What We Do



Mission: Launch supports individuals living with records and amplifies the voices of families impacted by mass incarceration. 

To achieve our mission, we use a holistic and multi-thronged approach: financial literacy, inclusive entrepreneurship and community engagement.

Financial Literacy 

Having a record can be a lifetime lock into poverty, it is critically important to help individuals with records become financially healthy. In fact, "an individuals’ net worth decreases by an average of more than $47,50011 in the years after incarceration, after adjusting for inflation, and incarceration of a family member is associated with a 64.3 percent12 decrease in a family’s assets." [1] For this reason we provide financial literacy programming to individuals with records, and we are focused on establishing strong banking relationships as a building block towards economic security. 

Inclusive Entrepreneurship 

Necessity entrepreneurship is often the most viable pathway to earning a livable wage with a record. The data shows "Nearly 9 in 10 employers use background checks in hiring and an applicant with a criminal record is 50 percent to 63 percent less likely to get a callback or job offer than an identical applicant without a record—and this hiring 'penalty' is twice the size for black applicants as for whites." [2] Lack of jobs that can help one become self-sufficient makes entrepreneurship critically important. We advocate for access to capital and offer business and leadership resources that make self-employment a reality. Presently our accelerator, LaunchPad, is not accepting applicants. We are excited to be incubating R3 Score, which is a software solution for bankers and decision makers that unlocks credit as well as access to jobs. 

Community Engagement 

As more-and-more people become aware of the structural barriers to living with a record it is important for allies to work together on a shared agenda. With expanded research showing "the cost burden of incarceration totaling more than $1 trillion per year and that if not for decades of mass incarceration, the poverty rate would be 20 percent lower - 8.1 million fewer people in poverty in 2016" [3] it is becoming harder to ignore the urgent need to decarcerate and close the revolving door into the justice system. We partner with national industry leaders to host open-to-the-public and closed door convenings. This work establishes a deeper understanding to the needs (issue competency), local partnership development and strategic collaborations. 

[1]  Michelle L. Maroto, “The Absorbing Status of Incarceration and its Relationship with Wealth Accumulation,” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 31 (2015): 207-236, available HERE ; Bryan L. Sykes and Michelle L. Maroto, “A Wealth of Inequalities: Mass Incarceration, Employment, and Racial Disparities in U.S. Household Wealth, 1996 to 2011,” The Russell Sage Found

[2] Society for Human Resource Management, “Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions” (2012), available HERE; Devah Pager and Bruce Western, “Investigating Prisoner Reentry: The Impact of Conviction Status on the Employment Prospects of Young Men” (Washington: National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2009), available HERE; Amanda Agan and Sonja Starr, “Ban the Box, Criminal Records, And Statistical Discrimination: A Field Experiment” (New Haven: Yale Law School, 2016), available HERE 

[3] Michael McLaughlin and others, “The Economic Burden of Incarceration in the U.S.” Working Paper AJI072016 (Institute for Advancing Justice Research and Innovation, 2016), available HERE; DeFina, Robert H. and Hannon, Lance, “The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Poverty” (Rochester: Social Science Research Network, 2009), available HERE