The Tow Foundation envisions a society where all people have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life and have a voice in their community. They strive for this by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve vulnerable populations and help individuals to become positive contributors to society for the benefit of themselves and others. They pursue their vision by funding projects that offer transformative experiences to individuals and creating collaborative ventures in fields where they see opportunities for breakthroughs, reform, and benefits for underserved populations. Their investments focus on the support of innovative programs and system reform in the areas of juvenile and criminal justice, groundbreaking medical research, higher education and cultural institutions.
"Over the past two decades, The Tow Foundation has proudly supported efforts to improve services for court-involved youth and the policies that affect them. Investing in the creation of this important new institute will help ensure that those positive outcomes are protected and that youth and communities, in Connecticut and around the country, will benefit from the knowledge and expertise that will be housed here."
—Emily Tow Jackson, President
The State of Connecticut, through Public Act 14-217, Section 79, established a Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee (JJPOC) to evaluate policies related to the juvenile justice system and the impact of the recent “Raise the Age” law that moved sixteen and seventeen year-olds into the juvenile justice system. The committee consists of legislators, officials from juvenile justice, law enforcement, education and mental health as well as advocates from the youth serving areas. The committee sets goals for the system and plans for its continued improvement. The University of New Haven’s Tow Youth Justice Institute is contracted by the state to provide staffing and management resources to the JJPOC.
Children’s Health and Development Institute (CHDI) Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) is supported by the State Department of Education (SDE), the State Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Suffolk University Center for Restorative Justice (CRJ) is a partner in our Restorative Justices Practices Project (RJPP). TYJI is deeply committed to the system-wide implementation of Restorative Justice around the State. The project focuses on school-based diversion efforts and includes training and technical assistance in Restorative Practices for school districts currently receiving the SBDI model. Restorative Practices are a continuum of practices that adults and students can use to build a relational community, prevent behavioral problems and respond to harmful behavior when it occurs.
Community Foundation for Greater New Haven provided funding in part for the Transforming Youth Justice: A Leadership Development Program in its first year of 2016. Cohort participants were recruited from the twenty-town region of the Foundation. Fifteen Leaders successfully completed the program and now form the Alumni Network. Please see the Leadership section for additional details.