Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund

The Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund is a commendable initiative that honors the legacy of Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. and supports Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) in its vital mission. The fund is specifically tailored to provide essential social and re-entry support services for GIP clients nearing exoneration, and for freed and exonerated innocent individuals in Georgia (hereinafter, “exonerees”).

The emotional toll of wrongful conviction can be immense. This memorial fund serves as a conduit for financial and emotional support, aiming to alleviate the challenges faced by exonerees and their loved ones. Read on to find out more about the meaningful work this fund enables.

Donate By Mail

Georgia Innocence Project
Attn: Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund
50 Hurt Plaza SE, Suite 350
Atlanta, GA 30303

Donate Online

1. Click here to be redirected to GIP's donation page.
2. Complete all sections of the donation form.
3. Please select Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund in the "what prompted you to donate" section.

Your contribution to this meaningful fund plays a crucial role in supporting GIP's mission, clients, and exonerees. Explore below to see the full parameters of the fund and discover how your generous donation will make a significant difference in several key areas.

1. Social Worker / Client Services Advocate & Associated Funding

  • Funding the salary and benefits of a full-time or part-time Social Worker, or Social Worker and Client Services Advocate.
  • Covering the exoneree support / client services-related-portion of the salary and benefits of GIP staff who supervise the Social Worker / Client Services Advocate and manage GIP’s Client Services Program.
  • These professionals play a crucial role in supporting exonerees and their successful reintegration into society.

2. Professional Counseling and Mental Health Services

  • Contracting with external mental health professionals to provide specialized services to exonerees and their families.
  • These services can address trauma, mental health, and emotional well-being.

3. Annual Exoneree Direct Financial Support

  • Funding an annual budget line for direct financial assistance to exonerees with acute financial needs. This could include support with housing, transportation, medical, and other essential expenses.
  • Financial support also includes professional services to help exonerees make informed decisions regarding money matters, personal finances, and investments.

4. Peer Support and Community Building Among Exonerees

  • Providing regular opportunities for innocent exonerees to connect with each other and GIP staff.
  • These connections provide peer support and mentorship, build community among those who have suffered the unique trauma of wrongful incarceration, and facilitate exonerees’ ability to access resources and work in partnership to accomplish goals.

5. Professional Development, Training, and Support for Exonerees

  • Invest in programs and opportunities that enhance job skills, life skills, employment opportunities, and education for exonerees.
  • This could involve exonerees attending vocational training, workshops, educational courses, or relevant conferences. It could also involve GIP directly hiring exonerees to work at GIP or to create products for purchase by GIP.

6. Technology and IT Support for Exonerees

  • Provide access to technology resources, such as computers, internet connectivity, and software tools.
  • This enables exonerees to communicate, seek employment, and access
    information.

7. Wellness and Mental Health Visits for GIP Clients in Prison

  • Arrange for regular wellness check-ups and mental health visits for clients who are still incarcerated and are approaching potential release.
  • These visits can offer emotional support and address any health concerns.

8. Advocacy Work Involving Exoneree Compensation and Social Security Benefits

  • Allocate resources to navigate legal and legislative processes related to securing financial compensation and other benefits for innocent exonerees.
  • Additionally, engage in policy and advocacy efforts to improve exonerees’ rights and benefits.

9. Honoraria for Community Education by Exonerees, such as Speaking Engagements

  • Exonerees may receive honoraria for sharing their experiences and insights as part of educational programs or at events or conferences.
  • These payments acknowledge exonerees’ unique perspectives and contributions to raising awareness about the criminal legal system and wrongful convictions.

The Legacy of Calvin C. Johnson, Jr.

In 1999, Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. was the first person in the state of Georgia to be freed from wrongful incarceration by DNA evidence, with help of the Innocence Project. In 2002, Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) was founded and Calvin soon became a steadfast partner in fighting for justice for those convicted of crimes they did not commit.

Over the years, Calvin led advocacy efforts across the state, expanding a reach to thousands on the issues of wrongful convictions. In addition, Calvin served on GIP’s board of directors, including serving as Board Chair, making him the first exoneree ever to hold the position across the entire Innocence Network.

As a friend and mentor, Calvin was the spirit and soul of innocence work throughout Georgia. The Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund is an initiative that honors the legacy of Calvin and continues GIP’s crucial mission.


Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund Founding Contributors

Briana Johnson
Judith C. Johnson and Eric V. Hill
Julie Seaman
Maddy deLeon and Bobby Cohen
Barry Scheck
Peter Neufeld and Adele Bernhard
Steve and Christine Lefler
Alan Essig and Mary Finn
Clare Gilbert and Atis Muehlenbachs
Greg Hampikian
Andrew and Dorothy Tananbaum

Join the list of Founding Contributors by making a donation of $500 or more to the fund by September 15, 2024.

Donate By Mail

Georgia Innocence Project
Attn: Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund
50 Hurt Plaza SE, Suite 350
Atlanta, GA 30303

Donate Online

1. Click here to be redirected to GIP's donation page.
2. Complete all sections of the donation form.
3. Please select Calvin C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Fund in the "what prompted you to donate" section.