Posts Tagged ‘PEP Directors Challenge’

PEP Challenge Sign

If you’ve kept up with our blog, you have read some amazing stories of life transformation in the past few months.

You have read graduate about Adam C., who shared that PEP taught him that “beauty could rise from the ashes of (a) brokenhearted young man.” You have read graduate Lance N.’s story about how PEP helped him to find his first job (and why he donates to PEP each month). Graduate David F. shared how he had never stayed out of jail for more than a year, but now has been out for more than three years thanks to PEP. Others, like Devon S. and Cristian H. , shared how God has changed their lives through PEP.

And all of that was just in October!

Just imagine the stories that you can make possible over the next year.

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is rapidly growing. This past August, we launched our operations in a second prison in Texas. By 2015, we might be able to serve nearly twice as many people as we did at the beginning of this year… provided that we have the funding to do so.

PEP is 100% privately funded. Without donors like you, graduate Clay T. may not have paid of $44K in debt and graduate James C. may not have generated over $5MM in sales through his business.

You make these stories possible. That is why we are asking for your help today.

We need to raise $190,000 by December 31, 2014.

These funds will ensure that we can launch into 2015 with full force, rapidly expanding our presence both inside of prison and outside of the walls. Your gift will make sure that 100% of our graduates find a job within 90 days of release from prison and that their likelihood of returning to crime drops by 80-90%.

Help us Meet the Challenge!


Thanks to the PEP Board of Directors, we have the potential to match every gift!

  • One-time gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar. That means a gift of $1,000 will instantly become $2,000!
  • Monthly commitments will be matched TWO to one based on their annual value! That means a commitment of $100 per month will receive a $2,400 match – making a $3,600 combined impact on PEP!

Where else can you make this kind of impact?

Your gifts matter.

Can we count on you?

Bert Smith

Monte Pendleton in Prison

Long-time volunteer and PEP Houston Advisory Board member Monte Pendleton


Thanks to supporters like you, we exceeded our goal of $100,000 to meet the PEP Governing Board’s challenge!

Beginning May 1, 2013, we worked to raise these funds towards the launch of our 20th Class. Last Friday, “Tenacious 20” had their kickoff event … and a group of individual donors pooled their resources and put us over the top in remarkable fashion!

What’s even more incredible is that a significant number of donors joined our growing list of monthly contributors. We now have nearly ninety people — many of whom are graduates of our program — making monthly donations by credit card or automatic bank transfer.

We call these monthly donors “PARTNERS.” This is in recognition of their commitment to sustaining our work so that our team can focus on growing our impact.

We are deeply grateful to the many people who participated in this campaign. On top of these gifts, we were also able to raise several very significant foundation grants that will allow us to strengthen our mission over the coming months. Your support of our work is making an incredible difference — thank you!

Together, we are transforming prison!

I Flip for PEPLots going on this week at the Cleveland Correctional Facility … including the launch of Class 20 of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program!

Today, we host our Internal Kickoff event. Most of the nearly 110 men who are entering PEP have been connected to us for months, including our three-month “Prep Class” called Principles of Effective Leadership. 

Today’s event is a celebration of their entrance to PEP with our staff and graduates from past classes. The event that is decidedly NOT like the typical prison experience, as the room is decorated for a party and the atmosphere is one of fun, fellowship and hope!

This is all in preparation for our official Kickoff on July 19, 2013. You can learn more about this event, and register to attend, here:

You can also see photos from the last class’ kickoff event here:

This week also marks the two-week countdown towards our fundraising campaign. As we announced a month ago, we received a challenge grant of $100,000 that will match EVERY DOLLAR that you donate between now and our July 19, 2013 kickoff.

Your gift of $100 will instantly become $200 through this campaign.

To learn how you can double your impact, please visit our campaign site:

Together, we can transform prison!

David Blanchard in prison

Executive volunteer David Blanchard entering prison through PEP

On July 19, 2013, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program will launch Class 20 with one of our largest classes to date!

This class also will mark an important milestone for PEP. Our 1,000th graduate will walk across stage with Class 20 on December 13, 2013!

Your support of PEP will make this possible. Donors like you provide 100% of the funds that we need to deliver our programs, and we could not operate without your gifts.

We have received a challenge grant that will match every dollar that we raise up to $100,000 … but only if we can raise the funds by July 19, 2013. You can turn every dollar that you donate into twice the impact thanks to the generosity of our Governing Board, who are providing this amazing opportunity to PEP.

You can track our progress on this challenge live here,
and also see the contributions from others.

Funds will ensure that these men receive all of the support that they need to earn not only a diploma from PEP, but a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (see link here to learn more).

It takes around $1,500 to sponsor a participant’s quest for their college certificate. Half of those funds are being put up by our Board of Directors — but only if you help us to raise the other half.

Help us to beat this challenge by donating today!

See you in prison,

Jeremy Gregg
Chief Development Officer

Progress towards securing the $100K match as of 5-22-2013

Progress towards securing the $100K match as of 5-22-2013

You value the work that we are doing at PEP. And since we know that you want us to be successful, we need your help.

Can we count on you for a $10 donation?

Here is some incentive:

Every dollar that you donate before July 19, 2013 will be MATCHED one-to-one (up to $100K). So if you can donate $10 to PEP, our board will donate another $10 — doubling your impact.

Some ways that your funds could change lives:

  • $10 could provide a new Toastmasters book to a man entering our next Business Plan Competition class, helping him to make 120+ presentations of his pitch in front of others;
  • $25 …  financial literacy curriculum / textbook to teach him  how to manage his money after release;
  • $100 … college-level entrepreneurship textbook to teach him how to open his own business after release;
  • $250 … “Fresh Start Kit” that includes a suit, work clothes, toiletries, an executive portfolio for interviews and everything that he needs to get his life re-stabilized after release from prison;
  • $500 … eSchool bonus to reimburse him for investing in his business after earning his second diploma from PEP
  • $1,500 … fully sponsors an incarcerated participant’s quest for their college Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University through PEP

To see who has already donated, please visit



Help us raise $40,000 to secure a $40,000 match!

PEP just graduated our largest class yet — over 70 men earned their diplomas from PEP on December 7, 2012.

For the first time, these men also earned Certificates in Entrepreneurship from the Baylor University‘s Hankamer School of Business. These are college certificates provided in recognition of all that these men accomplished through PEP’s 5+ month Business Plan Competition.

And we’re not slowing down… another 140 men have been recruited for Class 19 that begins in January, 2013!

In celebration of this growth, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program’s Board of Directors and Advisory Boards have collectively committed a challenge grant of $40,000 to PEP . . . meaning that every dollar that you pledge/donate between now and December 31, 2012 will be matched!

But we need your help to raise the $40,000 match.

To donate online today, please visit:

To donate by mail, please make your check payable to PEP and mail to:

Prison Entrepreneurship Program
Attn: Donation
P.O. Box 926274
Houston, TX 77292-6274

If you would like to make a pledge payable in 2013, please contact PEP’s Chief Development Officer, Jeremy Gregg, at or (214) 727 – 9829.

Thank you for supporting PEP!

You Beat the PEP Challenge!In late January, PEP confirmed that our graduates’ three-year “return to prison” rate is now less than 5%. By contrast, the official state average is 24.3%.

In response, the seven individuals on PEP’s Board of Directors combined their efforts to issue a challenge grant of $110,000 to PEP. The grant would match every gift above $100 that was made between February 15, 2012 through March 31, 2012.

The result?

In less than 45 days, PEP’s donors responded by donating $117,047 — over seven thousand dollars more than we needed!

Better still???

When they heard about the results, several PEP Board members increased their commitment so that the full amount could be matched — for a total impact of $234,094 on our mission!

Thanks to our low recidivism rate, we conservatively estimate that the State of Texas will save $5 for every dollar that you invest in PEP … allowing these funds to collectively deliver a $1,170,470 impact on our state!

Thank you to everyone who donated to our campaign. Together, we are changing lives and transforming communities!

PEP Director Challenge UpdateGreat news — we are nearly 90% of the way towards our goal for the PEP Directors’ Challenge!

We have until March 31 to raise the
final $15,000 that we need!

By donating at least $100 today, you can have every dollar of your gift matched by the individuals on our Board of Directors. What will be the impact of your gift?

  • Nearly 200 men will graduate from PEP this year
  • 100% will secure jobs within 90 days of release from prison
  • Texas will save $10 for every dollar that we invest in PEP

And thanks to the match, Texas will save $20 for every dollar that YOU invest in PEP! Donate today at — all gifts above $100 will count!

PS: We are also counting recurring gifts — so donating at least $8.33 per month will secure a $100 match!

PEP Challenge Thermometer - 3-1-2012Great news — we are now OVER HALFWAY  towards our goal of raising $110,000 to meet the “Directors’ Challenge Grant” for PEP!

(Read more about this challenge here)

Thanks to our amazing supporters, we have raised over $60,000 in commitments within the past two weeks. These gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the PEP Board of Directors.

It’s not too late to donate!

Our directors will match every commitment of at least $100 that is made before March 31, 2012. This includes recurring gifts whose annual value is at least $100 — for example, registering to donate $10/month will immediately secure a $120 match for PEP.

This challenge grant came in recognition of the ground-breaking results that we announced earlier this year:

  • PEP’s official return-to-prison rate among graduates dropped from “less than 10%” to “less than 5%”!
  • PEP’s employment rate stayed at a remarkable 100% within 90 days of release from prison!
  • In fact, on average, it only took 26 days for our graduates to find a job … from prison to paycheck in less than one month!

Entrepreneurship is also increasing among our recent graduates. Our graduates have now started over 100 businesses, at least one of which is grossing over $1 million in annual revenue! Several other graduate-owned businesses are generating sales in the mid-six figures . . . proving that ex-offenders make excellent entrepreneurs if provided the support, guidance and encouragement that they need to succeed.

Join the PEP revolution — donate at least $100 today at!