With support from Capital One, the Wilmington HOPE Commission is advocating for and assisting ex-offenders as they integrate back into their communities.
Upon exiting incarceration, James Beavers began working with the Wilmington HOPE Commission (WHC), a nonprofit organization that offers wraparound services including workforce development programming to help returning citizens positively reintegrate back into the community.
For Beavers, that process has included working alongside the WHC cleaning crew to revitalize various Wilmington neighborhoods. The camaraderie and sense of fellowship has helped him stay focused—which ultimately led to a shorter probation period.
“The people at WHC helped me to center myself,” Beavers said. “The program benefitted me a lot as far as having mentors and someone to talk to if needed.”
Founded on research-informed solutions, WHC provides rehabilitative treatment services and programs designed to promote successful reentry through risk and needs assessments, cognitive behavioral treatment, vocational readiness training, educational and peer support, behavioral health services and family-reunification programs. Together, these programs and services reduce recidivism and improve safety in the Wilmington community.
“WHC provides comprehensive reentry support services that target crime-causing factors that have been shown to be predictors of recidivism for formerly incarcerated medium-to-high risk individuals,” says Tamera Fair, the executive director of WHC.
Twice each week, WHC holds the Winners Circle, a mentoring group open to those who are working across its various programs. People in the group come together to talk about issues and help each other solve problems.
It also provides individuals with the resources to move onto their next step in life. Whether that’s additional education, employment or other practical needs like getting a driver’s license or signing up for health insurance.
Those efforts have come to life through support from partners like Capital One, that is partnering with WHC through the Capital One Impact Initiative, an initial $200 million, five-year national commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility.
This work builds on Capital One’s core mission to change banking for good and long-standing philanthropic commitments to advance racial equity, affordable housing, small business support, workforce development and financial well-being.
Through support from Capital One, WHC will be able to provide staff with up-to-date training. The case managers, peers, reentry coordinators and other staff members are now signed up for a training in a licensed curriculum specifically designed for reentry.
“Capital One was founded on the belief that no one should be locked out of the financial system,” says Joe Westcott, Capital One Wilmington Market President. “We believe it’s our responsibility to leverage our scale and resources to help foster a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper.”
Fair says that Capital One shares in WHC’s commitment to highlight racial disparities, including those in the prison population.
According to the Vera Institute for Justice, while 23 percent of Delaware residents are Black, more than half of all incarcerated citizens in the state are Black.
“WHC is uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on prison racial equity and we are proud to partner with Capital One to not only seek to improve the employability of our members but also to positively impact generational incarceration.”