The Dallas Foundation Awards $50,000 to Help Convicted Felons Get Second Chance

March 23, 2017

The Dallas Foundation is proud to recognize 2ndSaturday as the recipient of its annual Pegasus Prize. The award was announced at the foundation’s spring grantee recognition event March 22 at the Pecan Room in the Nurses Quarters at Old Parkland.

The Pegasus Prize shines a light on the innovative work of nonprofits that are addressing some of Dallas’ most pressing needs. This year’s selection committee presented the $50,000 award to 2ndSaturday for its 2S Industries program, dedicated to decreasing the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated criminals and engaging them in the redevelopment of Dallas’ lowest-income neighborhoods.

“We are incredibly honored by the generosity and support of The Dallas Foundation,” said Todd Fields, president of 2ndSaturday. “This gift will allow us to not only expand our program, including the purchase of tools and a vehicle for transportation to job sites, but also provide our clients with the love, hope and purpose they need to break through the barriers they face when trying to reintegrate into the workforce and become major contributors to their community.”

Launched in 2010, 2S Industries equips former felons, gang members and drug dealers with employment opportunities in the construction and landscape industries. It has partnered with local businesses and churches to mow over 1 million acres of grass; sow over 8,000 plants; and remove, prune or plant over 10,000 feet of trees. Its construction line buys and renovates homes while providing men who were previously considered unemployable with the opportunity to work alongside skilled contractors and gain exposure to various trades.

Studies have shown that the unemployment rate among ex-offenders is exceedingly high due to a lack of formal education, skills and work history. Also, those with felony convictions often experience difficulty finding housing and other transition services. For those who do manage to find employment, their earning potential is typically 40 percent less than when they entered prison.

“Without a viable source of income, many of these men are faced with returning to their old life and criminal habits, which is an easier and more profitable way to support themselves and their families,” said Fields.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, three in four ex-convicts return to prison within five years. By equipping its clients with the skills and resources needed to pursue well-paying jobs, 2S Industries aims to break this cycle.

“2S Industries’ work to transform the lives of its clients and revitalize our city is truly remarkable,” said Mary Jalonick, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation. “We’re extremely grateful for the impact they are having on our community.”

For more information about 2S Industries, visit http://www.2ndsaturday.org/2s-industries.