Reimagining Opportunity: Partnering for Economic Justice for Returning Citizens

This blog post originally appeared on the SOCAP website. For the original post, please visit this website.

The challenges of mass incarceration and poverty are all too often intertwined in the U.S. Seventy million Americans currently have an arrest or conviction record and that number is growing by the day. These “returning citizens” face a shocking number of barriers upon re-entry that often prevent them from securing jobs, housing, education, business loans, and other keys to social and economic security.

Ron Kelly and Laurin Leonard

Ron Kelly and Laurin Leonard talk financial inclusion for returning citizens in the Money + Meaning podcast.

This summer, Capital Impact Partners’ Director of Impact Strategy Ron Kelly joined Mission: Launch’s President & Executive Director Laurin Leonard to discuss the “unlikely” partnership between these two organizations to address this important issue.

In early 2018, the organizations hosted a convening on the role that financial institutions can play in improving the financial stability and prosperity of individuals living with criminal records, or returning citizens, in the Washington, D.C. area. It brought together banks, nonprofits, and government agencies to think through the barriers that returning citizens face, how those impact them financially, and what these various actors can do to create an environment in which returning citizens can thrive.

How did this partnership come about? Listen to the podcast and find out!

Episode 12: Unlikely Allies Interview: Capital Impact + Mission:Launch

In this episode of Money + Meaning, Lindsay Smalling interviews Laurin Leonard and Ron Kelly of Capital Impact about this challenge and their efforts to create opportunities for returning citizens that could create pathways to financial stability for millions of Americans.

Mission:Launch is an organization dedicated to improving the financial health and social outcomes for Americans with arrest or conviction records. Capital Impact Partners is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) that has been a leader in the impact investing space for decades. These two unlikely allies have partnered to find ways to move a third of our population out of – in the words of Mission:Launch Co-founder Laurin (Hodge) Leonard – “perpetual disenfranchisement and an invisible life sentence.” Together, they are working to raise awareness among CDFIs and traditional banks of how they can tear down barriers that are locking people with arrest and conviction records out of economic opportunities.