bond Industry Compliance.” New York Immigrant Freedom Fund. November 2019. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5824a5aa579fb35e65295211/t/5dcc2226cbb78232b1d3e83f/1573659176113/BCBF+Bail+Bond+Industry+Compliance+An+Examination_2019.pdf. ^
  14. “Broken Promises: A CWNYC Response To Drug Policing and Prosecution In New York City.” Court Watch NYC. October 2018. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5824a5aa579fb35e65295211/t/5dbff1f6c7aa2f31f1f8d523/1572860413324/Broken+Promises+CWNYC+Response_2018.pdf. ^
  15. “About the NY Immigrant Freedom Fund.” New York Immigrant Freedom Fund. June 2017. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://nyimmigrantfreedom.org/about-nyiff-2/. ^
  16. “About Us.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/about-us. ^
  17. “About the NY Immigrant Freedom Fund.” New York Immigrant Freedom Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://nyimmigrantfreedom.org/about-nyiff-2/. ^
  18. “Take Action.” Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://brooklynbailfund.org/take-action. ^
  19. “About Progressives Everywhere.” Progressives Everywhere. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://progressiveseverywhere.org/about/. ^
  20. “Donate to Bail Funds for Protestors.” Act Blue. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bailfunds. ^
  21. “Donate to Bail Funds for Protestors.” Act Blue. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bailfunds. ^
  22. “About the NY Immigrant Freedom Fund.” New York Immigrant Freedom Fund. Accessed June 6, 2020. https://nyimmigrantfreedom.org/about-nyiff-2/. ^

Donor Organizations

  1. Proteus Fund (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,592,631 $1,519,462 $3,573,901 $1,071,246 N $2,584,390 $0 $8,241 $129,452 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,689,929 $884,603 $1,945,277 $515,791 N $1,689,516 $0 $413 $97,735
    2015 Dec Form 990 $729,957 $192,488 $611,241 $10,711 N $729,896 $0 $61 $37,500 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $102,598 $2,772 $102,012 $2,186 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

    195 MONTAGUE ST FL 14
    New York, NY 11201-3631