This first of six multi-million-dollar investments during National Poverty Awareness Month to benefit organizations working to break cycle of incarceration
January 10, 2019 (Arlington, VA) – Today, Stand Together is proud to announce a $1.25 million commitment to two of its network partners – The Last Mile (CA) and The Other Side Academy (UT) – helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women build new lives after prison as part of its series of investments throughout National Poverty Awareness Month.
“People coming back from prison face enormous barriers as they attempt to reenter as productive members of society,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together. “We’re proud to support and increase the impact of organizations with highly effective programs and services that are removing barriers and opening doors to those inside of prisons and for those reentering society. Through their effective and inspiring work to free people from the cycle of incarceration, The Last Mile and The Other Side Academy are helping to break the cycle of poverty that traps 40-50 million people across the country.”
In the United States today, there are approximately 2.3 million people behind bars, and with a host of economic and relational challenges to face when they leave, current statistics show that more than two-thirds will be rearrested within three years of release. Stand Together is committed to upending this cycle of incarceration by investing in and empowering change-makers like The Last Mile and The Other Side Academy who, through their work, are transforming the people and communities they know and love.
“We share a common vision with Stand Together, to break barriers and drive progress, and their partnership is invaluable” said Beverly Parenti, co-founder of The Last Mile. “This investment will provide extraordinary opportunities for us to enrich more lives and deepen the impact of our in-prison educational programs by helping us add more classrooms and expand programming. We are thankful to Stand Together for its commitment to us and belief in our ability to help incarcerated individuals prepare for a successful reentry.”
This $1.25 million investment will benefit the following members of its Catalyst Network:
The Last Mile, California ($1 million)
Founded by venture capitalists Chris Redlitz and Beverly Parenti to help tackle America’s incarceration crisis, The Last Mile launched the first computer coding curriculum in a U.S. prison and brings technology and entrepreneurship training programs to the inmates of California’s San Quentin State Prison. Graduates of The Last Mile’s coding programs have the opportunity to work at TLM Works, an in-prison development shop where they are employed as Web Developers, earning the highest wages ever paid in a U.S. prison, comparable to a software engineer intern. In addition to San Quentin, The Last Mile has eight programs in men’s, women’s and youth facilities across California and Indiana. Classrooms in Kansas and Oklahoma will open in January 2019.
Through custom curriculum and hands-on computer software engineering experience, The Last Mile’s programs equip individuals with marketable skills and valuable expertise needed to leave prison behind and reenter society as contributing community members. With this investment, Stand Together will join Google.org and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as major partners in this innovative in-prison and second chance initiative.
The Stand Together investment will provide two new classrooms in California’s San Quentin Correctional Facility (adding 100 seats over two years) and the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (adding 72 seats over two years).
The Other Side Academy, Utah ($250,000)
The Other Side Academy is a self-sustaining residential life-skills and vocational training program for women and men in long-term criminal behavior, drug addiction and homelessness. Students of the program commit two years to the Academy and receive career training, peer counseling, education, mentorship and more, all free of charge. Through a structured, familial model of community and peer leadership, The Other Side Academy empowers individuals to break negative cycles and build successful lives. Running social enterprises, jobs for students, is the therapeutic context and vocational training that helps students succeed after graduation.
The Stand Together investment will provide funding towards the purchase of a new facility in Salt Lake City to keep up with growing demand. Serving 93 students today, the investment will allow them to work towards housing an additional 160 students over the next two years.
These organizations belong to Stand Together’s growing Catalyst Network of more than 100 community-based organizations working to break the cycle of poverty in America across six issue areas: Addiction and Mental Health; Financial Empowerment and Entrepreneurship; Housing and Homelessness; In-Prison, Reentry and Second Chances; Workforce Development; and Youth and Education. Throughout National Poverty Awareness Month, Stand Together will be investing in some of the most effective members of its Catalyst Network in each portfolio area to help them grow their transformational impact.