I have the privilege of serving as a board member of the Corrections Foundation whose mission is to support the programs, personnel, and services of the Department of Corrections (DC) through grants, contributions, and community partnerships in the interest of public safety. Membership is comprised of Department of Corrections’ employees, contractors, retired department employees, and various individuals.
The Chair of the Foundation is former DC Secretary Louie Wainwright, Sr. who served at the helm of DC from 1962 to 1987. Secretary Wainwright was an innovator who started prison education programs and was a strong advocate for work release to provide inmates with a transition from prison back to society. I started my career with the Parole Commission in 1982 right out of college and Secretary Wainwright became a mentor and friend. In his nineties today, we stay close and his energy is amazing, especially when it comes to helping those who are public safety servants.
After Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle last fall, nearly 300 prison employees were displaced (many had no property insurance as their average salary is around $30,000/year) and thousands of prisoners had to be relocated to facilities throughout the state. DC is the second largest employer in the panhandle It has taken months to know exactly how badly the October 10 storm has impacted the region’s 23 prisons. Damage estimates are in the tens of millions of dollars.
The Foundation was able to help many of the affected employees with small grants to give them a chance to make their way – to buy groceries, pay a utility bill or pay a mortgage. I am proud to say that nearly 800 prison employees who lost or sustained severe damage to their homes in the storm received a total of $450,000 in assistance from the Corrections Foundation. Since 1999, the foundation has provided $8.3 million in financial assistance to correctional staff. Each member of the Foundation donates $2 a month from their paycheck to help their fellow employees.
Often I hear from so many of you who say, “Lisa, every newsletter edition you continue to talk about Hurricane Michael. What can I do and I can’t do big things”! Here’s what you can do: send $24 to the Corrections Foundation, 501 S. Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399. You will be helping a lot of struggling folks who still need to make their way.
LMA Newsletter of 3-25-19