We've been selected for the 2021 Lauder Family Giving Circle! We are honored to receive a part of the $205,000 they donated in this past year toward various organizations dedicated to reducing recidivism. The $30,000 they granted us in general support will go a long way towards our mission of helping returning citizens with various needs, and also allow us to expand our services. Take a look at their website to see the full extent of their generosity: Lauder Family Giving Circle | Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund (lauder familyfund.org)
On the 27th of January, we were visited by the entire New Orleans cohort of the Avodah Jewish Service Corps, aka all the housemates of our current corps members James and Chloe! Our partnership with Avodah is very special and we love the opportunity to engage more with these young people who have dedicated a year of their lives to service. We had a meaningful roundtable discussion about what our work in the criminal legal system means, including story-sharing from our coaches in attendance as well as from corps members. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with such remarkable young people, and we're excited to see the work they continue to do in this city.
We're still having our Wednesday class and discussion, and it's more popular than ever! The last couple of weeks have been standing room only, with lots of our clients eager to learn the "steps to staying free" in a group setting. Our coaches have given engaging and useful lectures and we're always looking forward to what next week will bring. If you or someone you know wants a supportive space to troubleshoot the re-entry process, come out and join us!
On February 7th, we had the privilege of attending the Town Hall with U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Deputy Director Su, and Congressman Troy Carter, organized by UNITE HERE Local 23. Re-entry was a prominent topic for Secretary Walsh, who answered questions from several leaders in the re-entry community including our own Chad Sanders, pictured here. We will be watching the Biden administration in the months to come for the tangible measures to support returning citizens that were mentioned at this event.
We are very grateful to receive a portion of the $2.3 million in grants received recently by the Orleans Parish DA's office. Prioritizing reentry is crucial to both safety and justice in the city of New Orleans, and this move is a major step in the right direction. We applaud this new commitment to invest in our community and are eager to show what we can do with the proper resources. DA Jason Williams reaffirmed his commitment to our partnership at a candid conversation with pastoral leaders headed by our Co-Executive Director Pastor Tyrone Smith, and we hope this cooperation endures for a long time in faith, friendship, and justice.
We're proud to announce our partnership with the Fountain Fund, which is dedicated to increasing economic opportunity for formerly incarcerated people. Lack of financial literacy is a pertinent problem for the re-entry population, considering many returning citizens have never had a credit card or been banked before. This new partnership will provide our clients with that crucial education as well as direct financial support to ensure long-term success and wealth building in our community. Coordinating this team-up is our own Meagan Jordan, who as the Economic Empowerment Programs Coordinator will be using her skills and experience to assist our shared clients. In her words, this partnership is exciting because it "brings the formerly incarcerated community together in the goals of financial literacy and breaking the barriers that prevent returning citizens from accruing wealth."
To fund this and other projects, we rely on your support! Please click here to access our donation page and contribute to our mission of effective and informed services for formerly incarcerated people.
We hope everyone had a most joyous Mardi Gras! Now that we're well on our way through Lent, it's time for our Fish Fry Fridays! Every Friday until April 15, we will be holding our favorite fundraiser. For $10 a plate, you can get a delicious, hot piece of fish, all the fixings, and the gratitude of your local re-entry services organization. We and everyone who attended have had a lot of fun at our first few fry's, so come on out and join us! See this infographic for all the details on how to order and show your support.
Fish Fry Fridays also rely on the help of dedicated volunteers! If you would like to help us prepare and distribute our fish plates, please call 504-258-3505 to coordinate a time to volunteer.