c2c has a vision that contributes to the dramatic reduction in global prison recidivism by providing social entrepreneurship training and incubator services to the 94% non-violent (US stats) or victimless offenders re-entering society and who otherwise may not be able to find gainful employment due to their backgrounds. We envision a society where those who have made mistakes in their past can pro-actively design their future by leveraging their "street smarts" and applying them to legitimate social entrepreneurial pursuits. Additionally, this initiative will offer a social contribution to the relief of the $39 Billion tax burden (US alone), the mitigation of negative impacts on communities and family units, and the empowerment of formerly incarcerated individuals to be social, economic, innovative, and engaged cornerstones of society.
The c2c social entrepreneurship training program is an active and growing enterprise currently negotiating for our first class of 25 students drawing from the re-entry community in NYC.
Additionally, we are now poised to launch the c2c Social Enterprise Incubator in a 500 sq ft artists studio in a former knitting mill in Brooklyn. It is for this initiative that we need funding--the design and build-out of the exisitng space into professional, flexible use space to house up to 8 incubator companies (6 to date).
David Thigpen, founder of corners2cornerstones, spent 14 years in prison. While there, David spent his time wisely building his self awareness, and educating himself in human behavior and business practice. Looking around him he realized that many of his prison mates represented the most intelligent and resourceful individuals from the street, and that there were significant parallels between these individuals and the characteristics of the entrepreneurs he was studying in his business classes. The only difference in many cases, he realized, was the fact that his mates applied their natural entrepreneurial skills to illegitimate pursuits and--significantly--did not realize that they already had many of the skills to pursue legitimate business.
It was this realization that led David to write the American Gangsters Guide to Being Your Own Boss. A 200 page business text book written entirely in street slang--a method that allowed the undereducated populations of the prison system to bridge a deep culture gap and begin to "know what they already knew". Before long David was teaching classes in prison and receiving orders for the book from inmates in other prisons who had heard about it through the prison grapevine.
David is now an author, a mentor for youth at risk, and a social entrepreneur who uses his skills and curriculum to advise many formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs on how to launch and run their businesses.
In early 2012 David formed corners2cornerstones with his partner Leslie Alfin, and now has strategic partnerships such as the Global Business Incubator, a South Southwest/United Nations initiative, GOGI (Getting Out by Going In), a national life skills prison program, and IQ4 a technology platform that delivers virtual internships with established companies to the c2c students.
Davids dream is to develop corners2cornerstones as a solution that dramatically reduces global prison recidivism, builds a strong and pro-active network of social entrepreneurs (who happen to be formerly incarcerated individuals), and tap this marginalized former prison community for innovation, social good, and their desire to pass their newly re-purposed skillset forward to assist in the education and economic empowerment of a previously squandered human resource.