Every day, an average of 55 formerly incarcerated women are served by A New Way of Life Reentry Project’s (ANWOL) 11 safe homes in California. Recognizing that the justice system disproportionately affects low-income, Black, and Latina women–many of whom have children–ANWOL supports justice-impacted women as they seek to develop their careers through ANWOL’s Workforce Development and Education Department.

ANWOL has identified an opportunity to serve not only all formerly incarcerated throughout the state of California, but also across the nation, by offering their curriculum online via a Michelson Spark Grant. Using the National Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom and Equality’s (SAFE) Housing Network, which consists of 24 organizations in 15 states and three countries, ANWOL will test and scale the digital curriculum to ensure it continually meets the needs of its students.

To begin the project, ANWOL is selecting 15 women who are current residents of ANWOL and in need of training prior to beginning their careers. Understanding the barriers that justice-impacted individuals face, particularly concerning technology, ANWOL will work with the pilot cohort to guarantee that the digital modality is not a barrier in and of itself. Additionally, participants will be given gift cards to purchase workplace clothing and transportation upon completion of the modules. 

Scaling the already successful in-person program provides a tremendous opportunity for countless successful reentries. In 2021, ANWOL’s course was used by 162 women, 89 of whom were ANWOL residents and 98 of whom sought employment. Among those who sought employment, 93 women, or 95% of seekers, obtained jobs. By September of the following year, 164 women participated in ANWOL’s programming, more than 30 of whom secured jobs while over 20 elected to enroll in higher educational programs.

Research shows that earning a living wage significantly reduces recidivism and transforms the lives of both justice-impacted individuals and their families. For this reason, the Michelson 20MM Foundation is thrilled to welcome ANWOL as a 2023 Spark Grantee! 

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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