Founder of Flikshop® and his mother, the Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock, presented with 2020 Charles Colson Advocate of Hope Award in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Prison Fellowship®, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, presented the 2020 Charles Colson Advocate of Hope Award to Marcus Bullock and the Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock, co-founders of Flikshop, a photo and message service that sends postcards exclusively to incarcerated men and women in the U.S.
Earlier this month, President Joseph R. Biden proclaimed April national Second Chance Month, making it the fourth consecutive year the White House has made this declaration.
“Do all the good you can: when you can, while you can, and watch God do the rest," said the Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock, Marcus’ mother and executive director of Seek His Face Ministries.
“I cannot believe that we’re being celebrated this way,” said Marcus Bullock, founder of Flikshop. “There were so many dark days for her and I over the years, and now today I wake up every day to see my mom in the office or on Zoom as we attempt to drive impact and awareness around the need for second chances. God is great…we’re winning!”
“We constantly hear from thousands of men and women across the country about how keeping in touch with their loved ones is so essential in their personal and spiritual growth while behind bars,” said James Ackerman, President and CEO of Prison Fellowship. “With the recent pandemic, it was even more critical for these relationships to continue. Thanks to Flikshop, God was able to continue to work in strengthening families and loved ones through this unique type of communication.”
“It’s wonderful to see how God took the special relationship between Marcus and his mother to pave to way in helping thousands of other families with incarcerated loved ones, “ said Heather Rice-Minus, Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Church Mobilization for Prison Fellowship. “Marcus and the Reverend Dr. Bullock are continuing the legacy of our founder, Chuck Colson, in practicing unconditional love and support for those loved ones who are incarcerated.”
HOW FLIKSHOP WAS BORN—when Marcus Bullock was 15 years old, he was arrested and sentenced to eight years in an adult maximum-security prison. Weighed down by his incarceration, Marcus first experienced depression at age 17. To lift his spirits, his mother, the Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock, promised Marcus that she would write a letter or send a photograph to him every single day for the rest of his sentence.
For those six years, his mother’s letters were Marcus’ lifeblood. He thought that he would die in prison, but his family's letters, photos, and visits kept him alive. Upon release, Marcus channeled his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for ending recidivism to start something that would impact more lives than his family ever dreamed of helping. Nine years after Marcus’ release, Flikshop was born.
WHAT IS FLIKSHOP—Flikshop is an app that allows users to take photos from their phones, Facebook, or Instagram accounts and deliver those photos directly to a loved one’s prison cell as postcards, for as low as 79 cents. Each Flikshop message delivers hope and connection where they are desperately needed.
Today Flikshop has access to 2,700+ jails and prisons across America, and 170,000+ people have sent over half a million postcards through the platform.
Marcus also founded the Flikshop School of Business, a program that teaches returning citizens life skills and entrepreneurship via computer coding and software development. He is an inaugural cohort member of Techstars Anywhere 2018 and John Legend’s Unlocked Futures business accelerators and was named a 2020 Halcyon Incubator Fellow. Marcus’ story has received coverage from Forbes, CNN, Washington Post, Black Enterprise, and NPR. He is married with two children.
In addition to her role as relationship manager at Flikshop, the Rev. Dr. Sylvia Bullock is a motivational speaker, teacher, preacher, and founding pastor of Seek His Face Ministries in Lanham, Maryland. She currently serves as Regional Vice President of the American Baptist Churches of the South Minister’s Council.
CHARLES COLSON ADVOCATE OF HOPE AWARD
Charles Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship more than 40 years ago, was at ease with presidents, prisoners, wardens, pastors, laypeople, and legislators. The Charles Colson Advocate of Hope Award is bestowed annually on a person(s) with a record of faithful, unswerving, and winsome advocacy for restorative criminal justice reform—a person whose leadership blazes a trail toward a future of proportional punishment, constructive prison culture, second chances, and safer communities.
ABOUT PRISON FELLOWSHIP
Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading voice for criminal justice reform. With more than 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.
For interview requests, please contact Jim Forbes, Prison Fellowship's Director of Communications, at (703) 554-8540 or email him at Jim_forbes@pfm.org.