Fountain Fund Gives Formerly Incarcerated An Opportunity To Rebuild
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Background: The U.S. releases over 7 million people from jail and more than 600,000 people from prison each year. However, recidivism is common. Within 3 years of their release, 2 out of 3 people are rearrested and more than 50% are incarcerated again.
Source: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Prevention, 2020
In August 2021, the Thriving Communities production team met with the Executive Director of the Fountain Fund, Erika Viccellio, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The compelling story behind the mission of the Fountain Fund, whose focus is helping the formerly incarcerated thrive, is one that Thriving Communities wanted to document and share.
When incarcerated people return to society after a prison term, they typically do not have any resources to stand on their own. The Fountain Fund, founded in 2017 in Virginia, set out on a mission to give formerly incarcerated people a foundation for success upon their release.
The barriers to adjusting and assimilating back into society after a prison sentence are so high that many often return to criminal activity to make it. Through low-interest micro-loans and financial coaching, the Fountain Fund provides formerly incarcerated people with a foundation for restarting, giving them confidence and hope and reducing the likelihood of a repeat offense.
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"Since its inception in 2017, the Fountain Fund has extended more than 250 low-interest microloans, totaling more than $1 million, to 200 formerly incarcerated people in Central Virginia. Today, 85% of Fountain Fund loans are in good standing and $500,000 in loan capital has been recycled. 86% of Client Partners have established or improved their credit scores, and 88% of Client Partners reported an improved understanding of credit." - Source: The Fountain Fund Website
Production team included Jim Anderson, Ross Monagle, Jerry Millhon.