FreeWorld Receives $50K Grant For Social Innovation,
Two Additional Nonprofits Receive $10K Grants to Fuel Dallas ISD’s Metaverse and Cultivate Safer Neighborhoods
DALLAS – Dec. 9, 2020 – The Dallas Foundation, the first community foundation in Texas, selected the winner of this 2021’s Pegasus Prize. The Pegasus Prize is a $50K social innovation grant and the premier award granted to nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations with a charitable purpose and hybrid organizations applying innovative approaches to addressing community needs. Since its genesis, it has been an early investor in significant, innovative organizations including Bonton Farms, After8toEducate, Yoga N Da Hood, 2S Industries and most recently, Impact Ventures. The Dallas Foundation selected FreeWorld as this year’s recipient, receiving the $50K grant to continue its work aiming to end generational poverty and recidivism by accelerating economic mobility for returning citizens.
Through the Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation discovers organizations applying innovative ways to find solutions to ongoing problems that are faster, cost-effective, data-driven and create better results for residents of Dallas County. Through grants like the Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation unites people, ideas and investments in Greater Dallas by connecting donors to the nonprofit causes they care about so individuals and families can reach their full potential.
“The Dallas Foundation is proud to announce Join FreeWorld as the Pegasus Prize winner for 2021,” said Matthew Randazzo, President & CEO of The Dallas Foundation. “The Dallas Foundation is focused on fueling change that enables individuals to reach their full potential. Join FreeWorld embodies the type of investment that makes a meaningful and lasting impact by providing a second chance to formerly incarcerated people, who are often overlooked and excluded from opportunities to forge a new path to becoming contributing members of society.”
Jason Wang, CEO of Join FreeWorld, says that individuals in the program are revived with a newfound sense of stability and purpose. Over 67% of formerly incarcerated individuals are rearrested within three years of release. Wang’s mission is to reduce that number significantly. With a community of support and a path to high-wage earning potential, FreeWorld trains program participants for a career in the trucking industry, and then helps place program members into these high wage jobs for a period of three years upon graduation the program. This time frame is critical, says Wang, because it is the most vulnerable time for a potential rearrest. Upon completion of successful employment at a minimum salary of $50,000, the organization requires participants to allocate a portion of their salary to pay it forward, helping the next cohort going through the program. To date, 1,039 people have applied to the organization’s program.
“Receiving the Pegasus Prize will not only impact our mission financially, but it’s also a symbolic seal of approval that we are addressing crucial work with our mission,” Wang says. “With over two million people behind bars in our country, the U.S. has the highest total prison population in the world. This program is literally changing lives and having a positive impact not only on the individuals, but also their families and the communities in which they live.”
The Pegasus Prize also awarded two additional grants of $10K each to two other nonprofits. These recipients were STEMuli and Better Block Foundation.
STEMuli offers a suite of software products that put creator tools in the hands of teachers and increases student engagement through an educational metaverse that mimics a medium students are more used to, similar to video games.
Better Block Foundation The Better Block Foundation works to change the world block by block by
implementing 90-120 day community engagement projects that end with transformation of a space chosen by and designed with the community. These custom-designed, beautiful elements transform spaces such as parking lots underused streetscapes and are easy to build by community members.
ABOUT THE DALLAS FOUNDATION
The Dallas Foundation, established as the first community foundation in Texas in 1929, brings together people, ideas, and investments in Greater Dallas so individuals and families can reach their full potential. In 2019, The Dallas Foundation, in partnership with the more than 400 fundholders, invested over $60 million into the community. For more information, visit www.dallasfoundation.org, Facebook or Instagram.