CEO Says St. Louis Prison Re-entry Program Works

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Read the first of KSDK’s three-part series about Concordance here.

Retired Wells Fargo Advisors CEO Danny Ludeman breaks down how Concordance Academy of Leadership is repairing lives, reuniting families and reducing recidivism.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series about Concordance Academy of Leadership, a nonprofit post-prison rehabilitation program aimed at reducing recidivism. The next installments in the series will highlight the stories of the participants, past and present.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Danny Ludeman once had what many might consider a dream job.

As CEO of Wells Fargo, he was in charge of giving away $20 million to philanthropic organizations across the country each year — about half of it stayed in the company’s hometown, St. Louis. But for as much joy as it brought him, his Fortune 500 company and the nonprofits who depended on those gifts, the now-retired executive confessed he couldn’t shake his business sense from creeping into his mind every time he cut a check.

“My concern, which is probably the biggest issue in philanthropic dollars, is I really could not tell what impact my giving to these organizations was having,” he said.

He retired six years ago and has been working to build an organization that he can prove works ever since. It’s called Concordance Academy of Leadership. Ludeman says it is repairing lives and reuniting families by reducing recidivism. The agency set out to reduce the reincarceration rate among its participants by 33%. It’s done it by 44%, he said.

“There’s no other organization on the planet that comes close to that,” Ludeman said.

Ludeman still has friends in high places, holding the strings to multi-million-dollar philanthropic giving purses. A national campaign to raise $50 million is underway to expand the Concordance Academy model to 11 more cities across the country.

Read the first of KSDK’s three-part series about Concordance here.

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