Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Skunk Works?

A Skunk Works is another name for a research and development lab or innovation lab. 

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Why is your organization called San Quentin SkunkWorks?

Our organization was named after the city where Kyle Winchell, our founder, and Kai Bannon, one of our co-founders, met. Our organization is not affiliated with San Quentin State Prison beyond the operation of our games campaign.

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What is San Quentin SkunkWorks?

San Quentin SkunkWorks is an innovation lab that researches, designs, and implements criminal justice and prison reform policies.

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Why should I donate to San Quentin SkunkWorks?

Because we need your support, we’re a small (but scrappy) organization run mainly by incarcerated people. Most of us can’t leave the prison to do a bake sale or hop online to do a crowdfunding campaign. Yet, despite the challenges, the work we do is critically important.

Because you care about the deep problems in our justice system, our nation’s prisons and jails are composed of historically disadvantaged people who come to prison with little opportunity and will leave it with even less. SkunkWorks empowers incarcerated people by providing them with the resources to do good. Your support means telling the world that you believe in a world that offers rehabilitation and the opportunity to change to marginalized people.

Because you want to support an innovative and peerless organization. San Quentin SkunkWorks is, to our knowledge, the only nonprofit mostly run by incarcerated people. This is a tremendous strength because our programs benefit from our life experience, and we can directly oversee all our on-the-ground projects.

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Is San Quentin SkunkWorks a 5010(3)?

Yes, we are an IRS 501(c)(3) public benefit charity with EIN 88-3852173.

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What is SkunkWorks Mission?  

San Quentin SkunkWorks is an innovation lab that researches, designs, and implements criminal justice and prison reform policies. Our programs make our communities safer, empower incarcerated people, and reduce recidivism. Through advocacy, innovation, policy, partnership, and research, we are changing prison from the inside out.

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Who runs the organization?

Kyle Winchell, Niki Kircher, and Jessie Harney serve on our board of Directors. Yasmine Barghouty is our VP of operations, and Jessie Harney is our Director of Public Policy. Our Board of Directors bio’s can be found here,  and the bio’s from our incarcerated volunteers can be found here. Bio’s from our outside staff and volunteers are on their way.

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Are incarcerated volunteers financially compensated?

No, all of our volunteers are unpaid whether incarcerated or not.

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How can I partner with the organization?

We welcome partnerships with other organizations that share our values. Please reach out to us at

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Can I donate if I live outside the US?

Yes, but our payment processor only accepts donations in US Dollars. If you live outside the US, your donation will be processed in US Dollars, not your home currency. To ensure accuracy, use a currency converter, one can be found here. These contributions are tax-deductible in the US. However, if you live outside the US, you will need to consult with your tax advisor to determine if your contribution is tax deductible in your country.

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What is San Quentin SkunkWorks Tax ID/EIN?

Our Tax ID/EIN Number is 88-3852173. We are a 5010(3c) public charity registered with the IRS.

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Can I mail my donation to San Quentin SkunkWorks?

Yes. If you’d prefer to send us a check, you can do so at the following address:

San Quentin SkunkWorks, 1 Main Street #484, San Quentin, CA 94974

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Who do I contact if I have a question or an issue with my donation?

Contact a member of our supporter services team at:, or call (415) 275-2058.

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How can I volunteer for San Quentin SkunkWorks?

To apply for volunteer opportunities, you can visit our volunteer page, email us, or get locked up.

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What’s better for the organization? A monthly donation or a larger annual one?

Both! Ok, we realize that answer probably isn’t helpful. We’re grateful for your support, whatever form it comes in. However, if you want to maximize the impact of your contribution, the absolute best way to donate is monthly via your checking account. This allows us the most accurate forecasting, the most efficient budgeting, and the lowest bank processing fees.

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I received letters from the incarcerated team. How should I respond?

First of all, congrats! It is an honor to have been chosen. Our incarcerated team writes a small number of letters to individuals and organizations that they believe can help with the SkunkWorks mission. Second, you should respond the way you would with any other person. The mission of SkunkWorks centers on empowering incarcerated people and a way you can help is by responding with the same respect you would treat anyone else. 

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Contact Us:; 1(415)275-2058

San Quentin SkunkWorks is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 88-3852173) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.