PRISON ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM, INC.

Transforming lives, Restoring families, Rebuilding communities

aka PEP   |   HOUSTON, TX   |  WWW.PEP.ORG

Mission

Our mission is to unite executives and inmates through entrepreneurial passion and servant leadership to transform lives, restore families and rebuild communities.

Ruling year info

2005

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Bryan Kelley

Main address

4140 DIRECTORS ROW STE B

HOUSTON, TX 77092 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-1384253

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Employment Training (J22)

Services to Prisoners/Families (I43)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

After release, formerly incarcerated people are labeled “ex-cons” for the rest of their lives. This label dramatically reduces their prospects for legitimate work that pays livable wages. Unemployment rates can be as high as 70% among ex-offenders. But, for “ex-cons,” finding honest work at a fair wage isn’t the only challenge they will face. A prior felony makes it nearly impossible to find a place to live. Having served your sentence and paid your debt to society, you are free but face these daunting realities. Without a job or a home, as many as 50% of released parolees become homeless and resort to living “on the streets.” Unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration become an inescapable cycle, and with few real options, many men return to a life of crime. Unfortunately, this tragic cycle is why the majority of ex-offenders will commit new crimes within three years of their release from prison.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

In-Prison Education/Leadership Academy

PEP’s mission begins inside the prison system with a rigorous application and screening process of eligible inmates.

Selected participants are transferred by the State to one of the two facilities where PEP operates: the Estes Unit south of Dallas, Texas or the Cleveland Correctional Facility outside of Houston, Texas. Once transferred, participants begin the program and their journey with a 3-month, in-prison character development program, known as The Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy utilizes The Principles of Effective Leadership and Men’s Life (also known as Men’s Fraternity: The Quest for Authentic Manhood).

All participants are expected to “live out” PEP’s Ten Driving Values: Integrity, Accountability, Wise Stewardship, Love, Fun, Fresh Start Outlook, Servant-Leader Mentality, Innovation, Execution, and Excellence. We work with each client to identify and remove the character traits and behaviors that stand in the way of a positive life transformation.

The program is also designed to assimilate each participant into PEP’s diverse community of accountability and encouragement, one that begins in prison and continues following their release.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

The Leadership Academy is immediately followed by a 6-month in-prison “mini-MBA” program. The “mini-MBA” is the core of our in-prison business education, taught by PEP staff, board members, and business executives lecturing on topics within their areas of expertise.

We use a college textbook Entrepreneurship: A Small Business Approach that is supplemented with Harvard and Stanford Business School case studies. The centerpiece of this phase is the Business Plan Competition (BPC), modeled after BPCs held at major universities across the nation.

Each student is required to conceive a business that he would start upon release. The student will research the logistics of competing within his chosen industry, write a complete business plan for launching his business and then pitch his plan over 120 times in a “Shark Tank” like format (including groups of PEP business executive volunteers).

Last but not least, during this in-prison program, all participants must complete a financial literacy course, an employment workshop, a business etiquette course, and a Toastmasters class.

As you can see, much is given to help our men transform, but much is expected from them in return.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

After completing the immersive and intense in-prison program, participants will graduate in a cap-and-gown ceremony held within the prison.

PEP strongly encourages family and friends of each graduate to attend the graduation ceremony directly following BPC. For many, this event is often the first time families have seen their fathers, husbands, sons or brothers truly follow-through, succeed and accomplish their goals.

In cases where hardship would prevent family members from attending graduation, PEP provides financial assistance to defray some of the costs of traveling to the graduation.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

Starting in prison, PEP Family Liaisons interview each participant and have them complete a survey regarding their relationships with their loved ones. After a participant has completed the interview and survey, the Family Liaisons begin an outreach campaign to open lines of communication and strengthen the ties between each family and their participant.

PEP conducts open conference calls led by our Family Liaisons and re-entry staff for families to learn more about our program. Family members are provided with information about PEP, updates on the class’s progress, tips on how to manage their loved one’s release, information regarding the reintegration process, resources for forgiveness and acceptance, and any questions the families might have are answered.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

PEP Transition Coordinators pick up participants at the release gate the minute they are released from prison. Approximately 65% of PEP graduates choose to live in one of five transition homes managed by PEP in Houston and Dallas.

Each PEP transition home enforces a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol use and is managed by a PEP Transition Coordinator or PEP graduate.

In addition to transition housing, PEP provides extensive post-release services to its men, including transportation (to parole and food stamp offices, churches, drivers’ license offices, and job interviews), regular counseling and advice, a support network, social events and emergency financial assistance. Moreover, participants have access to bus passes, phone cards, reduced-cost dental services, medical services and eye exams/glasses through partnerships with other service providers.

The goal is to provide participants with a comprehensive solution to re-entry in a structured environment of accountability. Once they are released from prison, these men are left with no excuse to return to a life of crime.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

For released participants in Houston and Dallas (and via the Internet), PEP hosts a weekly “eSchool” taught by executives, MBA candidates and university professors. Instructors cover a range of topics related to professional job development skills and entrepreneurship including: technology and website development, strategic thinking, marketing, leadership, time-management, communication, and finance & accounting skills.

An eSchool graduate who starts his small business qualifies for a $500 eSchool Completion Bonus from PEP in the form of a reimbursement for qualifying expenses. This money is provided to help with basic small business start-up costs like business cards, equipment and supplies. Through this program, participants have bought tools to start a variety of service oriented businesses. PEP entrepreneurs who have a need for more significant business funding have access to small business financing through PEP’s network of financial institutions and individual investors. PEP has also helped its graduates receive loans from the micro lender PeopleFund, as well as Kiva, a crowd-sourced, zero-interest lender.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Stand Together Foundation Catalyst Network 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of program graduates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Men and boys, Incarcerated people

Related Program

Formal Graduation

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Participants go through a 6 month program using college textbooks, case studies, and classes taught by executives & staff. As well as learning financial literacy, business etiquette & public speaking.

Number of businesses developed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Men and boys, Incarcerated people

Related Program

Entrepreneurship Education/Business Plan Competition

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We believe the only sustainable social initiatives to mass imprisonment are through creating employment, specifically teaching entrepreneurship skills to empower individuals to start businesses.

Average hourly wage of clients who became employed after job skills training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Men and boys, Incarcerated people

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These stats explain the average STARTING wage for our released participants. The average hourly wage rises to $14.83 after 90 days of employment, $17.97 after 1-year and $23.62 after 3-years.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our vision is to expand our community of accountability and encouragement until every inmate who is truly committed to change has the choice and the chance to reboot his life. We strive to empower our men to move from being tax consumers to taxpayers; from gang leaders to servant leaders; and from felons to real fathers and even philanthropists.

When someone gets out of prison and stays out, that’s a win. When his children do not go to prison and continue an intergenerational cycle of incarceration, that is transformative.

When a “free world” executive volunteer shares her expertise with an inmate, helping to build his intellectual and social capital, that’s a win. When that volunteer recruits others and becomes a humble advocate for grace and second chances, that is transformative.

PEP aspires to be the facilitator and catalyst for these transformative processes that start in the heart, move through the head, and ultimately find expression in the hands and feet . . . indeed, the very lives . . . of our men and our volunteers.

According to the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center, “When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas . . . Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”

We will build this robust community with an army of executive volunteers who share with us and our men a passion for education, mentoring and entrepreneurship. Through their engagement, our volunteers will move from knowing the joy of success to experiencing great significance in their lives.

We believe that once we reach at least 10% of the 43,000 that are released from the Texas prison system each year, not only will the PEP experience profoundly impact the lives of the men and women we serve directly, but their values and commitment to positive change will have a dramatic, positive effect on the prospects of all other inmates.

PEP provides a holistic solution for our graduates, from in-prison leadership and business education to robust and results-oriented support once they are released. But we are not alone in our endeavor to transform our clients and the larger community.

PEP relies on other programs and institutions to provide volunteer assistance and expertise so that our program is at the forefront of prison rehabilitation. Working together with our valued partners, PEP can reach more men and deliver the best available program of its kind.

The result? PEP and partners deliver a world-class program with outstanding results. Additionally, with the great partners that we collaborate with, we can more effectively spread the word about PEP and enhance our influence.

Academic Partners:
Baylor University – Hankamer School of Business

In-Prison Partners:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Management and Training Corporation

Participating Entrepreneurship/MBA Programs:
Baylor University – Hankamer School of Business
Dallas Baptist University
Rice University – Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
Southern Methodist University – Cox School of Business
Texas A&M University – Mays Business School
Texas Tech – Rawls College of Business
University of Dallas – Graduate School of Management
The University of Texas Austin, McCombs School of Business
University of Houston – C.T. Bauer College of Business and The Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship
University of Houston Downtown—Entrepreneurship Program

Church Partners:
Arborlawn United Methodist Church—Ft. Worth, TX
Christ Chapel Bible Church—Ft. Worth, TX
Faithbridge United Methodist Church—Houston, TX
Fellowship of The Woodlands – The Woodlands, TX
First Baptist Church Athens – Athens, TX
Gateway Church – Southlake, TX
Grace Bible Church—Houston, TX
Highland Park United Methodist Church – Dallas, TX
Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church – Houston, TX
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church—Houston, TX
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church – Houston, TX
Watermark Community Church – Dallas, TX
Wilshire Baptist Church—Dallas, TX
WoodsEdge Community Church – Spring, TX

Re-Entry Service Partners:
Caleb House
Covington House
Crossroads Community Services
One Man’s Treasure Clothes Closet
KivaZip Loans
The Lift Fund
PeopleFund (formerly The Plan Fund)
Ways to Work Car Loans
Workforce Solutions
The WorkFaith Connection

Since 2004, PEP has produced the nation’s leading results in the prison rehabilitation industry by dramatically reducing return-to-prison rates while considerably increasing employment rates and business ownership. We are proud of the hard work and results our graduates have achieved.

Our 2,300+ graduates have achieved the following impressive results:

STRONG EMPLOYMENT
100% of PEP graduates are employed within 90 days of release from prison; in fact, our graduates average only 20 days “from prison to paycheck.” We have achieved our employment metric every month since May 2010.

SMALL BUSINESS FORMATION/INCUBATOR
More than 360 businesses have been launched by PEP graduates, including five that generate over $1MM in gross annual revenue.

EXCELLENT JOB RETENTION
Nearly 100% of PEP graduates are still employed after 12 months (compared to a nearly 50% national unemployment rate among ex-offenders).

HIGHER THAN AVERAGE STARTING WAGE
PEP graduates have a $12.20/hour average starting wage (68% above minimum wage.)

EXCEPTIONALLY LOW RECIDIVISM
PEP graduates have an exceptionally low 7.5% three-year recidivism rate (compared to the national average of nearly 50%).

In recognition of our innovative work, PEP has received extensive media coverage as well as the Texas Governor’s Award for Criminal Justice Volunteer Service and a “Rising Star” award from the Monitor Group/Fast Company Social Capitalist Awards. PEP also ranked as a finalist in contests for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation and the Ashoka Changemakers award.

The above results are a clear indicator that we are effectively pursuing our mission. But we do not rest on our laurels. We are constantly refining, improving, and measuring every aspect of our program and its delivery to ensure we keep delivering results.

In ten years, by 2025, our goal is to be serving at least 4,300 men and women per year. In addition, within that timeframe, we expect our entrepreneurial business enterprises to be employing significant numbers of PEP graduates and to be generating sufficient cash flow to cover at least 30% of PEP’s annual operating expenses.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    PEP serves currently incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men in the state of Texas

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Data available soon.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Data available soon.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

PRISON ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM, INC.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

PRISON ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM, INC.

Board of directors
as of 7/16/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Pat Gotcher

(Retired) LifeSynch, Inc.

Term: 2019 - 2019

Robert Barkley

(Retired) Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss, Inc.

Dougal Cameron

Cameron Management

Mike Coffey

Intex Commercial Flooring LLC

Steve Hausman

Triumph Business Capital

Brandon Holcomb

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Mike Humphrey

Tanglewood Investments

Roger Manny

(Retired) Range Resources Corporation

Nancy White

(Retired) Timex, Corp.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/16/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/28/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.