Why Not Prosper, Inc. is a grass-roots 501c3 organization located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Dr. Michelle Simmons founded Why Not Prosper in 2000. Michelle was formerly incarcerated and has a deep understanding of the needs of women in the PA prison system.
Women exiting prison are a disenfranchised group, and typically, they are young, poor, women of color, with a low education level, and single mothers. Most have a history of substance abuse, sexual abuse, and intimate partner violence. When released from prison they have no income, unstable work history, few employment prospects, and most are at risk of homelessness.
For over 15 years we have provided a continuum of services from prison to community that support women in their re-entry journey. We provide Pre-Release Mentoring to incarcerated women at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and Muncy and Cambridge Springs. The heart of our programming is the transitional house founded in 2003, an intensive 6 - 12 month residency with a focus on securing gainful employment, maintaining sobriety, and family reunification. In addition, we host programs in Employee Mentoring, Women’s Advocacy, Graphic Arts, and a program for women leaving human trafficking called Breaking the Cycle.
The organization is governed by a 6-member Board of Directors, a 4-member advisory board and managed by 5 staff positions including an Executive Director, Clinical Director, Case Manager, House Monitor, and an Executive Assistant.