CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville nonprofit working to help formerly incarcerated people is doubling down on its efforts with two new programs amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Fountain Fund just established a new $500,000 loan fund and an emergency assistance fund both to help former inmates rebuild their lives.
For two years the Fountain Fund has provided low-interest loans to client-partners or people just finishing their incarceration period. Now, the group is establishing a the new loan fund to continue those efforts. The group is also establishing an emergency assistance fund of up to $600 for existing client-partners who experience an unexpected expense such as a car repair.
“We criminalize poverty and that’s unfair, and if we can help people remove some of those collateral consequences, those financial barriers, when they return from prison they’ll be more successful and we as a community will be more productive,” Fountain Fund Founder Tim Heaphy says.
One individual, Martize Tolbert, served six years in prison. He was released and says he had no skills and no ability to make money. That all changed when he found out about the Fountain Fund. “By the blessings now I am full time staff here at the Fountain Fund so now I can help individuals like myself,” he says.
The founder hopes to grow the nonprofit’s efforts across the state and country.