As with other events nationwide, the second and third luncheons in Project 180’s annual lecture series were postponed due to the pandemic. With high hopes and great optimism, we originally intended to pick up again this Friday, June 12. Clearly, that goal was too enthusiastic.
We began celebrating Second Chance employers on March 6th with The Honorable Kimberly C. Bonner and keynote speaker Felix Massey. We look forward to continuing the series on the dates listed below.

The Honorable Kimberly C. Bonner (left) Chief Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit Speaker.  Roxie Jerde President/CEO, Community Foundation of Sarasota County Breaker of Chains Sponsor. Sherry Koski, The Koski Family Foundation, Breaker of Chains Sponsor.



Joe Malave Project 180 Board of Directors (left) Raymond James Breaker of Chains Sponsor.   Felix Massey Keynote Speaker, March 6, 2020 Society for Human Resource Management.

Remaining lectures for “Celebrating Second Chance Employers”

Please join us on
October 9  for a panel discussion with Second Chance employers and employees
November 13  to hear Dave Dahl, keynote speaker. Founder and former owner of Dave’s Killer Bread
All other information for the series remains the same:
Location: Michael’s on East, 1212 East Ave., Sarasota
Time: Doors open at 11:00 for registration and networking; luncheon begins promptly at 11:30 am and ends at 1:00 pm
Tickets: Tickets are $35 each and include lunch. Secure tickets  here
Already purchased tickets for the April 3 luncheon?  They’ll be honored at the October 9 panel discussion*
Tickets already purchased for May 8  will be honored at the November 13 lecture*
*If you need to make other arrangements concerning your tickets e.g., you bought tickets for April 3 and can’t make October 9, please let us know by contacting us at
A Message from the CEO
Project 180’s Strong Voices lecture series educates our community about issues associated with prisoner reentry.
Unsuccessful reentry is closely associated with social ills that affect us all. When unable to find housing or employment, a reentering citizen is likely to slide into homelessness and residential instability, poverty, and unemployment, contribute to public health concerns, and engage in criminal activity.
Successful reentry results in an individual who pays taxes and abides by the law, supports himself or herself and a family. Successful reentry takes all of us and those at the center of success are the landlords who house and the employers who employ returning citizens.
During this lecture season, we express our great appreciation to local employers who understand that everyone needs a second chance at a better life. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating their dedication to keeping our streets safer and their compassion in helping motivated citizens turn their lives around.
Wishing you well,
Barbara Richards
Project 180
Fine-Tuning During the Pandemic, Adjustments to Programs & Activities

Residential Services Continue

Despite the challenges we’re all facing, the Residential Program continues to provide comprehensive services and stability in the lives of the men at Nik’s House. The residents are all doing well and no one has displayed symptoms of the virus.

As always, residents receive strong recovery support; safe, stable housing; nutritious food (now delivered by Instacart); clothing, work clothing, and tools; and all the support we can give to keep them safe and healthy.

Fifty percent of our men are currently unemployed; however, no resident has been discharged due to an inability to pay his program fee and no eligible applicant is turned away due to lack of funds.

We remain in contact with former residents to support their continued success.

Strong Voices Luncheons Postponed

We have postponed the final two luncheon lectures in our Strong Voices series until October and November. Strong Voices educates our community and generates much of Project 180’s annual income. Like many nonprofits, we rely on these events to help formerly incarcerated citizens transform their lives – work that is more important now than ever.

Fortunately, the Giving Challenge, a community fundraiser in which we’ve participated since its inception, will be held April 28-29 from noon to noon. This is one of the greatest sources of our operating funds.

We understand that COVID-19 is impacting everyone and hope you will consider directing your donation to Project 180 during the Giving Challenge when donations of $25 to $100 will be matched by The Patterson Foundation.

Your support will continue to provide food, shelter and other vital services for formerly incarcerated men and women.

We also encourage you to consider a contribution to our partner, Sarasota Chorus of the Keys, a men’s chorus that keeps alive the uniquely American art of the Barbershop Quartet.

Sarasota Chorus of the Keys is creating a special singing telegram to thank you for donating to Project 180 during the Giving Challenge!

Prison and Jail Programs on Hold

CEO Workforce Education and Financial Literacy classes in jails and prisons have been postponed until further notice by the administration of each facility.

Staff Remains Working

Our staff is working from home. Almost half our annual payroll is donated by an Angel Donor a year in advance. Her February, 2020 contribution will help support staff into 2021.

Emily (aka Em), Office Administrator, provides support for reentering citizens throughout the state of Florida through our Information & Referral Service (I & R). Reentering citizens in need of housing, programs, and employment contact us on a daily basis and speak to Emily. Her compassionate assistance not only provides important survival information but also the vital elements of hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.

In 2019, we served 589 individuals through this program with over 1,200 since its inception. With more and more calls for inmates to be released early during the coronavirus pandemic, I & R is an increasingly valuable service to the community.

Mike, Residential Program Manager, remains closely in touch with residents and former residents who are in need of his guidance during these challenging times. In-person AA and NA meetings are no longer available which have made Mike’s guidance, wisdom and insight absolutely essential during the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Project 180’s Residential Program provided 1,861 nights of shelter and food for 5,577 meals.

Barbara continues her work as always.

Photos from the March 6th Luncheon

Board Vice Chair Tom Melville with Kathy Shaffer and Stephanie Deiter


Board Member Pamela Gore Meade with the Reverend Wes Bixby
Board Member Paula Fishman with Jeff Sindelar, Innovator Sponsors and Felix Massey
Board Member Joe Malave with Felix Massey
Incoming Board Member AJ Donatelli with Norman Wirtz, Barbara Richards, and Kent Simons
President/CEO Barbara Richards with Keynote Speaker Felix Massey, SHRM
Roxie Jerde, CEO, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Breaker of Chains Sponsor and Wendy Cox, Project 180 Founder’s Circle Member and Game Changer Sponsor
Tom and Sherry Koski, Breaker of Chains Sponsors with David Green
Jeffrey Weinberger, Imagine Foundation, Innovator Sponsor with Residential Program House Leader, Josh Linden Residential Program graduate, Michael Marsella and Kayla Nelson
The Honorable Kimberly C. Bonner, Roxie Jerde, and Sherry Koski
Singride Frame and Ben Vanderneck, CareerSource Suncoast, Futurist Sponsor
Cooper and Rachel Levy-Baker
Barbara Richards with Nick Sato, Amanda Astor, and Craig Schaeffer, State Attorney’s Office
Joanne Weulfing and Nina Linski
Megan Howell
Staff Member, Emily Rickerson, with Felix Massey and resident, Kevin Davis
Carolyn Simpson, Anastasia Girard, and Barbara Keane
Gary Webb and Norman Wirtz
Barbara Richards with Jeff King and Stephanie DiTrioia, Department of Corrections Probation
Barbara with Ruslan Romanenko

With Warmest Thanks to Our Generous 2020 Strong Voices Lecture Series Sponsors

Project 180’s wise fiscal management over the years has given it a level of stability that allows it to continue delivering services for the foreseeable future. Just like you, we are deeply committed to the men and women we serve and plan to deliver services throughout and after these unprecedented times.
In doing so, our actions now and always emanate from our Mission, Vision, and Core Values.
  • Be models of compassion, accountability, and integrity
  • Limit spending; when spending is necessary, spend wisely
  • Be transparent and communicate
  • Responsibly adjust how we serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women, our partners, and our community
  • Use this time wisely to strengthen infrastructure, plan, and innovate

Thank you for your belief in and commitment to the men and women we serve during these unusual times. We are being as strategic as possible to ensure that the organization can meet its Mission and Vision and continue to serve.

We will keep you posted on the well-being of our residents, our work, and upcoming events.

In the meantime, staying fluid and balanced is the name of the game and engaging in a few antics now and then helps keep everyone’s spirits up.
Here are a few ‘shares’ that have been going around Nik’s House lately. You’ll notice that one of our residents features prominently in more than one…. Enjoy!
Wishing you well!
Barbara Richards
Project 180