John Legend has launched a new initiative aimed at providing prison inmates with business opportunities.
John Legend announced plans for his Unlocked Futures investment fund at Town & Country magazine’s annual philanthropy summit in New York City on Tuesday (09May17).
John explained how he had partnered with social innovation charity New Fund and Bank of America to start the fund for ex-prisoners.
“We are doing this project, which is a social venture fund, with New Profit and Bank of America, and its purpose is investing in business and nonprofit ideas for people who have been incarcerated,” he told U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who interviewed him for the publication.
The 38-year-old told the politician that he felt those with criminal records struggled to find employment and that he wanted to provide funding for them to start businesses and community projects.
“We know that if they’re not working in the legitimate economy, then a lot of times they are going to be working in the illegitimate economy, and they’ll end up back in prison,” he explained. “So, one of the things we have been focused on is developing ways to encourage entrepreneurship in those communities, so that these people have an opportunity to start their own businesses, start their own nonprofits, and start contributing to the community instead of being dependent on another employer to hire them.”
The musician’s new venture is not the first time he’s helped America’s prison population; in 2015 he launched #FREEAMERICA, a campaign proposing reform of the U.S. criminal justice system.