I left prison with an AB from Harvard. I also left the program with a pardon from Governor Frank Kelly and a chance at a better life than I ever imagined having. The program helped me to land a job managing a New York literary agent’s Detroit satellite office. It also gave me a free place to live during my first two years out of prison, two years of free medical coverage, dental, eyecare, psychological counseling, money to purchase work attire, and six months free food subsistence. For nearly two decades now I’ve worked as a literary agent to A-list authors like Cornell West, Henry Louis Gates, Pearl Cleage, Bishop T.D. Jakes, etc. I also up-started America’s largest black-owned Christian publishing corporation. All thanks to God, Dr. Josiah, Dr. Maria Romero, Prof. Anthony Dougherty’s mentorship in the publishing and film industry, and the rest of Dr. Joe’s incredible staff.
After all these years of receiving blessing after blessing, it gives me great pleasure to give back. My companies have donated funds to Dr. Ogbu’s nonprofit. I’ve also influenced other black business owners to do the same. I’ve personally mentored twelve NPEF interns over the years. Maybe sixty or seventy more have been mentored by others within my companies or in the companies of others I know. Lastly, I’ve worked diligently to get just over three dozen NPEF graduates hired in the literary/publishing/film industries. If not for the selfless work of Dr. Josiah and his people at NPEF, all these people and I would either be dead or languishing in prison right now. God bless Dr. Josiah and NPEF.
– Denise Stinson