On December 8, 2016 the Dave's Killer Bread Foundation's Second Chance Summit will be coming to San Francisco! We are so excited to introduce our signature outreach and education event to new partners in the Bay Area, and are doubly honored to be partnering as event co-hosts with #Cut50, a bipartisan, national initiative to safely and smartly reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails by 50 percent over the next ten years.
Bringing the Second Chance Summit to San Francisco gives us a chance to introduce employers and businesses from across northern California to each other, and to the incredible opportunities available when they decide to hire Second Chance candidates. We are thrilled that in addition to the rich technology and communications landscape of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area also boasts an incredibly diverse array of manufacturing, green building, retail, shipping, and agricultural enterprises as well. We see connections and partnerships just waiting to be made between strong nonprofit and private sector partners there, and we hope this Summit will be a great catalyst for the expansion of Second Chance employment in the region.
Please make plans to join us on December 8th! Registration details HERE
We at the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation are incredibly excited to share with you the first in our series of posts
highlighting the Second Chance Employment Online Playbook. This has been a project several months in the making, and we could not be more proud to debut it on our website in the coming weeks. We will also be launching a four-part LinkedIn series beginning on April 7th which will highlight specific topics.
When we first set out to share the vast expertise of our Second Chance Employment partners with the rest of the country, we thought a “How-To” manual or guidebook would be the most efficient option. However, we quickly realized that such a tool wouldn’t necessarily meet the needs of HR professionals, executives, and advocates who are short on time. So we decided to develop robust digital content that could be presented in 3-7 minute videos, covering a variety of the topics we came to see as the most essential to Second Chance Employment as a concept. These topics include: risk mitigation and insurance, legal compliance and the use of criminal background checks, financial incentives for hiring Second Chance candidates, organizational culture and values, the hiring and staffing process, successful onboarding and orientation, and more.
We hope you will find the Online Playbook’s video “modules” to be concise, insightful, and engaging. They represent the distillation of what we believe to be the best information available to employers who are curious about Second Chance Employment, and especially those who are unfamiliar or even skeptical.
Second Chance Playbook
Click on the Register link to enter your own login name and password, and enjoy the videos for free in any order at any time. Take a look, and let us know what you think!
Here at the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation, we just can’t get enough of the incredible stories and images that come out of Humans of New York, a blog curated by New Yorker Brandon Stanton. Over the next few days, Brandon’s blog will be featuring a variety of stories of men and women incarcerated in federal prisons in the United States.
Here’s a sample from a young man and his mentor that Brandon interviewed at the Federal Correctional Complex at Allenwood, Pennsylvania:
He’s a beautiful person. He always tells me: ‘We’ve got to find a way to win by losing.’ In the eyes of society, we’ve lost already. Everyone in here is a loser. We can either be angry about it, or we can keep trying to grow. He’s always correcting my Spanish and giving me quizzes. He used to be an engineer, so he’s been tutoring me in trigonometry. He’s been a blessing to me. He’s helped me to not be so angry. He’s always so happy and optimistic. And I don’t know how he stays so positive. Because I’m getting out of here in 40 months. He’s doing life.”
This particular post, in our opinion, gets to the heart of why Humans of New York is such a powerful medium for story-telling, and why hearing intimate personal accounts are so important when we consider the lives of Americans touched by the criminal justice system. It also serves as a reminder that resilience and hope can be found in the most unlikely of places, even for those serving a life sentence in federal prison. Perhaps it does really matter what specific offenses landed these two men in prison. Perhaps if you knew what their crimes were, you’d think differently about the obvious bond of friendship, respect, and compassion between them. But stories like this (and we are confident there are thousands and thousands of them) give us pause, and encourage us to learn more.
Last night, in his final State of the Union address, President Obama spoke directly to the value and promise behind Second Chance employment in America. In a speech that was equal parts reflective and aspirational, the President said that he was hopeful for the nation’s future as he completes his final term, thanks to the many voices of those “busy doing the work this country needs doing.”
We at the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation were particularly excited to hear the President use the words “second chance” in his speech. Because although it is simple language that can be applied to a variety of scenarios, we know that this language matters. We know that a second chance is precisely what is needed for any person who has, as the President stated, “served his [their] time and dreams of starting over.” It was extra gratifying to notice that Obama addressed both the opportunity for the individual and for the business owner willing to give him [them] a second chance. With all of the well-deserved attention focused on the need for improved housing, addiction, and other reentry support services for those individuals rejoining society after prison, we must not lose sight of the equally important role of the employer who will help build their paths to stability and success through earned employment.
In reviewing all of the post-address commentary from the media this morning, we were reminded of the enormous uphill battle that most of the current federal criminal justice reform legislation faces in both the House and Senate. Although the bipartisan voices of our reform champions like Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Representative Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are gathering momentum, there are still great obstacles ahead of their bills as this Congress winds down (there are fewer than 100 days left in the session). We have confidence that the Smarter Sentencing Act, the Fair Chance Act, and related legislation will find its way in some form or another in the coming years, but we recognize that the fight will be long and challenging.
For that reason, we applaud President Obama for bringing attention to the simple power and promise of second chances in America. We have seen this President’s compassion and his informed advocacy on the issue of criminal justice reform visibly growing in the past year, and we hope that his successor will continue to raise the voices in their administration as well.
See the full text of Obama’s SOTU here.
Great news on Friday from Congress and the White House on the passage of $622 billion in a series of tax breaks, which will include retroactive renewal of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) until December 31st of 2019.
President Obama’s signing into law of the comprehensive tax and spending package will also mean the introduction of a new target group of individuals eligible for the credit – the long term unemployed. Next up, the Dept of Labor will issue a formal processing statement to the state WOTC processors about when they can begin issuing decisions for applications with start dates beginning 1/1/2015. It is likely that there will be a transition relief period offered again this year, for 2015 hires. This means that companies that have not yet submitted 2015 WOTC applications can now submit them retroactively for all of their 2015 hires. This transition period usually lasts for 60-90 Days. Read more about the tax and spending package here.
The WOTC is an excellent financial incentive for employers across the nation who hire individuals facing barriers to employment. The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation is particularly encouraged by the potential for businesses to receive the tax credit when they hire individuals with felony convictions, who frequently face a host of challenges as they work to secure employment following their incarceration. For more information about how your company can benefit from the WOTC, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello and welcome to the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation Blog!
When I came on board as CEO of Dave’s Killer Bread in 2013, I was excited by what I saw as a tremendous growth opportunity, a brand with the potential to go national and attract an enormous consumer following. With an exceptional team of passionate people and a product that is absolutely best in class, we achieved our goal and continue pushing the boundaries on what we can do. It’s just the beginning of what I know we can accomplish.
At the very start I had the opportunity to meet and hear the stories of the 200+ employee-partners that play a myriad of roles in the baking, selling and distribution of Dave’s Killer Bread. The things I heard and witnessed in those first few weeks helped me realize that I was not just a CEO of a wonderful organization but a leader at the helm of an amazing vehicle for positive social change. Their stories of tragedy, redemption and transformation blew me away and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. Many of our employee-partners have weathered staggering adversity and injustice, and many have paid a significant price for their past choices by spending years in prison.
In many respects the Second Chance philosophy I inherited was a diamond in the rough. The social value it represents is Herculean in nature. And there is no question that by providing individuals with criminal backgrounds a living wage job, there is a positive impact on the individual, their families and our community. I have witnessed first-hand employee-partners who have decided to turn their lives around by digging deep within themselves, exposing their vulnerabilities by asking for help, and willingly being held accountable as workers and as citizens. Conversely, I watched good people who were clearly on the right path - individuals who were on the verge of breaking through - fall backwards. Witnessing these “falls from grace” was truly troubling for me and for our leadership team. We reflected long and hard on the why and came to realize that simply offering a living wage was not enough. We realized that to create true positive lasting change we needed to provide our employee-partners the proper support to succeed.
So over the past 18 months we have worked hard to develop programs that provide tools for success. We have learned a great deal and we strive to continue to learn. It is a journey; one full of insight, inspiration and an incredible sense of fulfillment. With the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation we are taking our commitment a bold step forward, sharing our commitment to Second Chance employment with a national audience to inspire other businesses to join along.
The desire to reduce recidivism and rebuild the lives of those who were formerly incarcerated is growing into a national conversation and we are honored to be one of its champions and leaders. The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation gives us an opportunity to set a high standard for Second Chance hiring practices, so that employers can see how this work can be done effectively and seamlessly in their organizations. Our Second Chance playbook, workshops, employers’ network, and annual summit will provide the resources and information employers of all kinds need to integrate Second Chance values with expert guidance and proven models of success.
Dave’s Killer Bread is strengthening our communities by offering the formerly incarcerated an opportunity: an opportunity to grow and evolve as productive human beings; an opportunity to become part of a community both inside and outside our company. Every day we have the good fortune to witness the impact of our decision to hire candidates with criminal backgrounds, and I can tell you it is no less inspiring for me now than it was on my very first day. Honest work, living wages, and a supportive workplace can mean everything to a person who wants to turn their life around. It is a rewarding experience regardless of what role you play in the story. be it as a leader providing support or an individual seeking to create positive lasting change. Dave’s Killer Bread believes in giving Second Chances, because we know if done right it not only works but it creates phenomenal results. It is a story that is so inspiring that we aim to tell it to as many people as we can across this amazing country.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the greatness that exists inside everyone.