ON ORGANIZATIONAL LETTERHEAD
November 14, 2004
Mr. Robert J. Vickers, Executive Director
The Robert J. Vickers Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dear Mr. Vickers:
Greetings! [The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections AND/OR relationships.]
Put yourself in the place of the average prisoner: Finally the day comes that you have been waiting for, your release from prison. Years ago you never thought you would ever get out and now the time has come to leave. They’ve given you some money, street clothes, and a bus ticket back to where you came from. But there’s a funny feeling in your stomach. You want to leave so badly you can barely contain yourself, but at the same time your scared to death at what may be waiting for you on the outside. Though you haven’t done much planning, you think you know what you want to do and where you want to go, so why all the fear?
This scenario plays itself out thousands of times in the lives of soon_to_be_released Arizona prisoners. It’s a very frightening experience to enter a world that you’ve been away from for years, not having definite plans and goals or someone to help you carry them out. Most are without a real friend to help them transition back into society. Many are even without family to help them bridge the gap to the real world.
Some prisoners have spiritual life_changing experiences in prison and are determine to turn their lives around and make a new start. Sadly to say even with a life_changing experience in prison, most prisoners are not equipped to handle life on the outside.
Today, over two million people are incarcerated in American prisons! This gives the United States the ominous distinction of being the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. What can be done to turn the tide of violence and crime in American society? One obvious solution is to reduce the staggering 70% recidivism rate of ex_offenders who become repeat offenders.
After completing their sentences, men and women walk out of the local jails and state prisons with a bus ticket, some used clothes and about $100 or less. Going back to establish themselves in a society where there is no room for someone with a criminal history, little job experience and practically no money. We hear so many stories about prisoner recidivism, homelessness, addiction, family abuse, imprisoned fathers, entrenched poverty, and unemployment that we are tempted to throw our hands up in despair.
All too often these men and women are forgotten individuals, having fallen into lives of crime, addiction and self_degradation. We turn our eyes away, while their wounds necessitate a closer examination. The wounds of these young men and women grow from a childhood of abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, chemical and many others). These wounds are exploited and used against them in the cycles of crime, addiction and abuse, existing not only in the metropolitan areas, but also in rural areas. These men and women are ill equipped to manage even the most basic elements of successful living. Without comprehensive, effective help, they find it difficult, if not impossible, to break the bondage in their lives. If they are parents, their dysfunction will, without intervention, be reflected in the lives of their children. Statistics show that if a young man’s father or brother goes to prison he has an 80% likelihood of following in their footsteps.
As stated by President Bush in his January 2004 State_Of_The Union address, "In the past, we've worked together to bring mentors to children of prisoners, and provide treatment for the addicted, and help for the homeless. Tonight I ask you to consider another group of Americans in need of help. This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society. We know from long experience that if they can't find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit crime and return to prison."
As stated, there will be 600,000 ex_prisoners entering into society in the coming year. Statistics show that nationwide approximately 70% will recidivate within two years, most within months. The statistics are disheartening, discouraging, and needing a response. Follow-up NFL has embarked on an ambitious plan to acclimate ex_offenders into society so they remain just that… ex_offenders.
Follow-up NFL is a volunteer_driven, faith_based aftercare program that converts the negative impact of incarceration into a positive motivation for serving others. By providing the necessary support and assistance, Follow-up NFL enables stabilized ex_offenders with the help of volunteers serve the transition needs of soon_to_be_released inmates. This is carried our in the context of Service Groups. Through Service Groups, volunteers from the local churches and organizations, pool their gifts and resources to provide the spiritual and material support to men and women in transition from prison to the community.
The need is great! Men and Women are reaching out for help! Our plan is in place. Only one barrier stands between us and accomplishing this initiative. . . adequate funding. Would you please review our proposal and choose to fund this crucial program?
Please review the enclosed proposal and support this vitally needed work. We are respectfully submitting it for your consideration. If we can answer any questions or if you need additional information, please feel free to contact me at (660) 747_6390. We hope, after reviewing the enclosed material, you share our excitement about our unique mission that will have a significant impact on the lives of many prisoners, ex_prisoners and their families, and on the community.
Thank you for considering our request. The opportunity of potential funding is encouraging to us. We greatly anticipate your partnership.
Darin L. Martinelli, President
Follow-up NFL, Inc.
Follow-up NFL, Inc.
Mission and Vision Statements:
Follow-up NFL’s exists to equip, mentor, teach, counsel, and empower transitional men and women who are striving to recover from a life of crime and it’s life_controlling problems. We provide a comprehensive approach to recovery for each person including the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their lives. Our vision is to provide a refuge for people desperately seeking to change their behavioral destructive lives, to become productive and healthy members of society.
The Freedom House Project Statement:
Project Freedom House, our transitional housing program, was created to address the many issues of ex_prisoners and to provide safe alternatives, empowering them with time and assistance to move from a life of crime and dependency, to a life of self_sufficiency. This is a service of hope, renewal, and transformation to a complete man or woman. In this comes the need to focus on a set of eight healing essentials: Correct thinking, social training, education, job readiness, financial management, work therapy, personal and family healing and on the important influence of spiritual awareness.
Targeted Groups and Geographic Focus:
Specific statistics of prisoners and ex_prisoners in the Phoenix metropolitan area addressed in this proposal were derived from the Arizona Department of Corrections statistics, some were not easily discerned. However, there is no one who disputes the tremendous need:
• Prisoners: The number of men and women in the Arizona prison system in 1999 was 68,599 and in 2003 it was 77,316. That is a 12% increase in the population in just 4 years. One can only imagine what the tremendous need will be in the coming years.
• Ex_prisoners: Last year approximately 26,500 inmates were released from Arizona prisons. In the Phoenix metropolitan area over 2,000 inmates were released in 2003, that’s a 31% increase from 1996. They are released from prison with $100 or less in their pocket, some used clothes on their back, and a bus ticket. If there isn’t someone at the end of that ticket, most will return to a life of crime and earn a ride back to the place they swore never to return. Most are without any sort of support system.
• The Families: The statistics for pain and suffering to spouses and children of incarcerated men and women in the Central Arizona area are, from this man’s perspective, incalculable.
Follow-up NFL, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit organization founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001, and is governed by a Board of Directors of 6 individuals from the metropolitan area (See Board of Directors Page 5). Also see attached 501 (c)(3) I.R.S. Department of Treasury Determination Letter.
Darin L. Martinelli, President (660) 747-6390, Voice
Follow-up NFL, Inc. (660) 111-2222, Cell
P.O. Box 1225 E-mail: darin@FollowupNFL.org
Phoenix, AZ 11111 Website: www.FollowupNFL.org
Financial Request and Purpose:
The needs of a growing organization like ours are staggering. Our current and immediate needs are such that we are asking you for a grant of $ 30,000 (or any portion thereof) toward acquiring transitional housing, our general operating budget and for a part_time Program Director. See Budget Page 4.
Evaluation and Accountability:
The progress and effectiveness of Follow-up NFL, Inc. will be determined by ongoing analysis and oversight of staff, advisors, and Board of Directors. Because we are committed to integrity, we are willing to complete any reasonable evaluative measure that you request.
Follow-up NFL, Inc.
In 2001, after 11 years of working inside prisons in many of the prisons of Arizona, our group recognized the incredible need for a residential housing program for men and women. We have determined to develop one of the leading and premier men’s, and later women’s facilities in the state. Until the past year, we did not address the issues of transitional housing. The time has passed and a solution is necessary–we have accepted the challenge to develop a quality, modern transitional housing facility. Consider the following:
• The numbers of ex_prisoner, men and women, has risen dramatically in Arizona.
• The incidence of substance abuse has also increased greatly.
• The homeless population in Arizona has also grown greatly in recent years.
As late as the Eighties, concepts such as prisons filled with male and female addicts were considered impossible in our society. The negative effect of multi_generational poverty cycles had yet to be identified. Our society is now aware of these problems, and is demanding effective solutions. I usually receive one or two letters from soon_to_be_released prisoners or phone calls from prison transitional officers per week. They have one question that is asked: "Do you have a program where these men and women can receive quality, lasting help"? Because of our lack of transitional housing I am required to turn many of these inmates away. The need is great! The time is now!
Our mission is "To bring people, in transition from prison, with life_controlling habits, successfully back to society, to equip them to lead godly lives." Our comprehensive approach will include spiritual, psychological and social development. For the present we plan to serve 10 to 20 men through the following process: Our four_phase program is open to any qualified ex_offender.
Phase One will begin in prison with the inmate filling out the application and evaluation forms. The Chaplain will be ask to complete a recommendation form. After approval, the inmate will be introduced to his trained mentor. Together over the next three to six months, they will complete a Life Plan Workshop and assess the inmate’s transitional needs, including housing, clothing, employment, etc. Some inmates may start our program after being released: The Life Plan Workshop will begin immediately after release.
Phase Two starts after release. The ex_prisoners will be introduced to Freedom House. They will then start with weekly meetings between himself, his mentor, and other team members. Over the next 12 months, through team mentoring, these meetings will cover the Biblical answers to crucial physical, emotional and spiritual problems, cognitive therapy, and life skills which are relevant to the ex_offender’s transition back to society. The ex_offender will be required to attend weekly Church services at his newly established Church home. The Church will supply spiritual and physical needs, and serve as the ex_offenders family.
Phase Three continues after graduation from Phase Two with the ex_prisoner encouraged to become part of the volunteer staff. After completing our Certified Volunteer and Mentor Training Programs, he/she would now be assisting other newly released prisoners in their transition back to freedom, just as they were helped. At this time more advanced volunteer training will be completed.
Phase Four is a step of advancement for the spiritually mature and committed ex_prisoners who have shown leadership ability. The potential candidates are encouraged to become leaders with Follow-up NFL. Those who accept the challenge are trained as Life Plan Workshop leaders, volunteer and mentoring instructors, and other leadership positions.
The Next Step:
After exhaustive preparation/planning we are prepared to move forward to gather funding for this needed transitional housing facility, which must be acquired and renovated to suit the needs of the program. We will be in need of a part_time program director and operating funds, some of which must be raised from our expanding donor base and the integral support of local benevolent foundations and corporate sources.