Fortune Society Welcomes Ronald Day

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Please join The Fortune Society in welcoming Ronald Day to Fortune as our new Associate Vice President, taking leadership of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy (DRCPP).

Advocacy and community education on public policy is in Fortune’s bones – it is a core part of our mission and it was through David Rothenberg and Fortune’s first key core of formerly incarcerated men and women sharing information about the experience of incarceration that Fortune came into existence in 1967.  Our almost 50 years of public policy work has ranged from serving as observers inside the yard during the Attica uprising to working with our fellow advocates in the struggle to reform Rockefeller-era sentencing laws to our current civil rights lawsuit against a large landlord’s company to challenge its policy of blanket housing discrimination against individuals with records.

We named the DRCPP after David Rothenberg, our visionary and feisty founder, who is still advocating for justice at Fortune as a volunteer and can be heard on Saturday mornings from 8-10 am on WBAI – as he says, “99.5, slightly to the left of center on your FM dial.”  On Dr. King’s birthday weekend, continuing Fortune’s tradition of providing a forum for the voices and insights of formerly incarcerated persons, David interviewed Fortune’s Barry Campbell and Casimiro Torres on their experience as “system babies,” going from foster care to boys’ homes to Rikers Island to upstate prisons and then making the long and hard journey to become free men who are valued contributors to their communities.  The interviews are powerful and deeply moving and can be heard for 30 days on WBAI’s archives.  I encourage you to listen; I think that you will be moved and angered and inspired and educated.

In our advocacy work, Fortune constantly asks, “What is the voice that we contribute” to the advocacy work that we share with so many able and dedicated partners.  We believe that our voice comes from the integration of lessons from three sources: the experiences and knowledge of those who are formerly incarcerated, Fortune’s decades of providing services and developing cutting edge services and program models, and the best practices and knowledge in the broader criminal justice and behavioral health world.

Although Fortune has been doing public policy work since its founding in 1967, the founding of the DRCPP approximately seven years ago was a commitment to provide dedicated staffing and resources to our public policy work, rather that, as in the past, drawing only from persons like myself and David and Stanley Richards along with other staff who had fulltime program responsibilities.  Under the able leadership of Glenn Martin, the DRCPP grew and thrived and is now a robust independently resourced part of Fortune, although it still draws from the knowledge and advocate voices of the entire agency.  When Glenn left us to start his own organization, JustLeadershipUSA, we supported him in his vision and initiative and welcomed the entry of his organization as a new and valuable voice in the advocacy community.  Kirk James stepped down from our Board of Directors for a brief period as interim head of the DRCPP, and then moved on to other endeavors.  We welcome Ronald Day as he steps in to fill the shoes of those who came before him, bringing his own talents and knowledge.

Earlier in this message, I mentioned the three sources from which we draw our voice.  Ronald comes to Fortune with strength and robust knowledge in all three areas. Formerly incarcerated himself, he has more than a decade of progressively responsible program experience at our esteemed sister agency, The Osborne Association.  He comes to Fortune with a strong history of advocacy for formerly incarcerated men and women including his participation in such coalitions as the NYC Reentry Education Network.  And, in addition to his full-time work in the reentry field, Ronald comes to his new position with a solid grounding in the literature and best practices in the field, as he is close to getting his doctorate in Criminal Justice, and is an Adjunct Instructor at John Jay.

As we move through the first month of 2015, we are honored and delighted to have Ronald Day join us as head of the DRCPP.  Please join us in welcoming him as he joins Fortune and as he represents us in the range of public policy initiatives that the DRCPP has taken on and will take on in future.  Ronald’s e-mail is, and his direct telephone number is 347.510.3675.


JoAnne Page

Categories: Community, Events


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