Who wants to pay less taxes for Welfare, Medicaid, and housing the incarcerated? Who wants less crime and fear of crime? Who wants to pay less in insurance premiums, because claims are down? I bet everyone said “yes” to those three questions. Wait, there’s more! I’ve only listed the savings.
Who wants to add taxpayers to the economic base? Who wants to see dignity restored? Who wants to see families reunited and thriving? These results are the opportunities for growth. If any of this sounds attractive, I’d ask you to consider an investment in a business called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), which might return the highest ROI in your outreach portfolio. As a savvy investor, I’ve been pleased with its performance over the last 4 years. Recidivism rates for the general prison population exceed 50% after three years post-release, yet PEP graduates boast less than 7%.
My portfolio strategy is to build equity in our society by investing my money and time in PEP men who are committed to turn their lives around and give back to their families and communities. PEP is the catalyst and the full-time partner to these men who work through the intensive, character development leadership academy, followed by business skill development and business plan competition for the coveted prize of bragging rights. The program culminates with graduates walking across the stage in cap and gown to accept a diploma certificate from Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
Although PEP business volunteers enter prison to teach and encourage these men, I walk away from each event inspired by their hard work, dedication, and personal growth month after month. Surprisingly, it’s not all about business. Many of these men ask me about my mission ministry and explain how they plan to bless others with the profits from their businesses. Statistics show over 78 new businesses have been formed by PEP graduates upon their release, with more than six reporting $1,000,000 in annual revenue. For five consecutive years, PEP has reported 100% employment for program participants within 90 days of release.
PEP has so many ways for the business leader to invest their time and resources: work side-by-side these men in prison while they refine their plans, be a business advisor, host a transition house dinner, teach at e-School, and hire the services of a PEP graduate/business owner.
If you are interested in learning more, I would love to spend the day with you in prison and can get you a “Get into Jail FREE” card. I have connections! I guarantee you will have an unforgettable experience, will make friends with other business executives, and be richly rewarded with a personal handwritten thank you card from the men you coach. These men need mentors and role models of servant leaders. Will you be that leader? If PEP does not speak to your heart or talents, I encourage you to seek out and invest your treasure in whatever change you want to see happen—be that servant leader.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.