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The California Movement to End Inequitable Fines and Fees

Thursday, January 31, 2019 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PST
The San Francisco Foundation
One Embarcadero Center Suite 1400 | San Francisco, CA 94111
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Too often, government programs and courts levy burdensome fines and fees on people, partly to generate revenue to balance public budgets. There is often an insidious and unintended impact of this practice– to entrap low-income people in long-term cycles of debt and entrench them in poverty. Poor people and people of color are usually hit the hardest. These financial penalties can make government a driver of inequality, not an equalizer.

Through the tireless work of legal services, community organizations and public agencies California advanced several ‘first-of-its-kind’ reforms last year to reduce the negative impacts of fines and fees. Many statewide reforms are bubbling up across the state. Coalitions are meeting, planning, and growing to advance major reforms for 2019 and beyond.

Panelists will discuss the elimination of fines and fees associated with criminal justice administration and present the broader impact of government-levied fines and fines that strip resources from Californians who are burdened by income inequality. Funders and advocates are invited to learn about concrete and actionable ways to support the movement to eliminate inequitable fines and fees.

Join Us To Learn:

  • How fines, fees, and financial penalties strip resources from Californians who cannot afford to lose them
  • That solutions exist that are advancing at the local and state levels in California
  • They have concrete ideas for ways they can support the advancing solutions and “breathe oxygen” into this growing movement
  • How they can connect to the movement at the local and state-level,
  • Potential partnerships or referral networks; and
  • How to become more involved in the movement


  • Theresa Zhen, Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor, East Bay Community Law Center
  • Brandon Greene, Staff Attorney / Clinical Supervisor, East Bay Community Law Center
  • Ellen McDonnell, Supervising Attorney, Contra Costa Public Defender's Office 
  • Brandon Banks, Contra Costa Public Defender’s Office & Rubicon Programs, Inc.
  • Kelly Dunn, General Counsel and Director of Legal Services, Rubricon Programs, Inc. 
  • Anne Stuhldreher, Director of Finanical Justice Project, City and County of San Francisco 
  • Christa Brown, Manager of Financial Justice Project, City and County of San Francisco
  • Dauras Cyprian, Senior Organizer, All of Us or None
  • Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Vice President of Programs and Strategy, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
  • Elisa Della Piana, Legal Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Zach McRae, Walter & Elise Haas Fund (Moderator)

Target Audience

Members of Northern California Grantmakers, Funders & City/Statewide Initiatives, and Other CBOs