Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program

Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grant Program

A U.S. Conference of Mayors and Target Opportunity

For a fourth year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is pleased to be working with Target on a timely and important grant program for USCM member cities. We strongly encourage you to apply.


The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long been recognized for its commitment to both police reform and civil rights and for its leadership through the years in bringing mayors and police chiefs together in working partnerships to strengthen police-community relations and build trust between police departments and the communities they serve. Target has long been committed to creating and maintaining strong, healthy, and safe communities, and advancing the goal of equitable justice for all residents.

On January 21, 2021, in the opening session of that year’s Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Laysha Ward, Target’s Executive Vice President & Chief External Engagement Officer, announced the creation of a two-year, $700,000 Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program, a national partnership between the Conference of Mayors and Target aimed at identifying, supporting and promoting police policies and practices in cities shown to be effective in advancing the goal of justice for all residents. Extension of the program into a fourth year of grant awards was announced by Ms. Ward on June 4, 2022 in the 90th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Mayors in Reno.


The program’s goal is to recognize, strengthen and sustain policies and practices that police departments are employing today in pursuit of equitable treatment of all persons they are pledged to serve and protect.

  • Across the nation, increasing numbers of law enforcement agencies are using co-responder models to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of service calls involving persons appearing to be mentally ill, substance abusers, homeless, or otherwise in crisis, and police partnerships with service agencies are improving the quality and effectiveness of treatment needed by these individuals.
  • Community policing efforts are targeting specific community needs, including those of young people, immigrants, and homeless people. Increasingly, mandatory officer training is targeting implicit bias, discrimination, and related issues affecting officers’ responses to calls involving racial minorities.
  • New policies are increasing transparency and officer accountability while also recognizing the importance of helping officers manage the stress often associated with their duties.
  • Maintaining a police force that reflects the racial composition of the city it serves continues to drive departments’ recruiting efforts across the nation.

These are examples of the kinds of policies and practices that police departments are employing today in pursuit of equitable treatment of all persons they are pledged to serve and protect, and are examples of the policies and practices that this grant program seeks to recognize, strengthen and sustain.


In this fourth year of grant awards, the Conference is again inviting all its members, including its service members, to submit descriptions of police reform policies and/or programs that have been implemented and are showing evidence of progress in achieving reform and equitable justice goals in their cities. Note that applications describing prospective programs or the startup of new, untried, programs will not be considered for grant awards.

Also note that cities submitting applications in the first and/or second round of the grant program are not barred from applying for funding in this fourth round. Unfunded applications previously submitted that have been updated based on additional experience may be resubmitted for consideration. Applications seeking awards for other efforts underway are, of course, also welcome, but only one application may be submitted by your city.

The program’s panel of judges, which includes a former mayor and police chiefs and other recognized policing and equitable justice experts, will identify three cities to receive grant awards and three additional cities to be recognized for their outstanding efforts to advance equitable justice in policing. In this fourth year of the program, an award will again be made in each of three population categories:

  • $175,000 to one city of 300,000 or more residents;
  • $100,000 to one city in the 100,000-300,000 population range; and
  • $75,000 to one city having up to 100,000 residents.

The 2023 grant award in each of the population categories will be presented to the mayors of the winning cities during the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Conference of Mayors, which will be held in June in Columbus, Ohio. Mayors of the three cities recognized for their outstanding reform efforts also will be honored in this meeting.


Applications for grants, submitted online, must include a detailed narrative description of the initiative for which the grant award is being sought. This narrative should cover:

  • the stated objectives of the initiative, general and specific;
  • whether the initiative is citywide or targeted to a specific group or community;
  • the evidence of the problem(s) that prompted the initiative implemented or the actions taken;
  • the period of time in which the initiative has been in place or actions have been underway;
  • the evidence of the impact of the initiative and related actions, to include any internal or external evaluations, statistical evidence, feedback from communities, etc.;
  • the specific activities to be supported or investments to be made using the grant funds sought; and
  • other factors believed by the applicant to be relevant in the judging of the initiative being proposed for an award.

Summaries of past applications can be found here.

  • The Mayors and Business Leaders Center for Compassionate and Equitable Cities, which was created in 2018 in the wake of, and in response to, the previous year’s violent and deadly White supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Center provides information and a range of resources to support mayors’ efforts to make their cities more equitable, inclusive and compassionate.
  • The Working Group on Police Reform and Racial Justice, which was created in 2020 in response to the urgent need to reset the relationship between police and city residents required to bring about lasting change that will improve public safety and foster a greater sense of security in all communities. The Working Group developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for police reform that has been adopted by the Conference of Mayors as policy and posted on the web page.

The 2024 application closes April 24, 2024.

QUESTIONS? Please contact Mike Brown at [email protected].