Turn90 Secures $2M Seed Funding From MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving

In a country that incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world, Turn90, a South Carolina-based nonprofit, has been awarded a transformative $2 million grant from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving to fund expansion. The organization was selected from over 6,000 applicants nationwide for its unique “therapeutic social enterprise” model that combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), on-the-job training, and personalized support to reduce recidivism and equip men with the skills and opportunities to succeed after prison. 

Turn90’s expansion is critical when criminal justice reform is at the forefront of the national conversation. With mounting evidence of the disproportionate impact of incarceration on communities of color and growing public support for alternatives to traditional punitive approaches, Turn90’s innovative model offers a promising solution to one of the most pressing social issues of our time.

The United States has seen a sevenfold increase in incarceration since 1970, far outpacing population growth and crime. Nearly 10 million Americans, including millions of children, have an immediate family member in jail or prison. Racial disparities persist, with one out of every three Black boys born today expected to go to prison in his lifetime, compared with one of every 17 white boys. Nationwide, 62% of people are rearrested within three years after release. Turn90 is part of the solution.

“This incredible grant from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving is not just a financial boost—it’s a powerful endorsement of our work and vision for the future,” says Amy Barch, Founder of Turn90. “Receiving $2M in seed funding is exactly what we need right now to take Turn90 to the next level.”

Turn90’s Holistic Approach Yields Impressive Results

Turn90’s holistic and immersive approach is promising: Eighty-eight percent of graduates retain employment for 90 days or more and 78 percent remain arrest-free. In 2024, Turn90 plans to support 120 men recently released from prison.

Turn90 exists to level the playing field for men who have experienced a lifetime of disadvantage. Each person is hired full-time, including those who have never worked and have lengthy and serious criminal histories. One in five Turn90 participants had never worked legally, and half were arrested more than seven times. Additionally, one in three do not have a GED or high school diploma, and 77% were first arrested as a youth.

Individuals leaving prison have needs unique to their life histories, risk factors, and reentry challenges. Networks of criminal associates, lifestyle addictions, and norms of violence combine with poverty, felony labels, and a lack of job skills and education to create a very challenging situation at the prison’s door. Turn90 is a specialized solution to solve this complex problem. The organization operates two reentry centers in South Carolina, with a third opening in 2024. 

Graduate Success Story

A Turn90 graduate Malik had spent years entrenched in a criminal lifestyle before finding his way to the organization. “At first I was just looking for a way to get out of the halfway house,” Malik remembers, “but during my intake, I remember being told that I had a high chance of going back to prison. Hearing that motivated me to really try.” Through Turn90’s program, Malik found the support and skills to turn his life around. He now works as a Print Shop Manager at Turn90’s Columbia Center, leading a team of men following in his footsteps.

The Power of the Therapeutic Social Enterprise Model

Turn90’s “therapeutic social enterprise” model sets the organization apart by integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and transitional work and embedding the two into a program experience.  

  • CBT has been shown to reduce violence and other criminal behavior across populations and settings, with every $1 spent on delivering CBT to adult offenders yielding a savings of $6.31 in avoided criminal justice and associated healthcare costs. 
  • By founding social enterprise businesses, Turn90 can place the men it serves in a paying job, allowing staff to spend significant time with them and provide CBT in a safe and controlled community setting. 
  • In 2023 alone, Turn90 employed 111 men, provided 629 hours of one-on-one support, and conducted 914 cognitive behavioral classes.

Statewide Recognition and Plans for Expansion

In recognition of its significant contributions to social and economic progress in South Carolina, Turn90 will be honored with the 2024 OneSouthCarolina Partners in Progress Award at the Building OneSouthCarolina Forum on May 15 in Columbia. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and two-term S.C. Governor Dick Riley will present the award at the forum, where key stakeholders will discuss Turn90’s origins, successes, challenges, and future plans. 

While poised for national expansion, Turn90 remains deeply committed to its South Carolina roots. The organization plans to open a third center in Spartanburg in late 2024, further expanding its impact within the state beyond its Charleston and Columbia facilities. Turn90’s newest venture, T90 Logistics, a third-party assembly and kitting business launched in 2023, will provide employment and job training for companies across the region at the Spartanburg location.

T90 Logistics offers a range of services, including assembly, order fulfillment, kitting, quality control, and light manufacturing. By outsourcing these non-core tasks to T90 Logistics, businesses can reduce expenses, free up space, save time, and access flexible labor without the costly expense of hiring and training permanent employees. T90 Logistics is dedicated to making the production process smoother, faster, and more cost-effective for its partners.

A Model for National Replication

Making a deep investment in a person’s emotional, social, behavioral, and financial well-being gives them the skills to manage life differently, a pathway to legal employment, and an offramp from the incarceration cycle. This supported workplace model fills a critical gap in the prison reentry landscape and can potentially revolutionize the field.

Turn90’s work in South Carolina is part of a bigger vision. The organization aims to create a model of prison reentry proven to reduce recidivism that can be replicated nationwide – something that has never been done before. By disrupting generational cycles of incarceration, Turn90 aims to create opportunities for success after prison where they don’t currently exist.

Be Part of the Change

Turn90 invites supporters, partners, and communities to join in its efforts to reshape the future of criminal justice reform. Businesses interested in partnering with Turn90 or utilizing their services, such as T90 Logistics, are encouraged to contact Turn90 via their website, https://turnninety.com.

About Turn90

Turn90 is a South Carolina 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to equipping men with the skills and opportunities needed to succeed after prison. Through the development of critical social, emotional, and workforce skills, coupled with access to living wage employment, Turn90 creates a viable path out of the incarceration cycle. For more information, please visit www.turnninety.com

About Yield Giving/Lever for Change

Launched in 2023, the Yield Giving Open Call identifies and supports organizations committed to enhancing well-being among the nation’s most underserved. The Open Call was managed in partnership with Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems—including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, access to economic opportunity, and climate change.


About the Riley Institute at Furman University

The Riley Institute at Furman University advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond. It fosters leadership for a diverse society, hosts expert speakers, supports public education, and undertakes community solutions-focused research. The Institute is committed to a nonpartisan, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at Furman University’s Riley Institute https://furman.edu/riley

Media Contact:

Sterling Eason  

Eason Creative Studio, on behalf of Turn90  

Email: communications@turnninety.com

Phone: 843-300-8879

Website: https://turnninety.com/

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