Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation aims to galvanize the business community to adopt and implement Second Chance Employment. They work directly with employers to build leadership buy-in, adopt Second Chance Employment, and share recommendations and best practices.
Five years ago, Genevieve Martin was tasked with identifying the next initiative to better support Dave’s Killer Bread’s (DKB) workforce, where one in three DKB partners has a criminal background. Through some initial research and networking efforts, it quickly became clear that employment, as a whole, was a crucial challenge for returning citizens. And that’s how Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation born.
1. What’s changed in terms of DKBs original goals? Has your mission evolved or tracked towards the north star that was set out in the beginning? Early on, we decided as a company, the role we had to play that would be the most credible and helpful would be to help people understand what employment meant in the formula of returning to the community from incarceration or felony convictions. Therefore, our mission hasn’t changed—our goal is still to work with employers to understand that second chance hiring isn’t this big scary thing. It’s possible, simple, and where we, at Dave’s Killer Bread, get our star performers.
2. What are you most excited about for the future of DKBF? When we first started this work nearly five years ago, there wasn’t much conversation or education around the topic of second chance hiring. Now there’s a lot more awareness, along with bipartisan support. It’s been encouraging to see that shift and in tandem with that, it’s the best time for us to do this work and have these conversations.
3. How do you center people most impacted within your strategy? In three key ways: first and foremost, we have formerly incarcerated people on our board of directors who help influence and shape our strategy. Second, when we get media opportunities, we draw from a bench of people who have backgrounds to share their voices and perspectives. Third, we rely on events, such as our second chance panels, where you hear directly from impacted individuals. They share who they’ve been, where they are now, and what they’ve been able to attain. Turns out, it’s really hard to argue with someone who’s turned their life around and has been promoted five times.
4. Who are you partnering with to achieve your goals? We offer employers multiple paths to embracing second chance hiring. One of them is through the Second Chance Business Coalition, which is a group of private sector companies who understand the value of second chance employment. Together, our goal is to build resources and recruit other employers to adopt these practices and become ambassadors of second chance hiring.
5. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to employers who want to adopt fairer hiring practices? Do it thoughtfully, and do it with intentionality. A lot of employers I talk to are excited by the prospect of second chance hiring and want to get started right away. But while enthusiasm is important, these companies need to understand what they’re signing up, along with the challenges and stigmas individuals face when they come back to the community, before they can start interviewing talent.
Genevieve Martin is the founding executive director of the Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation. Recognizing that people with criminal backgrounds are a vital part of the workforce who are talented, motivated—and often overlooked—the foundation pursues projects that break down stigmas and change the narrative around people with felony convictions. Genevieve travels the country sharing candid insight and best practices of employers who do this work well, all while growing their bottom line.