We’ve all made mistakes.

Help change the lives of people who never imagined they could get a second chance.

When Mike was downsized from his job in 2004, he lost his apartment and the bills were piling up. He began selling drugs. In 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.

But then a company took a chance on him.

“When I was released, I had a really hard time finding a job. I’d fill out job applications and was told they’d call me, but they never did. But one place gave me a second chance. I was treated me as a member of the family and not as an ex-offender. This made all the difference.” 

Be a Hero Today

You can help many others like Mike to have a second chance post-prison to flourish and to make our world a little bit better.

700,000 post-prison people are seeking a second chance.

But they can't do it alone.

The Problem

The average unemployment rate of formerly incarcerated people is a staggering 27%. Not because they don’t want to work.

Our own deeply rooted biases and harmful misperceptions cause us to see a person’s past prison record as a permanent condition that should hold them back and limit their options.

Far too many end up returning to prison, or become trapped in lifelong dependence on the state. They’ve gotten out of prison, but true freedom seems hopelessly beyond reach. 

For most of us, a mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow. For a former offender, a one-time mistake is likely to turn into a lifetime of punishment. That’s a mistake we need to correct. The Walls to Wages Foundation was created to do just that.

And we need your help…

The only way to succeed is by working together.

Each of us are given opportunities to be a hero to another person. You can be that person to a motivated post-prison person seeking a second chance.

The Walls to Wages Foundation believes that three pieces are necessary to complete the puzzle that is post-prison flourishing: the heroes who seek a second chance, the heroes providing opportunities, and the heroes who undergird the entire process. 

Post-prison employees who work hard

We believe in those who are rejoining society and seeking to make it better.

Employers willing to give them a chance

We believe in business owners who want to offer what they have to those rejoining society.

And people like you who come along to make it all happen

We believe in the support structure – YOU – that gives those rejoining society a second chance.

A Four-Fold Strategy

Together, we can help give motivated post-prison people a second chance by:

Skills Certification

Skills certification related to the coffee industry will be accomplished through the Specialty Coffee Association.

Paid Apprenticeship

Apprentices will be paid by WTW while they are being trained and certified. They will be afforded in-person and classroom training in three areas of the coffee industry: 1. working as a barista, 2. working in an artisan coffee roasting company on general operations, and 3. working as a coffee equipment field or bench technician.

Business Certification

Business certifications will be offered in related fields of sales, business management, café management, etc.

Post-Graduation Employment

Post-graduation employment will focus on ensuring success for the graduates financially, emotionally, and socially.

What a Second Chance Looks Like

More than 700,000 people walk out of incarceration every year. Each needs a hero like you to help change their future. Here are just a few of the individuals who have been given a second chance.

Amy V.

“I had to realize that I had hit bottom, so that I could get up, start over, and decide that I was going to do things the right way.

When I got out of prison, I had no job, no prospects for a job, but a lot of bills. I had to find work, but no one wanted to hire me because I had a record. I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own. That’s when I found a company that was just starting out—and they hired me! Today, my work is more than a paycheck. It has given me a purpose. 

I love that I’m now in a position to offer hope to others.”

After I was released from custody, I found it difficult to find a job. I had a good resume and had been instrumental in building successful entrepreneurial companies, but when the background check came up during the interview process, either the company would end things, or they wouldn’t call me back.

One person offered me a job and I’ve been learning the business from the ground up—starting in the roasting room where we extract the best possible flavor from the coffee beans. 

I am learning that no one should be judged on his or her mistakes, but on their actions going forward. Our mistakes don’t define us. My mistakes don’t define me. It’s taking me time, but I’m getting there.”

Jim S.

During my 8-1/2 year incarceration, I worked hard to complete my education and when I was released, I had two associate degrees, a computer tech certificate and I was just one semester away from receiving my bachelor’s degree. One company offered me a job as a coffee roaster, working part-time so I could finish my education. They took me in and treated me like family. They worked with me, didn’t look down on me, and I never felt slighted in any way.

The job gave me an income, but more importantly, it gave me opportunity. For myself, and to open doors for others. There are so many stories about people with a felony background who can’t get a job.”

You can help change the lives of people who never imagined they would get a second chance. Led by a Board with decades of experience in the non-profit sector and working in both the coffee industry and directly with previously incarcerated people, our partnership with you will decrease recidivism, empower people, and make the world better through hard work…and a whole lot of coffee.