Archive for the ‘PEP Supporters’ Category


Our good friends at Insperity are holding a clothing drive for PEP this week!

For years, these wonderful corporate citizens have provided a loyal group of volunteers for the monthly events in our in-prison Business Plan Competition. Many of them continue to volunteer in the “free world” with PEP, including advocating for us through their Community Involvement Program.

Their generosity will help us to provide our graduates with the most essential gifts that PEP offers: Restored Hope and a New Identity.

If your business or faith community would be interested in hosting a clothing drive for PEP, please contact us at Thank you!

The following press release is from one of our awesome corporate sponsors in Austin … look, donating generously to PEP can even win you an award!!

Want to thank Zuma for supporting PEP? Buy your office supplies from them here!

Zuma Office Supply Receives Austin Gives Award for Top Philanthropic Efforts
Community Program Recognizes Austin Companies that Give Back at Awards Event

Zuma Office Supply

(Austin, TX) January 28, 2014 – Austin Gives, an organization dedicated to recognizing and encouraging business philanthropy, awarded Zuma Office Supply for their outstanding efforts in giving back to the community.  The awards ceremony to celebrate and encourage citywide giving took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, and included community leaders, local businesses and the nonprofits they support.  

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits, was the keynote speaker, who spoke on the importance of business philanthropy in society.  Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell was also a featured speaker, and Judy Maggio and Walt Maciborski, anchors for KEYE TV, were the event’s emcees.

“Most people have either time or resources to donate, and businesses are no different,” said John Paul DeJoria. “We contribute to make the world a better place to live, which makes everyone better, and in Austin, the generosity of local businesses makes this city a better place to live.”

Zuma Wins Charitable Champion Award

Zuma Office Supply received the Charitable Champion Award for their support of nonprofits through monetary donations, and volunteered time.   Their business model is structured to donate a minimum of 50% of the company’s annual profits to 10 nonprofits each year, which are selected through a voting process completed by Zuma’s customers while shopping online.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We are very proud that the Prison Entrepreneurship Program is one of these recipients!)

Additionally, Zuma employee’s volunteer time through company-wide projects, which have included providing relief for those affected by the recent Austin floods and holiday food drives.  Zuma’s Capital Area Food Bank food drive at Vandegrift High School raised an amazing 2850 pounds of food which equals 2375 meals for hungry Central Texans during the holiday season.  In 2013, Zuma won 2nd place in the Capital Area Food Bank’s Small Business Challenge, and they also participated in the Salvation Army’s Shoe-In program which donated over 800 pairs of shoes and 2000 pairs of socks to school children in need of footwear.

“We believe that business has a unique opportunity to help others and create positive social change,” said Greg Pierce, President and co-founder of Zuma Office Supply.  “Volunteering and giving back to worthy charitable organizations adds immense meaning to our daily work lives.”  Pierce went on to say that Zuma practices a Conscious Capitalism business model, and when businesses give back it’s good for the community, good for employees, and ultimately good for the business itself.

As part of the award, Austin Gives donated $1000 on behalf of Zuma to the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, a shelter facility run by the Salvation Army.  Other Austin Gives award winners included eBay and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for their extraordinary charitable work in the community.  All three companies were recognized at the Austin Gives event.

“I’m proud to support an organization that promotes the overall social and economic welfare of the city of Austin by encouraging local businesses to give back,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Austin Gives has achieved tremendous growth, and I look forward to seeing the success of this Austin community program continue for years to come.”

About Zuma Office Supply

Zuma Office Supply is an ecommerce office supplies retailer who provides over 40,000 various office products to businesses nationwide.  Through their website, they provide next day nationwide delivery for most orders, and have a business model that donates over 50% of annual profits to ten nonprofit organizations.  Zuma is headquartered in Austin, TX.

To learn more about Zuma Office Supply, visit, email,, or call toll free 877-473-4097.

About Austin Gives’ GeneroCity Awards

The Austin Gives GeneroCity Award Program was created to recognize Austin businesses that are leaders in giving back to community-based, non-profit organizations. Each year, one small, one medium and one large business is recognized at the annual GeneroCity Awards celebration.  Award recipients are selected by a panel comprised of local community leaders, including Nikelle Meade of Husch Blackwell; John-Michael Cortez of Capital Metro; Olga Campos of U.S. Money Reserve; Denise Bradley of St. David’s Healthcare; and Bobby Jenkins of ABC Home & Commercial Services.  

To learn more information about Austin Gives or to join the organization at no charge, visit, email or contact Debbie Johnson, executive director of Austin Gives at 512-517-9485. 

2013 Grad Giving

PEP does not just transform inmates into entrepreneurs:
we convert felons into philanthropists!

Please join our graduates by making a donation at

Click here to donate to PEP.

Click here to donate to PEP.

PEP is 100% privately funded, so your donations drive all of our results … and what results they are!

You helped us to celebrate our 1,000th graduate this year!

You equipped our graduates to maintain a 100% employment rate within 90 days of release from prison … with almost  3/4 of them employed within the first month!

You supported the launch of our 150th graduate-owned business!

And best of all, you made amazing stories possible … like these testimonials that we have shared on the blog.

WOW! You have made quite an impact!

In about four weeks, we expect to launch our largest class ever. But we need your renewed help to do so.

We are about $15,000 short of our goal for the year. Whatever amount you can contribute, we need your help. You can donate online today at

Can we count on you before the end of the year?

At NO COST to you, The Giving Library will donate to PEP if you:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Share Now” to share it on Facebook or Twitter
  3. PEP gets $5!

Thank you!

The Giving Library, an online video archive that connects donors to nonprofits, is kicking off a $100,000 “Share to Give” campaign on #GivingTuesday, the national day of giving, which falls this year on December 3.

Visitors to the Giving Library website ( are able to view videos about PEP at

BEST OF ALL … if you sign up for a free “Library Card,” the Giving Library will donate $5 to PEP every time you share our videos on Facebook or Twitter!

The process is easy:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “sign up with Facebook” or “sign up with email”
  3. Once you are signed up, go to
  4. Click “Share now” to share on Facebook and/or Twitter and The Giving Library will donate $5 to PEP. That’s it!

Thank you for supporting PEP!

PEP relies upon a network of over 600 volunteers each year to deliver our mission.

This includes in-prison volunteers as well as business plan advisors who serve remotely, but it also includes a growing number of volunteers who serve outside of prison as eSchool teachers, mentors and more.

Below are some pictures of these volunteers in action — providing Thanksgiving meals to our graduates and helping PEP to build a genuine community around the lives of our graduates. Thank you to everyone who made these wonderful events possible!

Rockwell Fund Grantee Profile on PEPOne of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program‘s most critical partners is the Rockwell Fund. This private foundation’s inspired leaders have adopted an innovative approach to philanthropy that removes many of the barriers that traditionally exist between grant-makers and grant-recipients. They describe their mission as “pursuing change through cooperative philanthropy” — a term that perfectly describes their approach to working with PEP.

For several years, the Rockwell Fund has provided operating grants that enabled PEP to sustain our mission while deepening our impact.

And yet, the partnership is about far more than simply funding. PEP and the Rockwell Fund are true mission partners that are aligned in our efforts to transform the prison system.

You can read more about our partnership on The Rockwell Fund’s Web site here:

PEP has some of the nation’s best results in in terms of post-release employment, small business formation and prevention of recidivism among the formerly incarcerated.  While these metrics are important, there is one that we believe is even more valuable:

Nearly one in three gifts that we have received this year is from a graduate of our program!

Within this group, we just recently achieved a first … a donation from a man who is still in prison and who donated to PEP from his commissary account. In fact, after donating a few times to PEP, this man has found a way to register for our monthly giving program even though he is still in prison!

Below is the note that came with his first donation. He wants to dedicate his donation to provide stuffed animals to the children who attend our graduation event this December. In this way, he is investing directly in the families of the men with whom he works every day.

Your support of PEP is not just helping ex-offenders to find employment; it is converting felons in to philanthropists. Thank you!

(To make your own gift to PEP, please click here.)

Chivas donation letter

Steve Heussner Mogul Wealth

Steve Heussner, Chairman of Mogul Wealth, in prison during PEP’s Pitch Day event

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program is very pleased to announce that Steve Heussner has joined our Dallas Advisory Board!

Steven J. Heussner, CLU®, ChFC® is the co-founder and Chairman of Mogul Wealth Strategies, LLC in Dallas, Texas. He is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive 401K, wealth strategies and employee benefits practice.

Steve earned his BSE in Geological Engineering from Princeton University.

Steve has worked as an insurance agent and investment professional for over 24 years. He started his career in 1988 as an agent with New York Life, where he won numerous company and industry awards. He is the author of many published articles. He is an accomplished public speaker having given multiple presentations to industry and professional groups including New York Life’s Career Conference, the International Risk management Institute, the Construction Financial management Association, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He is also a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Steve and his wife, Risa, live in McKinney, Texas with their 2 children.