DJDS | Concept Development Fund & Process
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DJDS operates the Concept Development Fund, an innovative program that helps community-based organizations across the country transform their ideas for community infrastructure reinvestment into fully realized designs and proposals through our Concept Development Process. The purpose of the Concept Development Process is to imagine, design, and develop spaces and places that restore and transform communities.

1  What is Concept Development?


As many of DJDS’ projects are new typologies and are intended for communities that require significant external financing, concept development is the first phase of a project and is critical to explaining and evaluating (1) what exactly we intend to build, for whom, and why; (2) how thoughtful design can amplify, build capacity, and possibly improve outcomes for program partners; and (3) how much upfront and ongoing capital is required to build and maintain the project.


The Concept Development Fund will support the development of a well-constructed financial model, budget, design research, and imagery that represents the aesthetic vision for the project. DJDS and/or its clients will use these valuable tools to obtain project financing from foundations, social impact investors, and city agencies.

2 Who is it for?



High-performing nonprofits seeking infrastructure to deliver services to more stakeholders, build organizational identity, and support fundraising/development.


Client example: Restore Oakland LLC for Restore Oakland: A Center for Restorative Justice and Restorative Economics


Public Servants:

City agencies, Sheriffs, and District Attorneys looking to allocate a greater percentage of capital works funding to new types of infrastructure that support restorative programming.


Client example: Alameda County Department of Probation for the Mobile Refuge Rooms



Low-income communities of color facing gentrification who want to plant a firmer stake in their community, be their best selves, and thrive.


Client example: The community of West Oakland for the Pop-Up Village

3  The Challenge


Sometimes DJDS identifies and develops physical infrastructure for a program or community, but often a request for design/real estate development support is made by a builder, public servant, or hero who has learned of our work and believes that an alignment of missions exists. They may have identified a physical infrastructure deficiency, or they may want to purchase their own space, and there is an interest in moving toward acquiring, developing, or repurposing a project. The next step is Concept Development.

Tell Us About Your Project


In the development of the concept, DJDS engages its clients and their stakeholders in activities to identify and evaluate a project for development. These activities may include a pre-qualification evaluation to identify “fund-ready” program partners, an engagement process with a community and/or staff to assess needs, a site identification journey, a full financial analysis of the organization, and/or training to use remote learning tools and help program partners identify development sites.

Donate to the Fund


DJDS receives inquiries from non-profits, community organizations, and government entities who have inspiring ideas or spatial needs that are ready for the Concept Development Process. In many cases, though, they lack the financial means or knowledge to move the project forward without support, so while the project may be critical to addressing the needs of those most impacted by mass incarceration and poverty, the process stalls and an opportunity for positive change is missed. The Concept Development Fund is designed to address this challenge by financially supporting this first essential phase of development needed to make these visions a reality.