Musician John Legend Is Backing Startups Run By Former Inmates

Musician John Legend Is Backing Startups Run By Former Inmates

Grammy award-winning artist John Legend and venture philanthropy fund New Profit have teamed up to support eight formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs from across the country.

From Washington Business Journals. Story by Sara Gilgore.

In addition to his music and film careers, Legend runs FreeAmerica, a communications campaign focused on criminal justice reform. The New Profit fund, which supports social entrepreneurs with access to capital and leadership, has launched the Unlocked Futures accelerator, a program to help citizens returning from prison to build their organizations. Bank of America is also a partner with its charitable foundation providing a $500,000 leadership grant.

The team hopes the effort will help eliminate the stigma and barriers to re-entry the incarcerated face when they return home.

“Entrepreneurship creates opportunities for people with a criminal record to live with dignity, realize their potential and return to their communities and families as positive leaders,” Legend said in a statement to the Washington Business Journal. “Self-employment is a pathway for individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system to earn a family-sustaining income, build a career, and give back to their communities.”

Each entrepreneur receives a grant of $50,000.

Read more at Washington Business Journals.

John Legend
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)