Jeff Beer's article explores how ConCreates, a non-traditional creative agency, helps currently and formerly incarcerated individuals maximize their potential while overcoming the challenges of being judged for their past.
1. Changing the stigma of how society perceives incarcerated individuals by offering employment.
Vincent Bragg and Janeya Griffin founded ConCreates, a creative agency solely employing formerly or currently incarcerated people with the mission to change the stigma around justice-involved individuals. Bragg served about 5 years in federal prison, where he came up with the idea for ConCreates.
“Our mission is to challenge the stigma of how society views people with a criminal history, as well as how people with a criminal history view themselves. If we’re able to show them they’re not just a bank robber, or not just a drug dealer, that they have creative potential, then we can show them an opportunity to take a new career path.”
2. The idea to help individuals turn the skills that landed them in prison into a positive force for society.
After Bragg was released, Tim Jones, the executive strategy director at 72andSunny (an agency with clients such as Samsung, Facebook, and Seventh Generation) helped Bragg and Griffin to set up their fledgling agency with focus areas such as brand identity, business operations, and promotional film production. ConCreates works directly with clients and other partners including creative agencies, PR and research firms, and production companies.
The agency operates on a crowdfunding model. There are 436 people behind bars and 319 people on the outside who are part of ConCreates’ network. They are continuously growing while focusing on the unique skills of the team members depending on the work needed. The idea is not just to reintegrate people into society, but to teach them how to use the skills that landed them in prison as a positive force for society.
“We built a creative network based on certain individual skillsets,” says Bragg. “Where most might see a bank robber, we see a strategist.”
Read Jeff Beer’s whole article here: bit.ly/concreatesjeffbeerarticle