(NEW YORK, NY – September 6, 2017) The Fortune Society, one of the nation’s most respected nonprofit organizations serving and advocating for formerly incarcerated individuals, today announced the appointments of three formerly incarcerated men whose professional and life experiences will strengthen the organization’s executive management team in key areas including policy and advocacy, reentry programming and housing. From entry level to top management, more than half of all Fortune employees have histories of criminal justice involvement.
The appointments include: Khalil Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy; Rob DeLeon, Associate Vice President of Programs; and Sam Rivera, Associate Vice President of Housing.
Mr. Cumberbatch, a nationally respected social justice advocate, will serve as the new Associate Vice President of Policy at the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy where he will lead Fortune’s advocacy, policy, research and community education efforts. A former Fortune client and a resident of Springfield Gardens, Queens, he earned a Master of Social Work Degree with honors in 2014 from Lehman College and was awarded the Urban Justice Award for his work with underserved and marginalized communities. Khalil previously served as Manager of Trainings at JustLeadershipUSA, advancing campaigns to reduce mass incarceration. He also lectures at Columbia University School of Social Work.
As Associate Vice President of Programs, Mr. DeLeon, who resides in South Richmond Hill, Queens, will manage six of Fortune’s service units including Alternatives to Incarceration, Admissions, Care Management, Group Services, Court Advocacy and Family Services. Prior to coming to Fortune, he worked at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, (CASES) for 13 years, developing, implementing and overseeing programs for youth involved in the justice system and government and community outreach. Arrested and charged as an adult at age 17, Rob spent 10 years in prison and today serves as an advisory board member for Network Support Services Inc. (NSSI), and as a member of the Juvenile Justice Oversight and Advisory Board for the Administration for Children’s Services.
Sam Rivera of Teaneck, New Jersey is currently the Associate Vice President of Housing at The Fortune Society working to ensure people impacted by the justice system have a safe, stable, and caring place to live as they heal from the trauma of incarceration and grow as thriving members of the community. With more than 25 years of progressive experience in the social services field, his expertise lies in criminal justice reform, reentry, HIV/AIDS advocacy, addiction/recovery and mental health treatment. Over the course of his career, Sam has worked in New York, Washington, D.C. and with national jurisdictions most impacted by mass incarceration.
JoAnne Page, Fortune’s President and CEO, said, “At Fortune, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Entrusting the management of this agency to formerly incarcerated men and women is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. From entry level to top management, the Fortune employees who have served time deeply understand the barriers people confront when coming home from prison. Because of this, our programs meet our clients’ needs in the most responsive and effective way possible and have served as national and international models. I am thrilled to welcome Khalil, Rob and Sam to the team and I look forward to collaborating with them as we empower our clients to change their lives.”
“The first time I stepped through Fortune’s doors in 2010 after serving six years in prison, I knew that it was more than a reentry organization,” said Mr. Cumberbatch. “I soon learned of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy and the importance of advocacy to change policies that are negatively impacting people like me. Now, as I return as the Associate Vice President of Policy in the Center, I am excited to work alongside and advocate on behalf of individuals who have the most to lose, and therefore the most to gain.”
Mr. DeLeon said, “I immediately recognize that at The Fortune Society we are unique in pushing our mission beyond the parameters of client-based services. We actively seek to hire individuals impacted by the justice system. In fact, many of our employees first engaged with us as clients. Our front line, middle management and executive staff, as well as our organization’s board reflect our commitment and values. I’m honored that Fortune considers my years of professional experience as well as my lived experience and insight as an asset to the organization. I’m very excited to be part of the team.”
Mr. Rivera added, “I am blessed to work at what I consider sacred ground, The Fortune Academy, a place where many lives have changed and continue to change. Each day, I see firsthand the dramatic impact that having a safe and loving place to live can have on our residents. Being the Associate Vice President of Housing is a great responsibility as housing is essential to facilitating smooth community reentry for our clients. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working alongside my colleagues, our board and the individuals coming home to ensure we are providing quality housing.”
Stanley Richards, Executive Vice President and Fortune’s second-highest executive, noted, “As a formerly incarcerated man of color, I know firsthand how important it is to be given the chance to change your life. At Fortune, our clients need a strong support system to help them reach their full potential and to re-establish their place in society in a positive way. Khalil, Rob and Sam are key pillars in Fortune’s support system. I am proud to call them my colleagues.”
Marking the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2017, The Fortune Society has advocated on criminal justice issues for five decades and is nationally recognized for developing model programs that help people with criminal justice histories to be assets to their communities.
Fortune offers a holistic and integrated “one-stop-shopping” model of service provision. Among the services offered are discharge planning, licensed outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS services, career development and job retention, education, family services, drop in services and supportive housing as well as lifetime access to aftercare.Read more at The Fortune Society Back