In the early days of Concordance’s inception, one of my mentors sent me a Margaret Mead quote which read, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This quote has sat alongside me ever since. I launched Concordance in response to the staggering statistic facing our judicial system – that 77% of individuals released from prison are rearrested within five years. The challenges facing justice-involved individuals can be overwhelming, so we set-out to build an evidence-informed, holistic, and integrated model to dramatically lower reincarceration.
While Concordance officially started in 2015, June 2021 marks the five-year anniversary of providing services to our participants. Over those five years, we have partnered with almost 900 participants, provided thousands of hours of mental health and substance use treatments, scheduled more than 500 medical appointments for participants, and cleared almost 600 warrants. And that is only a fraction of the services and support we have been able to provide.
None of this would be possible without your support. THANK YOU. Because of you, we have been able to lay a strong foundation for Concordance’s future. Your support, your time given, your passion, and your advocacy have all helped us make an incredible impact on our participants, their families, and their communities. Whether it was a financial investment, providing pro bono legal services, partnering with our Concordance Employment Agency, or attending an event, I have been humbled every day by the Concordance community that we have created over the years.
In addition to our community support, I would be remiss not to thank our incredible team members at Concordance. I have had the opportunity to work alongside an incredible group of people since our inception; each one bringing a unique set of talents and commitment to the process and art of healing. I am grateful that our team members have dedicated their God-given talents to Concordance. They truly are the heart of our organization.
What we do at Concordance every day prepares participants for the rest of their lives. Our participants go on to become alumni, and they too have become our ambassadors in the community. One of my proudest moments is hearing our program alumni come back to talk with current participants – to share their experiences and knowledge, encourage them to stay strong in the program, and offer their support. The impact Concordance is making is more than I could have hoped for, and I am eternally grateful and forever humbled by your support that allows us to make that impact.
As I am sure you have heard me say over the years, the best way to reduce mass incarceration is to reduce reincarceration. Concordance has been able to lower reincarceration rates among our participants by 44%, and we want to increase our impact. Since our inception, the plan has always been to take the Concordance Re-Entry Model nationwide, and I truly believe now is the time. We have the opportunity to impact millions of people and have a truly multi-generational impact on communities around the country. Our team is in the process of choosing our next locations, and the plan is to expand to 11 additional cities over the next five years. I look forward to sharing the news with all of you as decisions are finalized. In addition to expansion to other cities, we will also scale our program in St. Louis to first serve 500 participants a year and then eventually 1,000 participants a year. It truly is an exciting time to be at Concordance!
As I reflect back on the past five years and the hundreds of participants, supporters, and team members we have partnered with, I can’t help but smile and feel proud. And as I look to the next five years, I am inspired, motivated, and excited to continue this important work together. The best is yet to come. Thank you for being on this journey with us.