Asides being a Grammy-nominated artist [for the record, 10 times], many know John Legend as that leading advocate for criminal justice reform guy and it’s not hard to understand why. Being one of the most recognizable celebrities in Hollywood, he has also launched a mission to raise funds and serve needy African villages. In 2014, Legend launched Free America, an organization that aims to end mass incarceration by raising awareness about the injustices in the U.S. prison system.
His most recent initiative is called Unlocked Futures, an accelerator program that will help formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs by providing funding for their ventures, in partnership with Bank of America and New Profit – a venture philanthropy organization. The act was inspired after a 2015 prison tour that involved him actively instigating criminal justice campaigns, including an effort to end money bail and another to help elect progressive district attorneys across the country. Unlocked Futures will award $50,000 grants to formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs and also provide them with training and mentorship. The program aims to reduce the high unemployment rate for the estimated 5 million formerly incarcerated people in the United States.
Watch episode 15 of Mic Dispatch.