Transforming the lives of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals


Defy of Northern California uses entrepreneurship as a tool to break down barriers and create opportunities for people with criminal histories. Defy’s curriculum provides currently and formerly incarcerated individuals critical skills for success through entrepreneurship training, employment readiness and personal development. We amplify the impact of our curriculum by connecting program participants, Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs), with Bay Area business leaders. Volunteers provide vital professional and personal support that sparks the confidence and inspiration for EITs to realize their potential. Simultaneously, volunteers benefit from a unique opportunity to directly confront social injustice, racial bias and mass incarceration.


More than 500 incarcerated individuals have completed Defy’s program in prisons throughout Northern California, and over 180 individuals have enrolled in programming upon release. Fewer than 5% of Defy’s graduates have recidivated. Over 1,300 volunteers from companies including Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Apple, Box, and Checkr, have engaged with EITs in prison and after release.

Defy is a catalyst for change in our community and needs your support.