Rescue Foundation programs are uniquely designed. The organization identifies common problems and seeks logical solutions that produce measurable results. Most importantly the solutions are not strictly charity. Training and support offered to ex-offenders is designed in such a way to insure long-term self sufficiency.

Case Study: Felony Franks (Oak Park, IL)

Rescue Foundation provides training services for Felony Franks, which opened its Oak Park location in February 2015. Felony Franks currently employs eight staff members. Since opening, Rescue Foundation has done the following:

Worked with staff one-on-one to identify specific issues staff are facing in their new employment. Problems that were identified include

  • Food Insecurity: limited access to and funding for regular healthy meal options (6/8 staff affected)
  • Housing Insecurity: lack of funds or access to safe housing near work; victim of predatory housing practices (3/8 staff affected)
  • Transportation Insecurity: limited options, long travel times, and high costs (7/8 staff affected)
  • Financial Insecurity: no savings or financial safety net (7/8 staff affected)
  • Banking: no savings or checking accounts. As a result, staff were paying high percentages to have their paychecks cashed as well as dangerously carrying their entire week’s earnings in cash. (8/8 of staff affected)
  • Schedule: erratic schedule needs, unreliable care givers, high costs. (3/8 staff affected)
  • Health: physical and psychological (3/8 staff affected)
  • Education: lack of education and/or life experience (7/8 staff affected)

Once challenges were identified, Rescue Foundation implemented pragmatic solutions for each person including:

  • Housing Insecurity
    • Negotiated with local property owners and managers to accept ex-offenders as renters.
    • Helped to successfully relocate two staff members from predatory landlords and situations, into safer more affordable environments, saving one staff member from becoming homeless.
    • Convinced a local organization that provides temporary housing to change its policy against housing ex-offenders.
  • Working with local banks to help staff learn about services, and establish or re-establish free banking relationships (7/8 of the affected staff participated), resulting in
    • Staff are now able to deposit checks, use debit cards, and checks.
    • No more high fees to cash checks resulting in more funds for purchases and savings.
    • Staff overcoming their feeling of intimidation of financial institutions.
    • Sense of pride, respect, and professionalism.
  • Transportation
    • Worked with Felony Franks to offer longer shifts for full-time employees and one less work day per week, resulting in significantly lowering transportation costs.
    • Worked with re-entry organizations to secure bus and train passes for new hires.
    • Worked with Felony Franks on scheduling to insure that staff traveling long distances would have a shift end in time to make scheduled buses and trains.
  • Education
    • Began teaching basic business knowledge including
      • Principles of business and basic economics- resulting in all staff knowing the details about the Felony Franks business, its economics, and the realities of running a small business.
      • Business vocabulary- staff learning to use business language resulting in a higher degree of professionalism, pride, and a deeper understanding of the business.
      • Profit & Loss Management (P&L)- Using actual Profit & Loss statements, staff learns every aspect of the business and the costs associated with operating the restaurant. As a result staff is better prepared to make decisions in real time that positively impact the company as a whole.
    • Financial Literacy
      • Vocabulary
      • Budgeting & Home Economics- worked with three employees to establish a monthly budget, resulting in a sound financial management strategy that allows employees to make good financial decisions.
      • Importance of saving & investing- staff are learning how to invest. (One staff member is already starting to invest, and has reduced smoking expenditures as a way to fuel the investment!)
  • Culture & Experiences
    • Worked with local theater and performance groups, sporting events, and other cultural institutions to secure free admission to various events. As a result, staff and their families gain important experience a diverse range of cultural programs.

Conclusion: Rescue Foundation’s program coupled with Felony Franks employment has had a profound impact on the lives of the staff, and their families. In less than one year the lives of eight people were transformed from being unemployed and at the mercy of public aid, to productive tax-paying members of the local economy. Furthermore, the ongoing leadership and business training program is developing candidates to one day be their own business owners. The recidivism rate of Rescue Foundation trainees that have completed the program is 0%. (Note- one trainee who had just started, but didn’t complete, the program has been accused of a crime but has not yet been tried.)

If you would like to implement Rescue Foundation’s unique Life Leadership training, please contact us at (708) 420-5659. Rescue Foundation can consult with your organization or business to develop a training plan that addresses your specific needs.