Help Inmates Discover Potential

$1,215 of $4,500 goal

Raised by 10 people in 19 months
Small Forces
on behalf of Christopher Jacobs
 Chicago, IL
Please watch the short film on Arts to Excel above to see the impact this type of program has on the lives of the people it serves. 

The mission of Arts to Excel is to use the creative energy of photography and the arts to help incarcerated people get in touch with their own own potential and humanity. Started by renowned Chicago photographer Christopher Jacobs, Arts to Excel 's core program is based at the Cook County Jail’s Mental Health Transition Center (MHTC). 

Not only is Cook County Jail the largest single-site jail in America, but with one in three inmates suffering from mental health issues, it’s also the country’s largest mental health facility. Partnering with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Department of Corrections Executive Director Dr. Nneke Jones Tapia, Jacobs works with MHTC inmates who don’t have a history of violence, but do have a history of mental illness. Often times, when these individuals reach the MHTC, it’s the first time they’re receiving treatment for their mental illness. 

Through things like regular photography classes, drum circles, and training in advertising, Jacobs works with his MHTC students to see things differently through instruction in creative arts. Jacobs recently started a creative writing program for inmates in Cook County Jail's maximum-security Division X and is looking to expand programs to positively impact the lives of as many inmates as possible. The end goal is to give these inmates a better chance at a productive life after being released.

Arts to Excel gratefully accepts contributions through GoFundMe. Contributions will go toward efforts to expand its programs. Arts to Excel does not yet have its 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status, but will be working toward that soon.

For more on Arts to Excel , or to sign up for our newsletter, please visit .
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$1,215 of $4,500 goal

Raised by 10 people in 19 months
Created April 25, 2017
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Lindsay Recsetar
18 months ago

This is truly amazing, thanks for all you do!

david rosen
18 months ago


Lyndsay McCully
18 months ago

...super proud and excited to see how far this program has come!

Eileen Burns
19 months ago

Remarkable story. Thank you!

19 months ago
Karen S
19 months ago

An amazing and important cause.

19 months ago
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