Spotlight on The Philadelphia Reentry Coalition

I would guess that when you think about what it’s like to start a brewery, you imagine people wearing boots and flannel productively buzzing around big stainless steel tanks, brewing and tasting beer, as laughter and loud noises from the construction site punctuate the air. And this is all true — or will be once we have a home.

But any brewery will tell you that there is so much else that goes on behind the scenes — from the miles of documents a business needs to get a loan, to the always evolving conversations with patient graphic designers helping us try to look our best, to the blue sky discussions about what our culture and HR policies will be.

 A stakeholder meeting co-hosted by the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition and the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank. Photo by Mark Strandquist of the Reentry Think Tank.

A stakeholder meeting co-hosted by the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition and the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank. Photo by Mark Strandquist of the Reentry Think Tank.

For us, the topic of our team — how we treat each other, the professional development opportunities we offer, and the challenges we have to prepare for — is especially important because of our mission to create jobs for people who have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream workforce. This mission is core to who we are, but we are not bringing it to life on our own. We are working with a cadre of advisors, collaborators, and big thinkers to develop the skills, resources and empathy we need to best support our team. This city is filled with people who are devoting their minds and their time to making life better and fairer for everyone. We’ve been lucky to get to know so many of these good people, and are excited to lift up some of their work here. 

At Triple Bottom, some of our team members will have overcome some really challenging experiences to be with us, including experience in the criminal justice system. So we’ve been learning a lot from organizations that work in reentry — the process of someone returning to their community from jail or prison. 

Last month, I attended the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition’s quarterly stakeholder meeting. The Reentry Coalition connects organizations and agencies working on reentry so they can share resources and information to advance the collective vision that every person released to Philadelphia from jail or prison succeeds as a productive member of the community. 

The number of organizations involved in this work is overwhelming — it’s a huge and diverse ecosystem, which the Reentry Coalition has been helping to make more cohesive and collaborative since it was founded in 2012. The Coalition also spearheads research to help understand the current state of reentry in Philadelphia, so that we can the measure progress in reducing recidivism rates. And, it hosts stakeholder trainings to help equip members to be more effective in their work. Last week, I attended a training on trauma informed care, which was led by the Director of Behavioral Health and Justice Services for the City of Philadelphia. I came away having absorbed some big ideas and concrete tools that will help us to create a culture based on empathy at Triple Bottom. 

We’ll be silly, and challenge each other, and work together to brew great beers, but our hope is that all of our creativity and collaboration and growth is founded on appreciation for what everyone brings to the table, no matter where they were before. And we’re so lucky to be in a city with so many smart, generous organizations like the Reentry Coalition, who are helping us get to where we want to be. Cheers to you guys.

 Photo by Mark Strandquist of the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank.

Photo by Mark Strandquist of the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank.

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