Transformation begins with imagination. It is through creativity that we can envision possibilities beyond present struggles.
These tenets are at the heart of our work here at Fortune—in fact, our organization began 51 years ago through an Off-Broadway play, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, which I produced. The discussion that the play inspired encouraged us to reimagine a world where individuals with justice involvement were treated with compassion, dignity, and respect.
Those creative discussions led to the realization of The Fortune Society, where thousands of individuals have now found transformative community and lasting reentry success. Every day at Fortune, we encourage people to reimagine the possibilities of their freedom. Through programs like Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI), Employment Services, Creative Arts, and more, people learn that there’s more to their stories than past mistakes.
The work we do is vital and necessary, not just to the people we serve but to the community at large. In 2018 alone, our ATI program saved taxpayers $12,912,718 in incarceration costs—and that’s just one example. As we continue to help our community and the people in it, we depend on your support. Through financial contributions and volunteer efforts, you help us reimagine freedom for more people coming home from prison.
Here are other milestones we achieved in 2018 together:
Our direct impact efforts work in tandem with ongoing advocacy initiatives that aim to build an equitable and conscionable criminal justice system. In 2018, we saw incredible strides in this field:
Through conditional pardons, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restored the right to vote for 24,000 individuals on parole, helping to create a stronger and more inclusive democracy.
By agreeing on new, community-based jail sites to replace Rikers Island, we moved a step toward closing the troubled facility. Our Executive Vice President, Stanley Richards, is on the Implementation Task Force Steering Committee, which shapes strategy and ensures progress toward closing Rikers.
We helped reach a settlement with Target Corporation to resolve a class action lawsuit based on allegations that its criminal background check policy discriminated against African-American and Latino applicants. As part of the settlement, Target will institute a hiring process for class members to obtain jobs at Target’s retail stores and pay over $3.7 million in cash awards.
We helped file an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) charge against Macy’s, Inc., alleging that the retailer’s criminal background check policies and practices are discriminatory. The lawsuit seeks to improve employment opportunities for qualified individuals with justice histories.
Together, we can reimagine freedom for individuals with justice involvement and ensure a better criminal justice system where all can obtain the resources they need to thrive.
*Article by Root Stitches LLC