Equal Justice Initiative




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $39,631,239
Expenses: $5,690,202
Assets: $58,115,411

Executive Director:

Bryan Stevenson



The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) provides legal representation to death row prisoners in Alabama where no public funding existed for their defense. It was founded by Bryan Stevenson, author of the book and film Just Mercy. 1 It has extended its activity to include advocacy for the elimination of the death penalty, opposition to excessive punishment for children, and the elimination of mandatory-minimum sentences. 2

EJI has opened a museum and memorial designed around the history of African Americans in the United States from slavery to lynching to what it calls “mass incarceration.” 3

EJI also provides post-prison re-entry programs and educational programs for public schools. 4


Founded in 1994 when the Southern Center for Human Rights lost federal funding, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) was designed to provide legal defense for death row prisoners. 5

Since its inception, EJI claims to have secured relief, release, or reduced sentences for over 135 death-row prisoners while securing U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have impacted thousands of other cases. 6

EJI provides legal representation for death row prisoners, advocates the elimination of the death penalty, opposes excessive punishment for children, provides a re-entry program for imprisoned children, challenges alleged wrongful convictions, opposes mandatory-minimum sentences and habitual-offender statutes, and has exposed dangerous prison conditions in Alabama. 7

The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, were built and are operated by EJI as projects designed to reflect the history of African-Americans from slavery to the present. 8

Videos, historical markers of lynching locations, the book Just Mercy, publication of a calendar highlighting marginalized people, and events and reports on sentencing of children and the death penalty are used to advance education in public schools. Leveraging the success of Stevenson’s book Just Mercy, EJI combined with Mahogany Books to offer a double match of donations up to $1,200 for projects of independent organizations that request copies of the book as a part of a larger educational project. 9 10


Bryan Stevenson, an attorney and author of the best-selling book Just Mercy, and the film of the same name, is executive director and founder of Equal Justice Initiative. In addition to his role at EJI he is Professor of Clinical Law at NYU. 11

Jerome Gray, chairman, served as State Field Director of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the black political caucus of the state of Alabama, and won settlements forcing the use of alternative voting systems to single-member districts. Gray is also credited with expert testimony in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 12 13


Known contributors to Equal Justice Initiative during the riots surrounding the police-custody death of George Floyd include a variety of left-progressive interest groups, people, and corporations.

The Crimson Lion Foundation and Google have made grants to EJI of $1 and $2 million respectively. 14 15 16

Open Society Foundations has committed a $150 million fund to groups including EJI, Black Voters Matter, and Repairers of the Breach. 17

Microsoft committed $250,000 each to EJI, Black Lives Matter Foundation, Innocence Project, The Leadership Conference, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. 18

Glossier committed $500 thousand to 5 groups including EJI. 19

Cisco has pledged part of a $5 million donation will go to EJI, Color of Change and NAACP Legal Defense Fund while Etsy contributed $500,000. 20 21

Coca-Cola committed $2.5 million from the Coca Cola Foundation split among EJI, NAACP, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Electronic Arts pledged $1 million to groups that included EJI, and Honest Beauty, founded by Jessica Alba, pledged $100,000. 22


EJI generated $41,465,312 in revenue in 2017 consisting of $37,503,499 in contributions and grants and $2,903,445 of service revenue. 23

Contributions and grants have risen significantly over the last three reporting years from $3,218,245 in 2013, to $37,503,499 in 2018. 24

Expenses totaled $15,866,964 of which $4,748,744 was salaries and benefits, $3,805,821 for memorial and museum expenses, and $2,153,229 for community education. 25


  1. “About the Equal Justice Initiative.” Equal Justice Initiative, September 9, 2020.
  2. “Criminal Justice Reform.” Equal Justice Initiative, March 16, 2020.
  3. “Racial Justice.” Equal Justice Initiative, September 17, 2020.
  4. “Public Education.” Equal Justice Initiative, November 15, 2019.
  5. “Bryan Stevenson.” Equal Justice Initiative, February 11, 2020.
  6. “About the Equal Justice Initiative.” Equal Justice Initiative, September 9, 2020.
  7. “Criminal Justice Reform.” Equal Justice Initiative, March 16, 2020.
  8. Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Accessed October 11, 2020.
  9. “The Equal Justice Initiative Is Matching Donations on Projects Requesting the Book Just Mercy.” Help Center. Accessed October 10, 2020.
  10. “Public Education.” Equal Justice Initiative, November 15, 2019.
  11. “Bryan Stevenson.” Equal Justice Initiative, February 11, 2020.
  12. Gray, Jerome. “Winning Fair Representation in At Large Elections.” Cloud Front. Accessed October 10, 2020.
  13. Browder, Glen. “Unsung Hero Speaks to America About Voting Rights Act.” HuffPost. HuffPost, April 22, 2013.
  14. Bain Capital. “Equal Justice Initiative Announces $1 Million Donation from the Lavine Family.” Bain Capital, January 1, 1970.
  15. Guynn, Jessica. “America’s Lynching History Is Now Online.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, June 13, 2017.
  16. Togoh, Isabel. “Corporate Donations Tracker: Here Are The Companies Giving Millions To Anti-Racism Efforts.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, June 3, 2020.
  17. The New York Times. The New York Times. Accessed October 10, 2020.
  18. “Change in Ourselves Helps Drive Change in the World  .” The Official Microsoft Blog, June 16, 2020.
  19. “Black Lives Matter.” Glossier. Accessed October 10, 2020.
  20. Fred Lucas / @FredLucasWH / July 07, 2020 / Leave a comment. “These 18 Corporations Gave Money to Radical Black Lives Matter Group.” The Daily Signal, September 2, 2020.
  21. Login • Instagram. Accessed October 10, 2020.
  22. Livingston, Mercey. “These Are the Brands Giving Money to the Black Lives Matter Movement.” CNET. CNET, June 16, 2020.
  23. “Equal Justice Initiative”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. Part I, Lines 12, 8, 9.
  24. “Equal Justice Initiative”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. Part II, Lines 1a, 1e.
  25. “Equal Justice Initiative”. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. Part I, Lines 18, 15. Part IX, Lines 24a, 24b
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1995

  • 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 Sep Form 990 $39,631,239 $5,690,202 $58,115,411 $1,064,753 N $38,175,323 $909,252 $312,141 $82,719 PDF
    2016 Sep Form 990 $16,552,360 $5,114,052 $23,394,638 $285,017 N $15,515,934 $1,051,233 $109,539 $82,997
    2015 Sep Form 990 $8,610,244 $4,206,758 $11,586,174 $51,438 N $8,015,144 $613,271 $40,004 $75,814 PDF
    2014 Sep Form 990 $3,479,006 $3,738,018 $3,783,173 $20,618 N $3,218,245 $217,757 $30,505 $67,669 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $2,909,608 $3,491,960 $4,039,678 $18,111 N $2,698,925 $176,959 $30,024 $56,167 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $4,198,644 $3,198,204 $4,611,504 $7,586 N $3,904,186 $270,177 $21,331 $54,909 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $3,634,472 $2,839,265 $3,609,082 $5,602 N $3,505,074 $102,054 $21,982 $49,500 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Equal Justice Initiative

    MONTGOMERY, AL 36104-2538