Defy of Northern California
Defy of Northern California uses entrepreneurship as a tool to break down barriers and create opportunities for people with criminal histories to thrive when they return to our community. Defy’s curriculum provides currently and formerly incarcerated individuals critical skills for success through entrepreneurship training, employment readiness and personal development. We amplify the impact of our curriculum by connecting program participants, Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs), with Bay Area business leaders. Volunteers provide vital professional and personal support that sparks the confidence and inspiration for EITs to realize their potential. Simultaneously, volunteers benefit from a unique opportunity to directly confront social injustice, racial bias and mass incarceration.
More than 400 incarcerated individuals have completed Defy’s program in prisons throughout Northern California, and over 60 individuals have participated in programming upon release. Defy’s graduates have created over 19 businesses in our region and fewer than 5% have recidivated. Over 1,000 volunteers from companies including Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Apple, Box, and Checkr, have engaged with EITs in prison and after release.