Minneapolis-Based Foundation Steps Up to Help Break State’s Cycle of Crime

Grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to Prison Fellowship Will Expand Efforts to Help Formerly Incarcerated Stay out of Prison

Within three years of release, about two-thirds of released American prisoners are rearrested.

To help combat the problem, Minneapolis-based Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is providing a $10,000 grant to Prison Fellowship to expand the work of the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families and help break the cycle of crime in Minnesota. Prison Fellowship’s in-prison programs in Minnesota have been proven to reduce the state’s recidivism rate. Specifically, the organization’s InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) program—a privately-funded, values-based program that provides training in character and relational development to prisoners to help prepare them for positive and productive reentry in communities—has been proven to achieve a more than 60 percent reduction in re-incarceration in Minnesota for those who complete the program that begins inside and extends outside of prison.

“We are grateful to the Schulze Family Foundation for recognizing the need for the valuable work Prison Fellowship does in Minnesota,” said Don Dewey, Prison Fellowship’s Area Director. “Its financial assistance is invaluable to us in continuing our efforts to restore lives and communities affected by crime and incarceration throughout the state. By helping facilitate personal transformation for those behind bars and exposing the obstacles they encounter post-release, Minnesota’s communities can be safer and truly flourish.”

With the assistance of the grant, Prison Fellowship will further its strong presence in Minnesota. Prison Fellowship expansion statewide will include:

  • Implementation of a pilot reentry community at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – St. Cloud designed to help short-term prisoners who do not have access to longer reentry preparation classes. The program is based on concepts learned through Prison Fellowship’s IFI programs in Lino Lakes and Shakopee facilities. The goal is to equip participants to begin to replace criminogenic habits and behaviors with pro-social attitudes and traits, serve as positive role models and peer leaders, reconcile with their families, and ultimately lead new, productive lives upon release.
  • Increased awareness of the “second prison” faced by those with criminal records, as measured by public opinion surveys conducted at the beginning and end of the first year of the project. Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans with a criminal record continually face significant legal, social and other barriers that inhibit them from fully contributing to society. This second prison not only holds them back but also results in local communities missing out on their potential contributions. On May 1, Prison Fellowship hosted the inaugural Second Chances 5K Run/Walk at Concordia University, St. Paul to raise awareness and engage the Twin Cities community on the issue. The race was the first public event of the organization’s campaign called The Second Prison Project, designed to expose and eliminate the second prison in America.

Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree, which mobilizes churches and organizations throughout the U.S. to provide prisoners’ children with Christmas gifts and the opportunity to connect with local churches, is also active in the North Star State. Last year, more than 2,000 Minnesota children received gifts through Angel Tree.


About the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Dick Schulze, as a way to give back to the community where Dick and his family grew up. Schulze and his family believe that a good education, a supportive family and a strong work ethic prepare children for a successful future. To support that belief, we support organizations operating in the areas of human and social services, and education.

About Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship was founded in 1976 by Charles Colson, a former aide to President Nixon who served a seven-month prison sentence for Watergate-related crimes. Today the faith-based nonprofit is the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform.