Words by Tess Becker
People end up in prison for a whole host of reasons and that alone can be incredibly hard. Those difficulties only grow as they leave prison, as formerly incarcerated people struggle to find consistent work, housing, and stability.
Companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Dave’s Killer Bread have worked to undo some of the struggles that formerly incarcerated people face but there is still a massive problem, one that All Square is trying to solve in Minnesota.
All Square is a social enterprise that uses its restaurant (and a food truck) to help provide people coming out of the justice system to find opportunities where they regularly have none. It was started in 2018 by a civil rights lawyer named Emily Hunt Turner.
The way that it works is that they provide rotating fellowships to formerly incarcerated people and with those fellowships comes not only a living wage, but also wraparound services like therapy sessions, professional development support, and access to funding opportunities.
To date, All Square has provided 48 fellowships, $2.8 million in wages ($1.6 million of which has gone directly to formerly incarcerated Minnesotans), 400 therapy sessions, and more than $60,000 in micro-grants for seed capital and debt relief.
“We believe that all individuals deserve to be judged on their merit and not their mistakes,” they write on their website. “Additionally, we believe that meaningful reparations for communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system are of the utmost importance.”
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
Path Home. This organization helps families facing homelessness in Portland, Oregon. Find out more and support them here.
Hope South Florida. They help people affected by homelessness across the tri-county South Florida. Find out more.
National Coalition for the Homeless. They aid homeless people around the country through their many branches. Support them here.