Our Story

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wo weeks after Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, Chicago police shot and killed DeSean Pittman, a Black 17-year-old. 17-year-old DeSean Pittman was shot and killed by Chicago Police. A few days after DeSean’s death, his family gathered for a vigil to uplift his memory. Chicago Police came and disrupted the vigil by shouting racial slurs, threatening attendees, and knocking over candles that had been lit for DeSean. The vigil ended with the arrest of five of DeSean’s friends and family members, five of whom were incarcerated in Cook County Jail because they could not afford to pay a money bond.

Future co-founders of the Chicago Community Bond Fund worked with DeSean’s family to raise nearly $30,000 to free everyone arrested at the vigil. It took four months to raise the money needed to free the last person, a cousin of DeSean’s, from Cook County Jail. After he was released, his mother pointed out how no one should have to experience what they just went through: fundraising for months to get their child out of a cage. She and others impacted by the arrests at the vigil began working with activists from across the city to launch the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which made its public debut in November 2015.

In our first year of operations, CCBF posted over $300,000 to free 45 people from Cook County Jail or house arrest with electronic monitoring. In our second year, CCBF posted over $250,00 to free 59 people from Cook County Jail or house arrest.

We keep DeSean in our hearts as we continue to fight for a world without police violence, money bond, and pretrial incarceration.

Who We Are

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Our Organizational Structure

Information about CCBF’s volunteer-driven structure

Nearly 100 volunteers sustain CCBF’s work, including operation of the revolving bail fund and local and national advocacy efforts to end money bond and pretrial incarceration. These volunteers work tirelessly to follow up on requests for help paying bond, fundraise money to replenish the revolving fund and sustain our other work, support people freed from jail, and push forward CCBF’s educational and campaign work.

Major organizational decisions are made by a collective that strives for consensus. Collective members direct the organization’s strategic planning, support and supervise staff, and interface with CCBF’s advisory board and partner organizations.

Decisions about who to post bond for are made by a Review Committee composed of people who are not part of the collective and who are involved in Chicago’s many movements for abolition and racial justice. We are committed to ensuring that people who are formerly incarcerated, people whose loved ones are currently or formerly incarcerated, and people whose communities are disproportionately harmed by criminalization have decision-making power regarding who CCBF posts bond for. Review Committee membership rotates, but current Review Committee members include organizers with Black and Pink Chicago, Love & Protect, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, People’s Response Team, and Survived and Punished.

For the first two years of our existence, CCBF was an all-volunteer organization. As the organization rapidly grew, we hired our first employee in February 2017. While much of CCBF’s work is still driven by volunteers, CCBF now has a staff of four full-time and two part-time employees.

Our Staff

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Sharlyn Grace, Co-Executive Director

Sharlyn Grace is a co-founder of Chicago Community Bond Fund and currently serves as CCBF’s Co-Executive Director, focusing on programs and policy. Before joining CCBF full-time, she was the senior criminal justice policy analyst at Chicago Appleseed. Sharlyn has also previously managed a school-based restorative justice program in Back of the Yards and coordinated the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk at the Cook County Juvenile Center. She has been a supporter of grassroots social movements in Chicago since moving here from rural central Missouri in 2004.

Sharlyn received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 2013 and is an Illinois licensed attorney. Sharlyn is passionate about racial justice and criminal legal system reform efforts, including prisoners’ rights, ending police violence, and decarceration.

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Emma Rubin, Co-Executive Director

Emma Rubin is CCBF’s Co-Executive Director, where she leads CCBF’s operations and development work, and facilitates organizational planning.

She joined CCBF as a volunteer in 2015, and brings experience in non-profit administration, racial justice organizing, and adult education. Emma holds a Master’s in Public Health degree from San Francisco State University.

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Matthew McLoughlin, Director of Programs

Matt McLoughlin is an activist and legal worker. He is a co-founder of CCBF and currently serves as our Director of Programs. Cutting his teeth as an organizer with Occupy Chicago, Matt went on to organize around school closures, immigrant rights, and racial justice. For years, he has helped lift up, document, and support local and national social movements, including organizing jail support and solidarity actions. Matt also works with the National Lawyers Guild’s Chicago chapter as the Mass Defense Coordinator.

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Ruby Pinto, Campaign Coordinator

Ruby Pinto serves as the Campaign Coordinator for the Coalition to End Money Bond, and contributes to CCBF’s education and advocacy work. Ruby has had the honor of working on various initiatives to address police violence and mass incarceration through an abolitionist lens since 2014, and believes that artistic expression and creative collaboration are key components to building a just future.

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Devoureaux Wolf, Advocate

Devoureaux Wolf is an artist from Chicago known as King Detro. He is also an organizer with the Chicago Community Bond Fund. In 2017, after being a host on Walacam for three and a half years, Devoureaux started his own program and YouTube series called “Dance N Out Chicago” to keep young people out of the streets. He is also a volunteer with All Kids Matter Foundation where he organizes school performances and helps deliver food to people who are experiencing homelessness.

Devoureaux became involved with CCBF after spending three and a half months in jail because neither he nor his family could afford to pay his bond. His family had raised funds for the bond but his uncle passed away while Devoureaux was incarcerated and the family’s money had to be used for the funeral instead. Since then, Devoureaux has been a strong advocate against the use of money bond and pretrial incarceration. He has appeared in Chicago Magazine, BET, Fox32 and has spoken publicly at press conferences and rallies.

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Lavette Mayes, Advocate

Lavette Mayes is an organizer and advocate with the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Lavette is a powerful advocate against pretrial incarceration, electronic monitoring, and monetary bail. She has written for In These Times and Broadly and has been interviewed on Chicago Tonight, NPR, and CBC radio. Her story was the inspiration for a short film featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

Lavette became involved with CCBF after she was incarcerated for 14 months in Cook County Jail because she could not pay her monetary bond. Lavette also spent an additional five months incarcerated in her home as a result of electronic monitoring.

Our Advisory Board

We are proud to have the help of these powerful community leaders in shaping our work:

Contact Us

Thank you for contacting Chicago Community Bond Fund. Our intakes are currently closed. We are not accepting new requests for help paying bond until January 2, 2019. Emails and voicemails regarding help paying bond will not be returned until after that date. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

Please note that CCBF is closed from Saturday, December 22nd through Tuesday, January 1st. Thank you and Happy New Year!

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.