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STRIVE receives $1.8M from Gotham Gives, one of STRIVE’s largest private grants to date, for reentry employment program

The new Fresh Start program will connect justice-impacted individuals to new economic opportunities.

STRIVE has proven that they understand the complex obstacles faced by people re-entering society from the prison system and we believe this program will address all those challenges.”
— Joanne Wilson, Co-Founder/President, Board of Directors of Gotham Gives.

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, September 23, 2021 / -- STRIVE, a national leader in creating pathways to economic opportunity for predominantly low-income Black and Brown communities, will launch its Fresh Start program thanks to a $1.8 million grant from anchor funder Gotham Gives. With Gotham Gives’ support, STRIVE's Fresh Start will deliver services to 300 low-income adults over three years, including job training and paid work experience.

Every year, over 600,000 people make the difficult transition from prison back to their communities. The transition comes with many challenges, and employment barriers are one of the most problematic. STRIVE’s Fresh Start will ensure that returning citizens experience a smooth transition by providing employment opportunities in industries where they can advance.

"This is what equity through economic opportunity looks like in practice. What Gotham Gives and STRIVE aspire to do together is help those returning citizens looking for a second chance to unlock their potential," said Roy Castro, STRIVE graduate and Board Co-Chairman.

By partnering with Gotham Gives, STRIVE graduates will be fully supported in their drive toward building successful careers. This grant will allow STRIVE to bring innovative & proven programming to more New Yorkers, focused on emerging industries with growth potential, including the burgeoning cannabis industry and other promising fields. Since its establishment, Gotham Gives has been improving systemic equity by creating social, educational, and cultural opportunities for all New Yorkers.

"Gotham Gives is committed to giving people second opportunities. We are inspired by Roy Castro's success and his vision and are thrilled to be partnering with STRIVE. STRIVE has proven that they understand the complex obstacles faced by people re-entering society from the prison system and we believe this program will address all those challenges. Gotham Gives hopes that our example of support will persuade other private funders to make this kind of investment that advances social justice and significantly benefits the New York community," said Joanne Wilson, Co-Founder / President, Board of Directors of Gotham Gives.

STRIVE’s programs foster economic development in cities across the U.S., working to advance equity through economic opportunity. When the Fresh Start program starts in October 2021, students will receive job training, coaching, internships, job placement assistance, and long-term support, along with digital literacy courses and tools to build financial resilience. STRIVE offers lifetime support and stays connected to graduates beyond their first job, ensuring that they can advance in their careers and access upward mobility.

"Our program is designed to address the whole person. Our focus is on everything from mental health and food stability to the professional and industry skills required for their new career. This grant is so important because it is funding items others typically shy away from, like paid work experience," said Lakythia Ferby, Executive Director at STRIVE New York.

STRIVE has a long history of serving the reentry population. As of 2021, STRIVE has successfully administered eight federal grants serving 3,000 justice-impacted adults and youth across 10 U.S. cities, including New York. Fresh Start will build on STRIVE’s decades of experience working with justice-impacted populations and the successful performance of previous reentry programs. STRIVE’s latest reentry program was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and enrolled 200 individuals who met or exceeded job performance outcomes with a recidivism rate of only 1%.

Cynthia Trevor
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STRIVE Reentry Program