Reducing Recidivism: From Prisoners to Business Owners
David Thigpen spent 14 years in prison—time he used to change his life. He studied entrepreneurship, human behavior, and business practices before realizing that he and his fellow inmates had many of the skills required to run legitimate businesses, they just didn’t have the tools for success. While in prison, Thigpen wrote American Gangsters Guide to Being Your Own Boss for his community. The book was so successful, that he was allowed to teach classes on it in prison.
In 2012, Thigpen took his vision one step further and founded corners2cornerstones, a business incubator space in Brooklyn, NY that supports formally incarcerated men and women who have the motivation and desire to turn their lives around by starting a business. Called the c2c Social Enterprise Incubator, the space will offer these men and women mentoring and support, office and conference room space, and access to funding opportunities. All participants will receive this support for free for up to two years, and Thigpen hopes that this support will create a “pay-it-forward” mentality among the participants who will be motivated to offer financial and mentoring support to future generations of entrepreneurs.
In order to get corners2cornerstones started with a fully functional space, resources are needed to renovate and furnish the space. The corners2cornerstones campaign tipping point is $5,000, which will allow the team to design and build a kitchen and separate workspace and also purchase paint, tables, chairs, and office equipment. The team’s ultimate goal is to raise $10,000, which will allow them to completely finish the space for immediate use.
With your help, David Thigpen and his team at corners2cornerstones will be able to work towards their goals of “dramatically reducing global prison recidivism,” by educating and empowering former inmates.
I am currently an MPA student at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on Nonprofit Administration. My experiences as a social worker and a teacher in the Philadelphia School District have not only made education reform my passion, but have also led me to create a start-up nonprofit organization, Library Build, which is dedicated to revitalizing and restocking public school libraries with books, technologies, and librarians. You can follow on my blog, The Start Up.
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