Next, Danny Ludeman’s Concordance Academy will replicate its first-of-its-kind program in Chicago.
When thinking of incarceration in America, Danny Ludeman talks about Monica, a 20-year-old woman who was in the same prison at the same time as her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
“This is not atypical,” the former Wells Fargo CEO says.
This story captures a statistic that inspired him to create the nonprofit, Concordance Academy of Leadership, in 2013: After being released from prison, about four out of five people (77 percent) are rearrested in five years and go back to prison. “There’s really been no improvement in that number across the country in more than 30 years,” Ludeman says.
So he and a team studied the issue for two-and-a-half years. Then, they tapped experts and researchers from Washington University, University of Missouri–St. Louis, and Saint Louis University. The planning team grew to about 70 people who developed a prison rehabilitation program in partnership with the Brown School at Wash. U.
Since serving individuals incarcerated in two male prisons in Bonne Terre, one women’s prison in Vandalia, and one Illinois prison that also releases to the greater St. Louis region, the program has reduced reincarceration rates by 44 percent.
Now Ludeman has his sights on expansion. After six months of planning, Concordance recently launched its First Chance campaign, led by World Wide Technology co-founder and Concordance supporter David Steward, to raise $50 million to replicate its program in 11 U.S. cities by 2025, starting with Chicago.