Sponsoring the Ohio Green Prison Project

Allison Canton Former Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellow in Nonprofit Law // Leah Morgan
Aug 22, 2013

This is part two in a multi-part series highlighting Vera’s fiscal sponsorship program. Read the first post here.

The Ohio Green Prison Project (OGPP) is an example of a sponsored project that was “spun into” Vera. OGPP designs and implements vocational training and reentry programs that benefit incarcerated people and reduce the environmental impact and costs of prisons. You can read about how the idea for OGPP was developed and how it came to Vera here. What makes OGPP unique is that the idea for the project came from a currently incarcerated person, and was supported by a prison warden.

Vera recognized the OGPP’s potential and agreed to serve as its fiscal sponsor in March 2010. Through fiscal sponsorship, OGPP has been able to access legal and tax-exempt status, payroll services, employee benefits, fundraising assistance, and other services. Through its affiliation with Vera, a long-time proponent of safe and cost-effective criminal justice reforms, OGPP was able to attract national attention. Over the course of its sponsorship, OGPP’s founders felt the project’s potential could best be reached under Vera’s direction, and Vera agreed to invest more of its time, financial resources, and energy into OGPP. In late 2010, OGPP became a formal Vera project housed in both Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections and its Department of Planning and Government Innovation.

The OGPP model is currently being piloted at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and its work has led to the introduction of inmate-led environmental literacy programs in facilities across Ohio. Upon completion of the pilot this September, Vera will be available to serve as a resource to organizations interested in strategic sustainability initiatives in correctional settings and the lessons offered by the OGPP model. According to Evan Elkin, Director of Vera’s Planning Department, OGPP has evolved to become a “sophisticated and replicable model, with the potential to generate enough savings to pay for itself several times over.