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We’re Investing $1.25 Million In Second Chances

2 min read

January is National Poverty Awareness Month and, as we mentioned in our last post, we’re seizing this moment to launch a series of new investments specifically designed to amplify the community-transforming efforts of our most effective network partners across all six of our investment portfolios. We’re thrilled to unveil the first investment in this series, directing $1.25 million to two outstanding organizations in our In-Prison, Re-entry and Second Chances portfolio

Around 2.3 million people are currently kept behind bars in America, and the host of challenges facing formerly incarcerated individuals means more than two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years of release. Stand Together Foundation and its partner Catalysts are committed to helping individuals start fresh and forge new identities when they emerge from prison, ultimately transforming communities and short-circuiting a significant driver in the cycle of poverty.

With that commitment in mind, we’ve hand-picked two organizations doing groundbreaking, dynamic work to help the formerly incarcerated get back on their feet and become actively contributing members of society. We’re thrilled to be working with them:

The Last Mile

There are more than 500,000 open computer science jobs in the United States. The prison population of California is 115,000. Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti – seasoned venture capital investors – did the math and saw the opportunity. The result is a program located in California’s San Quentin prison that equips inmates with tech and entrepreneurial skills that prepare them to find a job, a purpose and a new life upon their release. The program has garnered a good deal of buzz in recent years, with major tech leaders and companies like Mark Zuckerberg and Slack expressing support. And for good reason, The Last Mile was the first to launch an in-prison coding program in the U.S. and now inmates are making history by earning the highest wages ever paid in prison.

The Other Side Academy

For many inmates, the sentence they receive is not the result of a split-second decision – it’s the result of a lifetime of negative behavioral patterns, learned in a variety of unhealthy environments and situations. The Other Side Academy recognizes this reality, and works with anyone – regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or nationality – who is willing to set apart two years of their life to transforming it. Many program participants are incarcerated individuals who choose the program as an alternative to time in prison, but others are formerly incarcerated, experiencing homeless or suffering from a substance abuse disorder. By living in an intentional community in a home in Utah, participants learn life and social skills, such as dependability, trustworthiness, and self-reliance through a peer leadership model, as well as business and entrepreneurial skills.

These are just two of the 100-plus organizations Stand Together Foundation partners with to transform lives and communities around the country. We’re excited to share more of our Catalysts’ stories with you this month as we continue to roll out investment decisions – stick with us by signing up for updates here and joining the National Poverty Awareness Conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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