Criminal justice reform has become a key focus area in philanthropy. While many associate it with policy change to keep nonviolent offenders out of the system, what about the nearly 10,000 ex-prisoners released in the U.S. every week? New Profit, the venture philanthropy fund seeking to break barriers and increase social mobility, has a new initiative to help former inmates lead successful lives out from behind bars.
Unlocked Futures is an incubator for formerly incarcerated social entrepreneurs operating nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Over the course of 16 months, participants receive $50,000 and personalized training and coaching to grow their business and help end mass incarceration. The first cohort includes Clean Decisions, a D.C.-based cleaning company that hires former inmates, and Flikshop, an app that helps prisoners easily and legally communicate with loved ones. The initiative has received high profile backing, including endorsements from John Legend and a $500,000 investment from Bank of America. Social entrepreneurship may do well to combat recidivism: it's hard to imagine a person with a stable income and sense of purpose will re-offend. LEARN MORE