Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Announces the Center for Employment Opportunities as its First Social Impact Investment into Detroit

Mar 12, 2018


The Center for Employment Opportunities is a national leader in providing employment for formerly incarcerated citizens and will receive $600,000 and expansion support to enter Detroit.

Detroit, MI – GreenLight Fund Detroit selected the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) today as the first organization it will bring to Detroit under its portfolio of social impact programs to support low income residents. GreenLight’s four-year, unrestricted $600,000 investment provides the majority of philanthropic funding for CEO’s Detroit expansion and sustainability, where it will grow using a social enterprise and earned income model.

After a year-long needs assessment and due diligence process, GreenLight chose CEO for its proven ability to provide immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to recently incarcerated citizens. CEO’s highly structured and tightly supervised programs reduce recidivism and help participants regain the skills and confidence for successful transitions to stable, productive lives.

“As our city comes back, we need to make sure that every Detroiter has the ability to participate in that comeback,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “This partnership with GreenLight Fund Detroit and the Center for Employment Opportunities will bring a critical support to our returning citizens so they can have access to employment opportunities and become productive members of our community.”

GreenLight Fund Detroit will accelerate the new program’s launch locally as well as serve on CEO’s local advisory board, deepen relationships with local partners, and support their business planning.  “GreenLight is similar to a traditional venture partner in ensuring CEO’s local success and fidelity to their evidence-based model,” said Rishi Moudgil, Founding Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Detroit. “We’re excited to serve as a catalyst for CEO to begin and grow their important work for families in Detroit almost immediately.”

CEO will launch its Detroit program in the spring of 2018, with the goal of serving several hundred returning citizens annually by its third year of operations. CEO is currently recruiting a local Detroit Director, as well as other permanent staff members ranging from site supervisors to business account managers and job coaches. “We are thrilled that CEO will be launching in Detroit, and especially grateful for the GreenLight Fund Detroit’s support and partnership in making this a reality,” said CEO’s Chief Executive Officer, Sam Schaeffer. “We look forward to working with the City, local organizations, and the State to help people returning home develop the job skills and work experience that will enable them to succeed in the community.”

GreenLight Fund Detroit’s inaugural selection cycle focused on connecting residents to jobs, particularly young people with existing barriers to employment. With over 2,500 individuals returning from prison to Detroit annually, the youngest suffer the lowest odds of achieving stability later in life. CEO is most successful when working with these high-risk, young adults. Overall, independent evaluation has shown CEO to reduce new crime convictions by 22%, decrease the number of days incarcerated by 30%, and gain $3.30 in societal benefits and cost savings for every $1 spent (MDRC 2012 study).

“We believe CEO has the experience and commitment to make a significant impact on formerly incarcerated Detroiters,” said Heidi Washington, Director at the State of Michigan Department of Corrections. “CEO’s proven model can directly address the unique workforce needs of a significant number of returning citizens and will not only benefit those individuals, but the families and communities to which they return.”

About the Center for Employment Opportunities:

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is dedicated to providing immediate, effective and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions. CEO, a national non-profit organization headquartered in New York City, operates in 20 cities across eight states, helping 5000 participants annually regain the skills and confidence needed for successful transitions to stable, productive lives. Learn more at:

Current CEO Detroit staff openings can be found at

 About the GreenLight Fund:

The GreenLight Fund is a national venture philanthropy organization that transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas. GreenLight builds local infrastructure and runs a consistent annual process to identify critical needs that inform the replication and sustainability of proven social impact programs. Founded in Boston in 2003, GreenLight has grown to six cities since 2013, including Detroit in 2016. GreenLight aims to grow a national network of sites that learn and work collaboratively to find and spread proven social impact solutions that achieve meaningful and measurable impact on critical issues in local communities.

Learn more or sign-up for the GreenLight Detroit newsletter at

Please note: GreenLight Fund is a separate 501(c)(3) organization that has no affiliation with “Project GreenLight,” a public safety program within the Detroit Police Department.