Our mission is to reduce the impact of systems of incarceration on communities. Our secret sauce is having the formerly incarcerated and those who’ve been directly impacted by incarceration lead and inform our work by serving on our governing and advisory boards and staffing our organization.
We will work first in Washington State, then on a broader stage. We work in three areas.
First, Changing the Odds -by disrupting the school and foster care to prison pipelines, promoting diversion programs, and reducing recidivism. Because that’s a tall order, we will first focus on measurably reducing recidivism in our state.
Second, Changing the Narrative -on issues around housing, employing and advancing the true story of the formerly incarcerated -- that true story is that the vast majority of us are not violent or dangerous or ticking time bombs. We are parents, high-performing employees and active volunteers who are law-abiding, contributing members of society.
Third, Giving Voice -by building leadership and communication skills among the formerly incarcerated so our lived wisdom is given an equal and key voice at the table. We meet people where they are at, and provide them with the supports necessary to accomplish the work.
What's Next Washington will be using a process called Collective Impact to develop sustainable solutions to the systemic problem of systems of incarceration. Using this process means that we are playing the long game. When problems are systemic, as systems of incarceration are, there is no quick fix. We must bring all stakeholders together to the table. This requires stakeholder mapping, building relationships, and trust before we can construct workable outcomes. People need to come to the table and begin to work on setting goals to end mass incarceration. This will take time, as all necessary and worthwhile goals do. All to say, we are at the beginning of a long journey.
What do we need and why?
We need more staff! We have already hired an Executive Director. To continue to build on the work she and the board have started we are hiring a minimum of four more formerly incarcerated/directly impacted internal staff at living wages over the next 12 months. We must hire specialized communication, PR and process consultants who are experts in collective impact on an as-needed basis. This work is well underway.
We know we can only grow as fast as we can secure funding. Realistically, we want to raise a hundred thousand dollars over the next several months. We think that’s do-able.
Where will the money come from?
We are submitting applications to foundations (in fact, we’re just getting ready to submit our third one by November 9th) but securing funding that way can take many, many months, even up to a full year until a grant is funded.
We need to secure funding from private donors and contributors until we have grant money in hand. We’re hoping you will help us bridge the gap so we can start scaling now. We have raised our seed money and now we need our first round of funds to continue.
We hope that you will participate in this way by helping us reach our goals and supporting us with your donations to continue to do this work. I am happy to send you what we have accomplished so far (a lot!) what we are working on now, and our projected plans for the next year.
- Robert Masonis
- Edward Thomas
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