Fund Provides Opportunity and Resources to Justice Impacted Entrepreneurs
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Creating IT Futures, the leading charity of CompTIA, announced today that it is supporting the work of the Manifest Freedom Fund to create sustainable liberation and economic freedom through entrepreneurship for people impacted by the criminal legal system, with a $100,000 donation.
Founded by attorney, author and entrepreneur Brittany K. Barnett, the Manifest Freedom Fund is shifting the paradigm to show the world changing impact that formerly incarcerated people can have when they have access to resources not to merely survive, but to thrive.
“We see justice-impacted entrepreneurs as a well of deep hope, of untapped potential and innovation,” said Barnett. “We are deeply grateful for CompTIA’s support of our work to help underserved entrepreneurs overcome the funding and capacity challenges that often stifle their growth. By investing in the ideas and initiatives of justice-impacted people, we manifest freedom.”
“CompTIA is committed to helping individuals reach their full potential, and that begins by providing them with the support, resources and encouragement to do so,” said Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures and CompTIA chief of staff. “We have collaborated with Brittany in the past, so we know first-hand the commitment and dedication of her organizations to create environments that allow people to flourish.”
CompTIA recently worked with Dallas-based Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM), another organization founded by Barnett, to provide women with enhanced education and training in employability and life skills with the aim of helping them secure jobs in the technology field.
To date, the Manifest Freedom Fund has invested over $300,000 in non-dilutive capital (grants), including to Like YOU!, a mental health tech startup founded by Chris Young.
“Chris received an unjust life sentence for a drug offense when he was only 22 years old,” Barnett said. “The Buried Alive Project won his freedom in January 2021 through presidential clemency by President Trump. Upon his release, he hit the ground running to launch a tech startup he dreamed would stop the rash of suicides plaguing young men like his brother, Robert.”
“Life can be very traumatic, and it’s exasperated even more when you feel alone,” Young said. “I’m grateful that Manifest Freedom and CompTIA believe in the vision of my company, Like YOU!, a culturally responsive mental health tool that helps remove the isolating effects of trauma and encourage people to journey towards a lifestyle of positive mental health. Even more heartfelt, I'm grateful for their belief in me.”
The Manifest Freedom Fund has also invested in start-up companies in the transportation, fintech and the food truck industries.
“Our entrepreneurs have tremendous visions for investing in the economic mobility of their employees – which include other justice-impacted people,” said Barnett. “This ripple effect has the power to transform lives, reduce the carceral footprint in this country, and change the narrative surrounding people impacted by the criminal legal system.”
Creating IT Futures’ donation to the Manifest Freedom Fund is the first of several the organization will make this year in support of organizations that are helping people reach their full potential.
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About Creating IT Futures As the leading charity of CompTIA, the world’s largest IT industry association, Creating IT Futures is taking on the tech workforce challenge through research, program development and partnering. We create on-ramps for more people to prepare for, secure and succeed in IT careers. www.creatingITfutures.org