This is remarkable — and well-deserved.
Homeboy Industries, believed to be the world’s largest reentry organization for formerly incarcerated and gang-involved men and women, is undergoing what board member the Rev. Allan Figueroa Deck, a Jesuit priest, sees as a ‘quantum leap’ in economic stability.
The Los Angeles-based nonprofit founded by the Rev. Gregory Boyle has received $15 million in long-term funding from the state of California and a $20 million gift from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former spouse of Jeff Bezos.
This is the first time the organization has received this level of funding and monetary gifts, which, Deck said, will “really bring the organization to a new level of capacity” to serve people who have been in prison and involved in gangs.
“It will assure a level of stability in this really important work that it never has had before,” said Deck, who serves on Homeboy Industries’ board of directors.
Founded in 1988, Homeboy Industries draws nearly 9,000 people every year, all seeking a range of services, from anger management and job training to domestic violence support, legal assistance and tattoo removal. It also employs people in its own social enterprises, including a bakery, cafe and diner, as well as a silkscreen and embroidery shop, farmers’ markets and catering services.
More than 450 men and women go through the organization’s 18-month job training and healing program annually and get paid while they do. About two-thirds of Homeboy’s senior staff are graduates of the program. In addition to Boyle and Deck, actress and activist Jane Fonda and business people such as Oscar Gonzalez, co-president of Northgate Gonzalez Markets, populate its board.
With the funding from Scott, leaders say, the organization will be able to establish an operating reserve, develop supportive housing and create more jobs by expanding its social enterprises.