April 20, 2016 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced it has secured $200,000 in technical assistance from the National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD), grantee of the Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund, to conduct a Pay For Success (PFS) feasibility study for a program that would successfully transition reentry youth age 14-29 by providing access to housing, education and employment in San Diego County.
“We believe that improving the lives of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations will help to ensure everyone has access to opportunities and enable their contribution to the prosperity of our region,” stated Kathlyn Mead, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “Impact investing is an innovative philanthropic approach that generates a financial return in addition to a measurable social benefit. The financial return results in a recycling of philanthropic funding. Leveraging charitable assets in vehicles such as low-interest loans and pay for success contracts holds much promise for the future of philanthropy.”
San Diegans are concerned about the societal impact of incarcerating our youth as well as the economic impact. The U.S. prison population has risen by more than 400 percent since 1970 and today leads the world as the largest prison population. High re-incarceration rates do not just impact ex-offenders fighting to break the cycle of the system. Recidivism has real consequences for San Diego’s economy, draining taxpayer resources and impacting local communities.
“The San Diego Foundation is sharply focused on identifying the root causes of children living in the system and identifying solutions to reduce recidivism throughout the San Diego region,” Mead explained.
According to the 2014 CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Outcomes Evaluation Report, 62% of parolees recidivate within three years in San Diego County.
“One of the many ill effects of our country’s mass incarceration problem is the incredible challenges that formerly incarcerated people face when they reenter their communities to rebuild their lives,” declared NCCD Chief Executive Officer Kathy Park. “NCCD received competitive proposals from programs across the country, and through careful review and discussion, selected The San Diego Foundation project. We look forward to working with The San Diego Foundation to advance Pay for Success capacity in the San Diego community.”
The 18-month assessment will examine PFS feasibility of a program designed to address top barriers to successful transition for reentry youth. The program models Los Angeles-based Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s “Housing, Education and Employment Initiative,” engages reentry youth prior to release, and establishes transition to housing which serves as a delivery platform for intensive case management and wrap-around support services. Participants pledge their commitment to live crime free, drug free, and gang free, to be in school, employed or actively searching, and to give back to the community.
Commitment from a wide cross-sector collaboration of government, academia, nonprofit and philanthropy partners reflected positively on the NCCD application, and includes: The San Diego Foundation, County of San Diego Probation Department, San Diego Community College District and San Diego City College, San Diego Housing Commission, County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, County of San Diego Public Safety Group, and Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Other nonprofit organizations that advocate for reentry youth will also participate.
Mead noted the strength of the San Diego community’s motivation to assist youth development and grow a vibrant region. “We look forward to building on the strong collaboration that is already underway in San Diego County to address the three greatest barriers to a successful transition for reentry youth: access to a safe place to live, education, and job opportunities,” she shared.
“We want to help more young adults find constructive pathways away from the criminal justice system,” said Adolfo Gonzales, Chief Probation Officer for the County of San Diego.
Transition to stable housing proximate to public transportation with access to a community college and employment opportunities for 18-24 months is the foundation of the program. Once housing is secure, reentry youth can focus on education, employment, life skills, support services and mentoring to develop the basic-life infrastructure needed for long-term reentry success.
Rick Gentry, President and CEO, San Diego Housing Commission, explained “This is an innovative approach that is based on a housing first model — combined with education, employment and a trained social network – to help prevent recidivism among reentry young adults.”
President of San Diego City College Anthony Beebe, offered “Students in the program will have access to teachers, graduate students and academic counselors who can tutor and advise them, and provide peer support as needed.”
The Foundation and program partners will focus the initial pilot program in areas of San Diego that represent high need and opportunity for success.
About The San Diego Foundation
The San Diego Foundation promotes and increases effective and responsible charitable giving to grow a more vibrant region. The Foundation manages more than $629 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $964 million to the nonprofit community. For more information, visit our website and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.