Diversity & Inclusion
Federal government / Social justice

Mission: Launch to open accelerator for returning citizens

The organization has won a $50,000 grant from the Small Business Administration to launch a new Impact Hub DC-based accelerator for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Local civic hackers brainstorm at Mission: Launch's Rebuilding Re-entry Hackathon in November. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Mission: Launch has won a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to launch an accelerator program for returning citizens.
The Impact Hub DC and Maryland-based nonprofit was one of 88 winners of the Growth Accelerator Fund announced on Tuesday for the occasion of the first-ever White House Demo Day.
Mission: Launch was cofounded in 2012 by Laurin Hodge, who watched her mother Teresa wrangle with the criminal justice system after serving 54 months in prison.
Since then, she has been working to help a woefully underresourced population get back on its feet.
“Without interventions, we are losing the restored human capital of millions of citizens and we are creating a ripple of negative economic outcomes,” Hodge, who also serves as Mission: Launch’s executive director, said in a press release Tuesday.
Mission: Launch has been actively collaborating with local government branches and other organizations to build new tools for former prisoners.
In November, it formed a task force called the Rebuilding Re-entry Coalition, which brought together representatives from Code for DC, Code for Progress, the NAACP and various other groups to prompt new initiatives focused on the return process.
On Aug. 12, the coalition will officially launch Clean Slate DC, a website that helps individuals with criminal records navigate the expungement process. The website is currently available for use in beta (and comments regarding technical difficulties should be sent to cleanslatedc@gmail.com.)
With the SBA funding, Mission: Launch will now formalize an accelerator program, and hopes to welcome a first cohort of 12-15 returning citizens this winter.
Watch Hodge make her case to the government:

Companies: Impact Hub DC / Mission: Launch / U.S. Small Business Administration
People: Laurin Leonard

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