Ladies Empowerment and Action Program Inc

To Empower and Help Women Navigate the Barriers Faced During Re-entry

aka LEAP or Dragonfly   |   Miami, FL   |  www.leapforladies.org

Mission

LEAP empowers women who have experienced incarceration through transformational opportunities, programs, services and advocacy.

Ruling year info

2009

Executive Director

Mahlia Lindquist

Main address

3141 SW 8th Street, Suite A

Miami, FL 33135 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-0193483

NTEE code info

Rehabilitation Services for Offenders (I40)

Employment Training (J22)

Housing Search Assistance (L30)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The rate of incarceration for women in the past 30 years is more than 700% — far outpacing the rate for men. Historically, the focus of prison systems has been primarily on retribution, even though incarcerated people who participate in prison education programs are 43% less likely to go back than those who do not. The few programs that do exist are geared toward men, with only 14% of women in Florida prisons receiving any programming whatsoever. LEAP seeks to address the unique pathways to prison for women--domestic violence and sexual assault leading to substance abuse- to provide graduates with the tools and support necessary to sustain themselves post-release by creating their own small business or obtaining employment. Equipping inmates with the skills necessary to create a small business or secure jobs, gain economic stability, and support their families in turn positively impacts the community by empowering the most marginalized demographic within South Florida.

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?

Female Offender Entrepreneurial and Employment Initiative

LEAP is the first of its kind re-entry program for women operating in the Florida prison system, and the only entrepreneurship-based program dedicated to preparing incarcerated women to re-enter society. The goal is to provide graduates with the tools and support necessary to sustain themselves post-release by creating their own small business or obtaining employment. Equipping inmates with the skills necessary to create a small business or secure jobs, gain economic stability, and support their families in turn positively impacts the community by empowering the most marginalized demographic within South Florida. The efforts made by LEAP help to rejuvenate the local workforce, lessens the strain on local resources, and helps reduce crime in our communities. The re-entry program, aims to reduce recidivism.

LEAP currently runs two classes per year each one lasting 8 months with over 300 hours of coursework. The program includes entrepreneurship, extensive cognitive behavioral work, employability skills classes and life skills workshops such as parenting, goal setting and decision. The classroom instruction and materials are specifically designed to foster a spirit of independence and initiative.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Women and girls

LEAP's newest initiative is the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique, which opened in 2018 . The boutique is ground zero for our paid retail internship, where LEAP graduates are able to earn an income and also attend to their mental and physical health issues, which are often significant post release, as well as AA/NA meetings (all interns are required to attend every day while employed at the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique. In addition to training and an immediate source of income, their employment at the boutique is an opportunity to earn a positive job reference for future employment.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Women and girls

Where we work

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.

LEAP goals are as follows:
*Provide participants with exemplary entrepreneurship training and financial counseling resulting in economic empowerment.
*Facilitate higher learning with expert instruction to implement entrepreneurship training.
*Continue to support participants and program graduates by supplying references, counseling services, and connecting LEAP graduates to community resources and relationships such as women's association, internships, mentors and employers.
*Increase community involvement and program awareness.
*Foster new relationships and collaborate with others interested in replicating the program.
*Establish LEAP's Dragonfly Thrift Boutique as a place for women coming out of prison to get job training, establish a work history, and provide a stream of income to support LEAP programming into the future.
*Continue to secure support for the ongoing delivery and growth of the program.
*Continue to support participants and program graduates by supplying references for counseling services, workplace internships, and micro-financing resources.
*Identify and meet with women associations in the community, who may be potential mentors or employers.
*Advocate and educate the community on issues related to re-entry for incarcerated women — community acceptance is essential if formerly incarcerated women are to successfully stay out of prison and become self-supporting.

Key Strategies:
*Continue to oversee the entire LEAP program, including the following: Rigorous in-prison program conducted in a classroom setting three times per week over 8 months and 300 hours covering: 1) entrepreneurship 2) employability training 3) cognitive behavioral life skills 4) case management 5) mentorship 6) post release follow up and linkage to resources.
*Continue to oversee the Sacred House, while also developing permanent housing options
*Establish the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique as a successful example of the business lessons taught in prison
* Host monthly informational events for potential mentors/volunteers
*Call on Florida local, state and federal lawmakers in an effort to seek financial support and increase awareness.
*Increase in visibility using Social Media strategies and digital marketing
*Arrange "impact" breakfast/lunches, presentations and one-on-one meetings with individuals in our community.
*Network and partner with services agencies to provide additional needs for participants (i.e. housing, education, counseling, mentorship, career training, apprenticeship, and business startup assistance).
*Continue to work closely with the community to raise awareness, procure financial support, and employment for LEAP graduates.
*Attend and make presentations at community meetings and women's organizations.
*Continue as an active participant in the Miami-Dade Re-Entry Committee.
*Seek to expand the program to other areas.

LEAP has developed key alliances and partnerships to deliver a compressive pre and post release program for women transitioning from prison:
*Barry University Andreas School of Business deliver 10 weeks of entrepreneurship
* An MOU with the Florida Department of Corrections allows LEAP to interview women imprisoned in all the Florida Women's prisons for admission into LEAP, and DOC transfers all accepted candidates to prison in South Florida for classes
*Partnership with the Center For Social Change to provide transitional housing for up to 8 women transitioning from prison
*An active, experienced and committed board of directors who participate in all aspects of the program.
* Partnership with Transition, Inc, which provides an instructor for 6 weeks employability skills class
*Various professionals from the community who volunteer within their respective areas of expertise to supplement curriculum.

LEAP graduated its first class in July, 2010. To date we have graduated 161 women from the Homestead Correctional Institute. The LEAP recidivism rate is 5% vs over 50% for ex offenders nationally. 16 graduates have started their own business, over 90% have jobs within 90 days of release, and a 100% have been provided housing upon release.

In addition, LEAP is recognized as a leader in the area of women's re-entry and have been featured on all of the major media outlets. We participate on panels and as keynote speakers on average of 12 times per year and was recognized as most innovative non profit by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Financials

Ladies Empowerment and Action Program Inc
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Operations

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

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Ladies Empowerment and Action Program Inc

Board of directors
as of 12/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Silvana Roncal

Shed Boren

Silvana Roncal

Rebecca Brown

Trixie Belo-Osagie

Nancy Gillespie

Jaime Anzalotta

Kevin Brown

Holly Woodbury

Gemma Garcia

Founder

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 12/23/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/23/2021

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.