Mission: Launch Co-founders Receive Fellowship Award from Echoing Green
Laurin (Hodge) Leonard and Teresa Hodge Joins 2018 Class Of 35 Leaders Who Will Receive Grants And Strategic Support To Advance Their Groundbreaking Ideas For Tackling Pressing Challenges In Environment, Racial Justice And Other Areas
Baltimore, MD June 13, 2018 —Echoing Green today announced the recipients of its 2018 Fellowship for emerging leaders, providing seed funding, training, and programmatic support, and access to a large network of investors, supporters, and thought leaders to 35 for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs tackling the world’s most pressing issues—from systemic racism to climate change. With the help of this award, which comes with seed-funding, Laurin Leonard and Teresa Hodge will become a nonprofit and for-profit hybrid model to launch R3 Score along with their team.
Their Big Bold Idea for change is to "improve the economic health of individuals with criminal records by producing an algorithm for background screening that is fair, demonstrates the strengths and capacity of individuals living with records, and expands access to jobs, entrepreneurship, and financial products."
This year’s Echoing Green Fellows are working on everything from harnessing artificial intelligence and data to tracking police interactions with communities of color in the U.S. to reducing plastic in the environment through innovative chemical processing techniques that allow the re-use of previously-unusable plastic waste. They come from across the globe, working in eight different countries and ten different cities and states, including Brazil, India, Kenya, Oakland, Detroit, St. Louis and more. Each Fellow has an innovative and promising solution to address urgent social and environmental challenges worldwide.
Echoing Green selected the 35 talented winners from a pool of 2,847 individual applicants proposing work in 155 different countries. View the full list of 2018 Fellows here: http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/introducing2018
“We believe in supporting not just the big ideas for positive social change, but in investing in the bold and talented people behind them,” said Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey. “That’s why Echoing Green is creating an ecosystem to support our past, present, and future Fellows with the tools they need to thrive. We are excited to welcome the 2018 class into a lifelong support network that can help make their ideas reality for years into the future.”
Mission: Launch is committed to creating earned income opportunities through entrepreneurship for individuals with criminal records. In this work they have come to discover how having a record makes it nearly impossible to navigate around the background screening process when trying to pursue an occupational license, bidding on contract vehicles and even when pursuing startup capital from traditional financial institutions. To address this they have established a pipeline whereby Mission: Launch will identify entrepreneurs and provide assistance in preparing them for mainstream banking products and services as well as loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs), community banks and national commercial banks. With this community touch these entrepreneurs will be ready to be introduced to vetted financial partners who will use R3 Score along with their traditional loan processing tools. R3 Score is a strengths-based, risk analysis tool designed to provide context about an individual with a record that goes beyond a standard background screening process.
This innovative strategy will work to demonstrate how a standard background check disqualifies the 1-in-3 Americans with an arrest and/or conviction record from receiving critical reentry opportunities. Currently 2.2 million individuals are incarcerated, costing taxpayers $80 billion a year, and disproportionately this includes communities of color. Up to 60% of formerly incarcerated individuals are still not employed one year after release, and partly as a result, more than four out of ten return to prison within three years.
"We have been entrepreneurial in our work since 2012 and Echoing Green is a community that we deeply respect so this is a major honor for us", says Laurin Leonard. "Indeed, we knew there was no better place for us to launch this one-of-kind online platform, R3 Score, than with Echoing Green. They have provided unwavering support to some of our country's most inspiring leaders building solutions that have changed our world. This is humbling for us and our entire team", says Teresa Hodge.
Echoing Green is a global organization that identifies social entrepreneurs with the greatest potential to make lasting change and invests deeply in their success. The organization provides seed funding of up to $90,000 and leadership support for two years to accelerate the growth of high-potential leaders and their organizations. As a Fellowship awardee, Teresa and Laurin will join a lifelong global network of philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs.
For more information, Contact LAURIN LEONARD, 202-449-4677, Laurin@Mission-Launch.org
About Mission: Launch, Inc.
Tagline: Technology for social good. Impact through coalition. Stories igniting empathy.
Vision: We envision an America that restores equity and creates sustainable opportunities for fresh starts so that citizens facing barriers due to an arrest and/or conviction record can live out their full potential by rejoining society and contributing in meaningful ways.
Mission: Accelerate self-sufficiency for Americans facing discrimination due to criminal justice system connections.
Issue Focus: Poverty alleviation, workforce/economic development for disadvantaged individuals due to criminal justice system connections
About Echoing Green: Echoing Green identifies tomorrow’s transformational leaders today. Through its Fellowships and other innovative leadership initiatives, Echoing Green spots