Professional political activists are busy abolishing the policies that keep criminals off the streets. Regular people are suffering as a result.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund, a major player in the Left’s war on criminal justice, received massive increases in revenue from “progressive” donors in 2020 to continue its war on cash bail.
Founded in 2015, the nonprofit initially worked to free individuals held in pretrial incarceration, but quickly shifted into another role as an advocate for the abolishment of cash bail. Since then, the group has spent millions on releasing charged individuals, advocated for the abolishment of cash bail, and partnered with numerous other nonprofits dedicated to cash bail “reform.”
The Chicago Community Bond Fund has spent $5.1 million to free 825 charged individuals over the last eight years. Though the nonprofit follows a candidate qualification process, many of the released individuals continue to commit crimes after their bail is posted.
This issue is not unique to the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Many bail bond nonprofits nationwide have released individuals who later commit violent crimes including murder, rape and arson. One group, a celebrity-backed cash bail “reform” group known as the Bail Project, was forced to close its doors after an individual they helped release shot a waiter 11 times. Before the Bail Project collapsed in 2022, it had released hundreds of violent criminals back on the streets.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund and other bail “reform” advocates nationwide view the policy as racist and discriminatory practice that disenfranchises ethnic and low-income individuals. What were once small nonprofits working to help pay bail, are now large-scale, liberal-funded advocacy groups dedicated to abolishing cash bail in full.
Who’s Funding Cash Bail Abolition?
In 2019, the Chicago Community Bond Fund reached just over $1 million in revenue—the highest revenue the nonprofit received in the first five years of its operation. In 2020, it received over $8 million in revenue after a plethora of left-leaning nonprofits began pushing funding into many cash bail advocates across the country.
In 2020, numerous nonprofits, including the American Endowment Foundation, American Online Giving Foundation, Andrew Family Foundation, Barr Charitable Trust, BFK Foundation Inc., Blue Dor Foundation, Chicago Foundation for Women, Hull Family Foundation, Lubetkin Family Foundation, Morrison Family Foundation, and the Potters Clay Foundation, donated thousands of dollars to the Chicago Community Bond Fund.
Multiple donor-advised fund providers—pass-through groups which mask their donors’ identities—also donated to the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Bank of America Charitable Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and the Schwab Charitable Fund all made contributions in 2020.
A few other groups, well known for funding left-leaning nonprofits and “progressive” ideology, donated hundreds of thousands to the Chicago Community Bond Fund in 2020. Borealis Philanthropy, an identity-interest advocacy and organizing group that partnered with Black Lives Matter (BLM), donated $50,000 to the nonprofit.
Network For Good, a nationwide, left-of-center fund that facilitates online donations for nonprofits, contributed over $200,000 to the nonprofit. The Tides Foundation, a major left-of-center grantmaking organization and pass-through funder, donated $35,000 to the nonprofit.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund’s Revolving Fund has advocated for “progressive” legislation, filed lawsuits against jails, and petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to abolish cash bail.
In 2017, the group supported the Equal Justice for All Act which served as the “gold standard” of bond reform legislation. The act passed the Illinois legislature in 2017, but the group claims it did not have the intended effect on pretrial incarceration.
The nonprofit also sent a letter to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2017 supporting a rule that would limit cash bail to payable amounts while working to eliminate wealth-based pretrial incarceration.
In 2016, the Chicago Community Bond Fund partnered with the Coalition to End Money Bond, a group dedicated to abolishing cash bail and reducing the number of individuals under pretrial custody. The Coalition to End Money Bond is credited with championing General Order 18.8A, which established requirements that limit bail from being higher than what an individual can afford.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund and the Coalition to End Money Bond worked to advocate and support a 2021 Illinois law that removed cash bail for the state. The law, signed by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, made Illinois the first state to remove cash bail.
Advocates and organizers in the Coalition to End Money Bond, including the Chicago Community Bond Fund, wrote the law. After Pritzker signed the law, a coalition of law enforcement officers criticized the decision, saying it will place police and the public at an increased risk.
“It is a blatant move to punish an entire, honorable profession that will end up hurting law-abiding citizens the most,” the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition statement said. “We hope that it won’t cause police officers to leave the profession in droves and handcuff those who remain so they can’t stop crimes against people and property.”
The Chicago Community Bond Fund also worked as a payout to other bail “reform” groups in 2020, opting to donate nearly $65,000 to Urbana-Champaign Ind Media for the Champaign County Bailout Coalition.
Living with the Consequences
In 2021, the Chicago Community Bond Fund bailed out Ruben Roman after he was charged with child endangerment and reckless discharge of a firearm. Roman was arrested after allegedly firing multiple shots in March 2021. When police arrived at the scene, a 13-year-old, Adam Toledo, was shot and killed by police and Roman was arrested.
The following Monday, The Chicago Community Bond Fund posted $40,000 for his release.
“We made the decision to post bond for Mr. Roman because we are aware that the city will continue to use him as a scapegoat for the killing of Adam Toledo, which was committed by the Chicago Police Department,” said Keisa Reynolds, who runs the Chicago Community Bond Fund.
The judge overseeing the case questioned the decision, saying “A lot of people sitting in jail could use some of that money, I bet.”
In October 2021, the Chicago Community Bond Fund bailed out Kavell Buchanan for $10,000 after he was charged with driving a stolen car. Two months later, Buchanan was arrested for allegedly robbing a man with a firearm.
The victim, Enkhbat Batgerel, was not pleased with the “charity” work being done by the Chicago Community Bond Fund. “By a charity? That’s mind-blowing,” he told members of the press. “Do they know his rap sheet, his history, before giving him that type of help?”
In 2019, the nonprofit bailed out Izarious Cannon who allegedly committed armed robbery of a grocery store for $5,000. After his release, Cannon was charged with driving a stolen car, possessing ammunition, and delivering cocaine and fentanyl.
“I am still afraid two years later,” Milton Berrezueta, who was robbed by Cannon, told the press. “It’s not good for a charity to free someone, because he’s just going to hurt someone else. It’s awful.”
The Chicago Community Bond Fund and now defunct group The Bail Project, between 2017 and 2020, collectively released 162 individuals charged with serious felonies in Illinois. Of those released, three were charged with murder, 10 were charged with attempted murder, 32 were carrying a gun when arrested, and 22 were labeled as “armed habitual criminals.”
Twenty percent of the released individuals were later charged with new crimes after the two groups chose to post bail.
Same Stories, Different States
Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, cash bail “reform” became a national issue for the Left. As a result, many small bail nonprofits became overnight sensations as millions of dollars flowed from left-leaning nonprofits and liberal billionaires.
The nonprofits are working to abolish cash bail across the country, and many, like the Minnesota Freedom Fund and Chicago Community Bond Fund, received tens of millions of dollars in support.
Illinois may be the first state to remove cash bail, but the bail “reform” movement is just getting started. Mega-donors such as John Arnold and George Soros are pushing huge donations into bail reform groups and soft-on-crime district attorneys across the nation.
What was once a small initiative to help individuals in pretrial incarceration, has become a massive conglomerate of liberal funding that seeks to overturn any form of cash bail in the United States.