/// Economic Empowerment

The Fountain Fund Low-Interest Loan

We're excited to be partnering with The Fountain Fund to provide low-interest loans and financial literacy education to our clients. Now, formerly incarcerated people who have been experiencing financial barriers to starting a business, paying off debts, or enrolling in continuing education, for example, can receive some assistance through this program. Predatory loan programs or lack of financial literacy have historically left returning citizens open to exploitation, so we are looking forward to fostering financial health in our community, by us and for us. For more information on this program, please see this FAQ, or contact our Economic Empowerment Coordinator Meagan Jordan at 504-252-7885 or meagan@first72plus.org.

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  /// Former Programs

We no longer have the funding for the programs described below, but please use them for reference of how we have done economic empowerment work in the past.

Rising Foundations Small Business

Incubator

Because discrimination against people with felony convictions by employers is largely legal, in this unique workforce development program we foster self-sufficiency through self-employment and small business creation enabling our clients to bypass discrimination by employers. The small business incubator empowers formerly incarcerated people to develop small businesses to (at first) supplement their income while they continue working low-wage jobs, with an overall goal for these businesses to grow to provide full time employment for themselves, and eventually other formerly incarcerated people. This small business incubator looks very different from the traditional incubator. Most of the folks who participate in our incubator have a long history of making money, except through illicit means. Nevertheless, we lean heavily on this prior experience and entrepreneurial spirit to help guide them in developing their new, legal, hustle.

The Pay it Forward Communal Loan Fund

In 2016 we launched a zero interest loan fund to help our clients access funds needed to rejoin the workforce, continue their education, get a drivers license, and start small businesses. We are a member of the Credit Builders Alliance so that during the repayment process our clients are able to build credit history. All loan recipients are also required to complete a 7 part financial life skills course coordinated by our friends at Gulf Coast Bank and Trust and Capital One.