Supporting the Nation's Judicial System & the Public it Serves

Strategic Initiatives Grants

The Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIG) program provides SJI the flexibility to address national court issues as they occur, and develop solutions to those problems. This is an innovative approach where SJI is actively addressing these critical issues. In this way, SJI uses its expertise and the expertise and knowledge of its grantees to address key issues facing state courts across the United States.


Funding to support SIG projects is used for grants or contractual services and is handled at the discretion of the SJI Board of Directors and staff. SJI requires the submission of a concept paper prior to the full application process.


State and local courts and non-court units of government must provide a dollar for dollar cash match for SIG Projects. Matching funds may not be required for SIG projects that are awarded to non-court or non-governmental entities.


Only applicants that submit an approved concept paper will be invited to submit a full application for funding. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact SJI prior to submitting a concept paper for guidance on this initial step. All grant applications must be submitted via the online Grant Management System (GMS).  Refer to the Grant Application Guide for details about what an application for a Strategic Initiatives Grant must include.


In addition to the criteria detailed below, SJI will consider whether the applicant is a state or local court, a national court support or education organization, a non-court unit of government, or other type of entity eligible to receive grants under SJI’s enabling legislation; the availability of financial assistance from other sources for the project; the diversity of subject matter, geographic diversity; the level and nature of the match that would be provided; reasonableness of the proposed budget; the extent to which the proposed project would also benefit the federal courts or help state or local courts enforce federal constitutional and legislative requirements; and the level of appropriations available to SJI in the current year and the amount expected to be available in succeeding fiscal years, when determining which projects to support.

SIG applications will also be rated based on the following criteria:

  • Goals and objectives of the proposed project
  • Demonstration of need for the project
  • Degree to which the project addresses a current national court issue
  • Level of innovation in addressing the identified need
  • Potential impact on the court community
  • Qualifications of the consultant(s) engaged to manage the project