Innovative Programming Grants

Program Information

Innovative Programming Grants (IPG) offer funding to eligible nonprofit organizations to provide programs that have demonstrated success and focus on incarcerated individuals’ responsibility and restorative justice principles. The goal of IPG is to improve access to programming and increase the percentage of incarcerated individuals served in California’s adult prisons.

California’s Legislature has funded the establishment of rehabilitative programs since 2014. IPG programs cover a wide spectrum, from creative writing, gardening, and recording books for incarcerated individuals’ children to socializing and training assistance dogs, learning to write computer code, improving interpersonal communication within the prison setting, and in-depth trauma-informed programs aimed at replacing violence and crime with introspective and positive life skills.


California ReEntry and Enrichment (CARE) Grant in the amount of $5 million for two terms (September, 2020 – June 2021 and July 2021 – April 2022) is now accepting applications. 


Location(s) for IPG programs are available at all 36 CDCR institutions.


Grant eligibility is limited to nonprofit organizations currently offering insight-oriented restorative justice, trans-formative, and healing programs in an adult correctional institution setting.

Request for Applications (RFA)

The Request for Applications (RFA) for California Reentry and Enrichment (CARE) programs is now available! Please click the email link below to obtain a copy of the RFA packet from the Innovative Grant Team.  

Innovative Programming Video

Contact Information

Click here to email Innovative Grants

For additional IPG program videos, visit our Outside Resources page.

California Reentry and Enrichment (CARE) Grant Programs FAQ’s

Q: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, can CDCR possibly extend the application due date and program implementation date?

A: No. The timeline of the Request for Applications will remain as is.

Q: September start date? Will COVID-19 affect funding or start date?

A: CDCR is in a planning state for modified programming and program options. Therefore, at this, time there are no date changes but the programming status is subject to change due to COVID-19 measures.

Q: Are separate applications required if proposing two different programs at different institutions.

A: Yes. Please submit (1) application per proposed program and provide separate budget rate sheet(s) and budget narrative(s) for each proposed location, per program.

Q: What about the female population? Is a separate application required to address the needs at a female institution?

A: No. Only (1) application is required if the proposed program is designed to serve both male and female populations. However, an organization will receive 25 points if applying at a targeted women’s facility.

Q: Is it possible to serve the transgender population with an existing program and curriculum? If not, can transgender participants attend both proposed and existing groups?

A: This decision is under the discretion of the Warden at the proposed institution. Applicants are to provide this information in the proposal narrative section of the Request for Applications. If awarded a CARE grant, the proposed program will be assessed and implemented appropriately.

Q: Do we need Research Oversight Committee (ROC) approvals in order to meet data reporting requirements?

A: No. If the applicant does not intend to publicize participant data, ROC approvals are not necessary or required.

Q: What is the new ROC Process?

A: Please refer to the Office of Research webpage for more detailed information. The Grant Team will distribute ROC information on an as needed basis.

Q: If ‘spiritual healing’ is included in the proposed curriculum, but is not exactly a faith-based program, are we eligible to apply?

A: The proposed program must be non-worship and non-denominational in order to be eligible for grant funding.

Q: If proposing to provide a CARE program at multiple locations, can I request the maximum amount of $250K for each location or am I limited to budget proposals totaling $250K for all locations?

A: Each proposed location shall not exceed $250K per grant and the organization cannot exceed $500K annual grant authority.

Q: Can an organization exceed the 15-page limit to provide an alternative proposed plan for in-cell programming due to COVID19 restrictions?

A: No. As indicated in the technical requirements section of the RFA, applicants are not to exceed the 15-page limit. In addition, alternative program options are not required at
this time.

Q: Do you need to be a nonprofit currently providing “CARE” programs in an adult institutional setting?

A: Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply if the organization holds a 501c (3) status and is currently providing programming in an adult institutional setting.

Q: Can Art in Corrections (AIC) recipients apply?

A: Yes. However, applicants who currently receive funding from other government entities will not be eligible for grant funding if applying for the same institution and same yard location.

Q: Can I apply for a CARE grant if my contract ends with AIC before the due date of the CARE grant application?

A: If AIC funding ends before the application due date, applicants will be eligible to apply for a CARE grant funding.

Q: If previously worked with an organization who provided volunteer services in a California institution, and would like to establish a new nonprofit providing the same program services, am I eligible to apply?

A: No. If your program does not meet the eligibility criteria listed in the RFA, you are not eligible to apply for CARE grant funding.

Q: Can I apply to extend and modify a current grant-funded program to fit the transgender population or do I need to apply with a new proposed program to accommodate the transgender population?

A: Grant recipients, who currently receive grant funding, are eligible to apply for additional grant funds to continue a current program at the same institution and the same yard location; as long as, current funding does not overlap with the CARE grant cycle.

Q: If I apply for all yard locations at Avenal State Prison, can I receive up to $250K per yard?

A: Yes. Each yard location will be considered as a separate grant award, which will allow an applicant to receive funding up to $250K per grant award, but no more than $500,000 per organization.

Q: Does the overhead amount of 15% count for operating and personal expenses?

A: Yes. The overhead amount may include operating and personal expenses combined.

Q: Who is responsible for developing pre and post assessments?

A: DRP is currently working with an external agency to develop a pre and post assessment tool and will be disseminated to grant recipients once developed.

Q: Can an applicant received 25 points if applying for a target and non-target location/population?

A: Applicants can receive a total of 25 points per application if applying for a target location/population. Non-target locations/populations will not be awarded points.

Q: How many grant awards can an organization receive?

A: There is no cap other than an organization is limited to no more than $500,000 in cumulative grants (10% of $5 million annual grant authority).

Q: Can an organization apply for multiple yards at one institution and propose $250K for each yard?

A: Yes.

Q: Will all questions from the Applicant’s Conference Call be added to FAQ sheet?

A: Yes.

Q: Can a current program be replicated or modified to meet target requirements within the RFA?

A: Yes. Applicants are to provide this information in the proposal narrative section of the Request for Applications.

Q: Are Warden approvals required if proposing to expand a current program at multiple institutions?

A: Yes. If selected to receive grant funding the Innovative Grant Team will confirm with CDCR staff to see if the proposed program is feasible.

Q: Are copies of the applications required during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: No. Applicants have the option to submit an application(s) electronically or by mail. If by mail, only one copy is required.

Q: Will the organization be able to implement program evaluations?

A: Yes, if the evaluations are utilized for internal program growth, and not published. If evaluations are used to provide data or published content, approval must be obtained from the Office of Research through the Research Oversight Committee.

Q: Can an organization apply for research approval prior to the award of grants?

A: Yes. Requesting research approval will not affect the applicant during the review process. This decision is up to the organization and will not affect eligibility.

Q: Can an applicant provide references from outside correctional entities other than CDCR?

A: Yes. Each applicant shall provide at least one, but no more than three references of an administrator at an adult institution correctional setting where the applicant is currently providing a program.

Q: Can we charge CDCR to train volunteers? Are independent contractors required to attend training?

A: Yes. Applicants will need to include training expenses in their proposed budgets and budget narratives. Please reference AB 5 (Gonzalez) Chapter 296, Statutes of 2019 for Training requirements here.

Q: Do we have to itemize 15% of overhead costs?

A: No. Applicants are only required to provide the total of overhead costs. It is the organizations responsibility to obtain source documentation for overhead costs.

Q: What is required to apply for grant funding using a fiscal sponsor?

A: If an applicant does not hold a 501c (3) status, they can apply using a fiscal sponsor.

Q: Why are the cycles broken down into Terms and not years?

A: This round of grant funding is based on the total amount of months and not by a calendar year cycle.

Q: Whom can we bill to receive the first payment dated on September 1, 2020?

A: Recipients will receive payment information upon award of the grant.

Q: When submitting a Notice of Intent to Apply and proposing a current program, do I include the former name of the organization or the new name?

A: Applicant must include the current name and potential new name of the proposed program in order to be considered for grant funding.

Q: If previously applied for grant and did not receive an award, can I receive feedback from the evaluation team as to the reason why?

A: To obtain prior award criteria, applicants will need to submit a formal Public Records Request.

For questions or concerns regarding CARE grants, please contact