Pinkerton Foundation Adds $3.8 Million To John Jay Fellowship Initiative

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pinkerton Foundation Adds $3.8 Million To John Jay Fellowship Initiative

The Pinkerton Foundation announced a grant of $3.8 million to John Jay College of Criminal Justice for continued support of the school’s Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative. Now in its sixth year, the Initiative provides funding for up to nineteen John Jay undergraduates and graduate students each year to work in nonprofit youth justice programs throughout New York City.  

To date, John Jay students have provided 70,000 hours of service to 35 alternatives to incarceration, post-prison reentry, transformative mentoring and other programs serving young people involved in the criminal justice system. With this grant, payable over five years, the Initiative’s goal is to provide a total of 177,000 hours of service by the end of 2020.

“Pinkerton Fellows have been valued workers, teachers, counselors and role models in a host of vitally important youth programs,” says Foundation President Rick Smith.  “Our grant is to John Jay, but we believe the real beneficiaries are the city’s most vulnerable young people who are served by those organizations.”

The Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative grew out of conversations between Smith and former John Jay President Jeremy Travis. Their shared goal was to provide hands-on help to New York’s often underfunded youth justice programs and to raise the profile of nonprofit organizations in the John Jay community. In addition to the paid, fifteen-month Fellowships, the Initiative hosts two symposia each year on major issues in youth justice. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $3.8 million in the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative.

Current John Jay President Karol Mason is an enthusiastic supporter of the Initiative.  “John Jay College educates fierce advocates for justice.  We are honored to have this long term partnership with the Pinkerton Foundation that enables our students to reach their full potential by helping youth who have been involved in the justice system to reach theirs.” 

Paul Griffin, the founder and president of the Possibility Project, a youth-led program that uses the performing arts and community engagement to empower teens, says the initiative’s real-world approach is unique. "The Pinkerton Fellowship has provided The Possibility Project with an important resource in our work with court-involved youth. Our fellows have been competent and insightful students who have become a valuable part of our team. They care about what we care about and that's a big help. We love learning with them as they take on the challenges our work presents, and our youth gain from their participation.”

According to fellow Alain Joseph, "This fellowship has allowed me to experience the real world of Youth Justice through my time at The Possibility Project. Coming together with the staff to work with the youth as allies has demonstrated to me that young people are more than capable of being dynamic, especially when they are allowed to be themselves. Their creativity coupled with the ideas that the staff bring has taught me that it is essential to place autonomy in the hands of the youth if they are to be successful."

Founded in 1967, The Pinkerton Foundation awards grants to nonprofits that share in its mission of helping young people living in high poverty neighborhoods of New York City succeed in school and in life. With annual grantmaking of about $35-million, the foundation supports community-based direct service programs that focus on academic development, career readiness, cultural enrichment, alternatives to incarceration and re-entry programs for youth in the juvenile justice and foster care systems.

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