Funding to Help Equip Prison Fellowship's Returning Citizens and Current Justice Ambassadors in Becoming Effective Advocates
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, has just been awarded an inaugural grant from The Just Trust to launch a specialized track that will equip Prison Fellowship’s formerly incarcerated Justice Ambassadors to become effective advocates for justice that restores, while simultaneously growing in their own professional and personal development.
"I started in my advocacy journey as a Prison Fellowship Justice Ambassador volunteer learning to leverage my voice and lived experience," said Sammy Perez, Director, Grassroots. "Now, leading the program as Grassroots Director, I couldn't be more thrilled to have The Just Trust's generous support to launch a specialized track that will equip our formerly incarcerated Justice Ambassadors to take their skills and influence to the next level."
On March 1, 2022, The Just Trust announced funding commitments to 25 organizations, including Prison Fellowship, totaling over $36 million. The funding will advance six core priorities including advocacy infrastructure, campaign moments, media and narrative projects, justice alternatives, partnerships and coordination, and rapid response and is based on grantmaking strategies developed alongside key leaders from across the criminal justice reform, business, and philanthropic fields.
"The Just Trust is here to help shepherd a more equitable, humane, and dignified engine of public safety in this country," said Ana Zamora, Founder and CEO of The Just Trust. "We are pleased to support Prison Fellowship’s approach to criminal justice reform, one that is critical to transforming the criminal justice system in every state across the county."
"Amidst the intense political division of our nation, ensuring that a variety of formerly incarcerated voices, including those motivated by their faith values, are equipped with communication, advocacy, and leadership skills, is vital to changing hearts and minds in local communities and gaining momentum to achieve the bipartisan consensus needed for holistic justice reforms," said Heather Rice-Minus, Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Church Mobilization.
ABOUT THE JUSTICE AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
As the trusted Christian voice on both prison ministry and criminal justice, Prison Fellowship mobilizes the faith community to further federal and state reforms that advance proportional punishment, constructive prison culture, and second chances.
Justice Ambassadors are select advocates who are equipped by Prison Fellowship to develop relationships and request meetings to discuss legislation with lawmakers, write letters to the editor in their local papers, utilize social media campaigns and online petitions, facilitate discussion using Prison Fellowship's Outrageous Justice curriculum, host awareness-building events in their communities, and more.
Our formerly incarcerated Justice Ambassadors are among our most passionate volunteers. When they are equipped to share their personal experience of incarceration and stories of redemption, they become effective catalysts for changing the hearts and minds of lawmakers and their communities. However, this population faces stigma, skill gaps, and barriers that weigh heavily on them. By providing a specialized training track for formerly incarcerated Justice Ambassadors that focuses on developing communication and soft skills in the context of community with others who have shared values and experiences, we can make meaningful gains in building these Ambassadors’ confidence and ability to influence others.
The first cohort of this specialized track will run from March 3 to July 28, 2022. Based on program evaluation data, Prison Fellowship will optimize the curriculum and experience for two sequential cohorts to begin in 2023.
Individuals interested in applying to the Justice Ambassador program and/or the specialized track for the formerly incarcerated can apply here. Funders interested in learning more about the program and the remaining financial needs to support and scale it can contact Heather Rice-Minus at email@example.com.
ABOUT THE JUST TRUST
The Just Trust, a grantmaking initiative, and The Justice Trust for Action are 100% dedicated to power criminal justice reform, state-by-state and across the nation. We're a team of funders, directly impacted people, and allies, and we invest in visionary leaders, organizations, and campaigns—from underdogs to heavyweights, organizers to policy wonks, rural folks to city dwellers—all fighting for the safety and well-being of their communities. Visit www.TheJustTrust.org for more information.
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 (301) 275-4117 or email him at Jim_forbes@pfm.org.