The Fortune Society – Building People, Not Prisons
“Nothing in my life compares to giving back to people facing unbelievable obstacles”
– Betty Rauch
We first learned about the Fortune Society through our friend and fellow Tomato, Betty Rauch, who has been involved with the Fortune Society as a volunteer and board member for over 40 years! Betty says, “There has been nothing in my life that compares to giving back to people facing unbelievable obstacles, and knowing that what I do makes a difference.” To say she is passionate about the work of this organization and her role as a volunteer is an understatement.
Building People, Not Prisons
Returning to society after incarceration is daunting. Whether it’s finding affordable housing, finding a job, accessing education, finding substance abuse treatment, healthcare, or trying to get their children and families back, the challenges can be overwhelming and the harmful stigmas prevent many individuals from successfully reentering society.
The Fortune Society was founded 50 years ago in New York City, to help rebuild the lives of people who have been incarcerated and give them dignity, respect, and hope. Over the years, Fortune has evolved into a holistic “one-stop” model that provides alternatives to incarceration, counseling, employment services, education, housing services, HIV/AIDS-case management, substance abuse and mental health treatment, family services, food and nutrition, discharge planning, benefits application assistance, and lifetime aftercare, among other services.
The Impact Is Enormous.
In the last year alone the Fortune Society provided life changing services to 6,891 individuals:
- Their alternative to incarceration program saved tax payers $11.5 million dollars
- They provided 26,000 hours of education instruction
- They placed 677 people in new jobs
- They provided housing to 387 people
We recently had a chance to interview Betty Rauch, volunteer, board member and former Chair of Fortune Society; Kandra Clark, now a grant writer at the Fortune Society who was hired shortly after incarceration; and Alexis Munos, a mother of three, who was spared prison by Fortune Society’s Alternative to Incarceration program.
Watch this powerful interview with these three very special women.
How You Can Help
You can help change lives too, here are a few ways.
Your contributions allow the Fortune Society to continue to grow vital services and programs and to enhance Fortune’s ability to advocate for systemic change that promotes the fair and just treatment of people with justice involvement. Donate here.
Donate your Time
In you are in the NYC area, there are many ways you can volunteer. The mock job interview program that Betty Rauch started is always looking for volunteers. They also need tutors, especially in English and Math.
You can donate clothes for people for job interviews; donate books; donate furniture and household items for people starting their new homes.
The Fortune Society’s 50th Anniversary Gala
The Fortune Society’s 50th Anniversary Gala will be held Monday, October 30, 2017 at ThreeSixty° at 10 Desbrosses Street in Tribeca, NYC.
Honoring David Rothenberg, Founder of The Fortune Society with a Lifetime Achievement Award; Mark Lebow, Managing Partner, Lebow & Sokolow LLP and Secretary of The Fortune Society Board of Directors with a Game Changer Award; and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Suzanne Young Murray Professor with a David Rothenberg Achievement Award.