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The Fortune Society’s “Hope & Justice Gala” Honors Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th Mayor of New York City on October 26, 2021

The Fortune Society presented entrepreneur, philanthropist and 108th mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg with its Game Changer Award and honored two inspirational Fortune residents at its annual “Hope & Justice Gala” on

Contact: Jeff Simmons 917-673-0024 jeff@anatgerstein.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The Fortune Society is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit reentry service and advocacy organizations serving thousands of justice-involved individuals every year.

“We’re here to celebrate housing and the difference that it makes in people’s lives when they have a safe, supportive, affordable place to live. This has been an incredible 18 months. I think for all of us, it’s meant looking at our lives, looking at what matters to us,” said JoAnne Page, Fortune’s President and CEO. “I am so grateful that I’ve been able to be part of what Fortune does for the last 32 years and especially what Fortune does with housing because nothing I’ve seen transforms people’s lives [more] than a place to live that’s safe and secure and free of violence.”

More than 300 business and civic leaders, philanthropists, criminal justice advocates, and other Fortune supporters attended the celebration at Gotham Hall in midtown Manhattan or watched via livestream. The event raised nearly $1.34 million for Fortune’s reentry services and advocacy efforts.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and New York State Assemblyman David Weprin were among the attendees.

Michael R. Bloomberg has long been a dedicated partner and supporter of The Fortune Society. As three-term mayor of New York City, Bloomberg helped make possible the construction of Castle Gardens, a Fortune project that provides 114 permanent supportive and affordable apartments for low-income New Yorkers and those with histories of homelessness and criminal justice involvement. As founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, he has remained deeply invested in the Fortune mission, including supporting the organization’s education and employment services, creative arts program, fatherhood initiative and launching a career and workplace readiness program for Fortune Fellows at Bloomberg LP.

“Everyone deserves a second chance, and at some point in our life, we all need one and that’s what The Fortune Society does; it gives people a second chance and it helps them make the most of it,” Michael R. Bloomberg said. “We’re honored to be longtime supporters of Fortune and a partner in building hope and advancing justice, and I was glad to be here when you broke ground on Castle Gardens. We were big believers then in the Fortune policy of opening its doors to everyone who’s really willing to make change in their lives, and you’ve demonstrated that you were 100% right, and what we need to do is more, and I’m committing right now for all of us to do more.”

Mr. Bloomberg added, “The Fortune Society is helping to lead the way, breaking down barriers to success and making an extraordinary difference in people’s lives and the future.”

Fortune also presented Founding Tenant Awards to two resident leaders for their tireless work to create community and support their neighbors at Fortune’s Castle Gardens. Receiving the honors were Barbara Biscaino, who grows healthy fruits and vegetables on the building’s rooftop for fellow residents, and Carl Dukes, who manages Fortune’s justice-involved correspondence program and the distribution of Fortune News, the bi-annual publication sent to prisons and jails across the country.

As a special treat, Carl Dukes performed an original song inspired by his journey from incarceration to home.

The gala celebrated a decade of success at Castle Gardens, Fortune’s first permanent supportive and affordable housing development in West Harlem. This unique venture provides housing to Fortune program participants and others with histories of criminal justice involvement who have experienced homelessness, as well as to hardworking low-income individuals and families.

Together, Fortune and Castle Gardens’ residents have built a safe, life-affirming community, sharing the stunning rooftop garden, computer lab and library. Castle Gardens is also a place where people can get help, like access to supportive reentry services, counseling, healthy meals, digital literacy training and more. Most of all, it is a place where people come home.

The Fortune Society thanks our incredible donors, including Presenting Sponsors: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Dalio Philanthropies, Andreas Dracopoulos and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Funds raised at The Hope & Justice Gala will support Fortune’s advocacy efforts and comprehensive array of wraparound services including discharge planning, licensed outpatient substance use and mental health treatment, benefits enrollment and access, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS case management, health services, career development and job retention, education, family services, and emergency, supportive and permanent housing as well as lifetime access to aftercare.

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