Cardinal Innovations Partners with Freedom Fighting Missionaries to Help People Reenter Society After Incarceration

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — May 13, 2021
Charlotte, NC – Cardinal Innovations is helping to strengthen services for people who have a disability and are transitioning from incarceration back into society through a grant to Freedom Fighting Missionaries. The Charlotte-based non-profit supports individuals who have been incarcerated in jails and prisons by connecting them with services and resources unique to each individual.
With a Community Reinvestment Grant from Cardinal Innovations, Freedom Fighting Missionaries (FFM) will be able to expand their support of individuals who have a disability and are reentering society after incarceration. FFM provides temporary housing, job training, emergency healthcare, and technology assistance and focuses on each individual’s unique needs.
“The journey to self-sufficiency from poverty is difficult anywhere but it is especially difficult for those who have a criminal background and a disability. Cardinal Innovations’ support will help advance our mission to make the best out of a second chance for the clients we serve. With these funds, we will work to break down barriers that make it harder for formerly incarcerated people who have a disability to find a place to live and hold a job,” said Kenny Robinson, President and Founder of Freedom Fighting Missionaries.
“People who are experiencing a disability have particular challenges as they move from incarceration back into society. By helping these individuals access housing, healthcare and a job, they can get on the path to successfully reintegrating into the community and become lasting members of their community. We are pleased to support Freedom Fighting Missionaries in their efforts to give everyone a fresh start,” said Trey Sutten, CEO of Cardinal Innovations.
Climbing out of poverty is a well-documented challenge in Charlotte and the surrounding area, underscoring the importance of providing specialized assistance to people leaving prison or jail. In 2014, a report found that the city ranked last out of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas for upward mobility. A follow-up study released last year examined salary prospects for children who grew up in low-income households by the time they turn 34. By this metric, Mecklenburg County ranked 96th out the nation’s 100 largest counties for upward mobility.
Cardinal Innovations’ Community Reinvestment Grant will specifically help FFM
  • Support individuals with a criminal background and a disability with temporary housing.
  • Provide technology assistance – such as cell phones, laptops and wifi – to FFM clients.
  • Cover the cost of job training and provide a small stipend for those who are learning new skills.
  • Assist with emergency healthcare by covering the cost of copays and medicine for those who are waiting for benefits.
Freedom Fighting Missionaries was founded by Kenny Robinson, who was released from federal prison in 2012 after serving 10 years and one month. At the time of his release, Robinson was 33 years old with no real-world work skills, no resources or financial support and 5 children in school. He struggled to find a job but pressed forward until he was given an opportunity in the automotive industry, where he worked his way up to become a manager. He launched Freedom Fighting Missionaries because he didn't want those returning from jails and prisons to face the struggles that he did reentering society.
Freedom Fighting Missionaries’ team of professionals all have successfully transitioned from prison to self-sufficiency. The organization focuses its efforts on supporting those who have been incarcerated in jails and prisons by connecting them with services and resources that are specific to them. Additionally, Freedom Fighting Missionaries provides those who are moving from incarceration to society with assistance filling out online forms, someone to speak on their behalf, and instruction on how to use the Internet and cellular phones.
Cardinal Innovations believes that investing in North Carolina communities is key to ensuring that services and supports are available to those in need. As part of its commitment to community reinvestment, the organization considers Requests for Proposals to fund capital, equipment, and/or programmatic needs on an ongoing basis in the 20 counties it serves.
About Cardinal Innovations Healthcare:
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is a specialized health plan and care coordinator for Medicaid recipients and the under- and uninsured in North Carolina with complex behavioral and special needs. Cardinal Innovations connects people with treatment and support for mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders through a network of providers in their communities. The organization serves this important role in 20 counties. In 2020, Cardinal Innovations administered nearly $850 million for the care of 825,000 people in the region and invested more than $50 million to improve support systems and to respond to the pandemic. Cardinal Innovations also works with local governments to address public health concerns such as homelessness, suicide prevention, child welfare and domestic violence through education, engagement and outreach.
About Freedom Fighting Missionaries:
Freedom Fighting Missionaries is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on supporting those who have been incarcerated in jails and prisons by connecting them with services and resources that are specific to them. Its team of professionals all have successfully transitioned from prison to self-sufficiency. The non-profit assists with obtaining identifications, job readiness courses, referrals to healthcare, access to free skill training, access to counseling and mental health services, access to financial literacy and credit coaching classes, assistance with housing search and overall community support and voter registration for the formerly incarcerated. The organization’s intensive reentry services are designed to see barriers broken down, given the difficulty those who have a criminal background or a documented disability face.

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