The Community

Our mission is to foster the full potential of people with criminal records through Pre-entry and showcasing their successes, humanity, and agency through Correcting the Narrative.

Active links to some of our partners

Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison
Kohler Foundation
Concordia University Wisconsin
The Way Out
Expo Wisconsin
Community Warehouse
WDP
Dream Corps Justice
Endovo
Milwaukee Turners
Represent Justice
Advocate Aurora Health
Marquette University Urban Outreach
MSOE University Scholars Honors Program
Employ Milwaukee Workforce Development

Ways You Can Help

image of man in Free People Problems mask

Free People Problems Merchandise

Support The Community by purchasing any of our Free People Problems merchandise.  Get yourself some merch from our store today.  Our satirical line called "Free People Problems" brings a lighter and more understandable process.  Proceeds from merchandise to directly to the foundation.

Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile

Go to Smile.Amazon.com, login with a regular Amazon account. Add “The Community” as a charity to receive donations from select purchases you make. the Amazon app on your phone, go to settings, then go to AmazonSmile, activate it, and add us as the charity you wish to receive donations from your purchases.

Donate with CashApp

Donate with CashApp

Donate to The Community through CashApp with the handle $thecommunitynow, or scan the QR-code below.

CashApp QR Code for The Community

Donate with SociaTap

Donate with SociaTap

Donate to The Community when you sign up for SociaTAP here ($6 subscription).

Donate with PayPal

Donate with Venmo

The Community can be found on by using the unique handle @thecommunitynow on the Venmo app.

photography image by Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography captures the vibrance of unfiltered nature to bring renewed hope and healing to those who need it. They donate 25% of profits from photography purchases to The Community.

Donate Now with PayPal

Donate with PayPal

Support The Community by sending a donation through PayPal.

Dev Cabin Technologies logo

Dev Cabin Technologies

Dev Cabin Technologies offers digital solutions for your business or personal needs.  Whether you need web design and development, apps, or digital marketing, this is your one stop shop.  Use the name "The Community" and 10% of the money will be donated directly to The Community organization.

image of man in Free People Problems mask

Free People Problems Merchandise

Support The Community by purchasing any of our Free People Problems merchandise.  Get yourself some merch from our store today.  Our satirical line called "Free People Problems" brings a lighter and more understandable process.  Proceeds from merchandise to directly to the foundation.

Donate Now with PayPal

Donate with PayPal

Support The Community by sending a donation through PayPal.

Donate with PayPal

Donate with Venmo

The Community can be found on by using the unique handle @thecommunitynow on the Venmo app.

Donate with CashApp

Donate with CashApp

Donate to The Community through CashApp with the handle $thecommunitynow, or scan the QR-code below.

CashApp QR Code for The Community

Donate with SociaTap

Donate with SociaTap

Donate to The Community when you sign up for SociaTAP here ($6 subscription).

Amazon Smile

Support The Community with our program at Amazon Smile

Go to Smile.Amazon.com, login with a regular Amazon account. Add “The Community” as a charity to receive donations from select purchases you make. the Amazon app on your phone, go to settings, then go to AmazonSmile, activate it, and add us as the charity you wish to receive donations from your purchases.

photography image by Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography

Heather Langton Photography captures the vibrance of unfiltered nature to bring renewed hope and healing to those who need it. They donate 25% of profits from photography purchases to The Community.

Dev Cabin Technologies logo

Dev Cabin Technologies

Dev Cabin Technologies offers digital solutions for your business or personal needs.  Whether you need web design and development, apps, or digital marketing, this is your one stop shop.  Use the name "The Community" and 10% of the money will be donated directly to The Community organization.

About The Community

The Community has two arms: Pre-entry (our carceral in-reach) and the Correct the Narrative Campaign (our outreach). Together, these efforts prepare incarcerated people for success and transform societal stereotypes and fears about this demographic so preparation meets opportunity prior to and upon release.

Our Pre-entry consists of our new Prison Wiki and our origin effort, The Community newsletter – the most widely-read newsletter in the Wisconsin prison system, read by close to half the prison population and a number of people incarcerated in the federal system. Our newsletter consists of criminal justice news, resources, support for loved ones, LOTS of myth busting, financial and career preparation insights, encouragement, self esteem building, and personal development tools and commentary designed specifically for system impacted people. Our Prison Wiki is a partnership with a growing list professionals, higher education students, industry and business partners across the country, and incarcerated people to give those in prison unprecedented access to everything they need or want to know on every career available to them, along with ongoing personalized assistance to help them prepare. It will be a degree of preparation for incarcerated people that has neither happened before or is possible without our direct and constant connections as credible messengers to those inside.

Our outreach consists of the Correcting the Narrative Campaign, which proactively presents society with the successes, humanity, and agency of people with criminal records in communities that are more indifferent and antagonistic toward this demographic. Efforts and humanizers have done a great job to get us where we are on this issue, but it will require a different strategy and level of commitment to get us to where we need to be, to a justice system more worthy of that name. Collaboration and reaching far outside our circles and communities to connect with others is the only way to get to the future we envision regarding true safety and justice. Visit our Correct the Narrative Campaign page for more info and videos from events and interviews that illuminate so powerfully why the fears and biases surrounding people who break the law need to be corrected. But we are also getting this content to currently and formerly incarcerated people to correct the narrative we often have about ourselves. We are MUCH more than our pasts and crimes and evidence of that from others who went before us is powerfully encouraging and life-changing.

One of our principals is be an entry point, which means we represent the issue first and foremost. If our work and approach does not resonate with you, there are many ways and groups to get involved with and we can help connect you to the path and efforts that best fits your values, interests, and resources. Keep moving forward.

Our Team

Shannon Ross
Shannon Ross

Executive Director

Shannon served 17 years in prison in the Wisconsin prison system from the ages of 19 to 36. He created The Community in 2014 with the invaluable help of friends and family while finishing his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon his release in September 2020, he began a scholarship as a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee and a fellowship with the Wisconsin Decarceration Platform. He is also a member of Reentry Rising MKE and Unlock Higher Ed and is a mentor with Prisons to Professionals. To learn more about his accomplishments, speaking engagements, and consulting agency (Paradigm Shyft: Reentry Strategies and Consulting), visit his LinkedIn page below.

Ann Knoedler
Ann Knoedler

Administrative Director

Ann Knoedler is a retired newspaper reporter and the mother of Shannon Ross. She is also the Vice President of the Uptown Crossing Neighborhood Association and manages a community garden in Milwaukee.
Jim Kaufman
Jim Kaufman

Jack-of-all-trades

Jim is a polymath and former librarian who recently obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree. He spent seven years in the Wisconsin prison system.
La Shae Warren
La Shae Warren

Assistant

La Shae Warren is a Customer Service professional and has a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She has years of experience enduring the hardships of supporting and communicating with a loved one in prison.

Our Directors

Keith Stanley
Keith Stanley

Executive Director of Near West Side Partners, Inc.

Aldira Aldape - Secretary
Aldira Aldape - Secretary

Community Engagement Director Americans for Prosperity

Ryan Ramnarace - Vice President
Ryan Ramnarace - Vice President

Co-founder of Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network

Kobena-Marcus J. Collins
Kobena-Marcus J. Collins

Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Tracie Sparks - President
Tracie Sparks - President

Diversity and Inclusion Talent Acquisition Professional

Peter Borg
Peter Borg

Consulting Historian

Steven Olikara
Steven Olikara

Founder of Millennial Action Project

Gretchen Schuldt
Gretchen Schuldt

Executive Director of Wisconsin Justice Initiative Inc.

LaShante Boyd - Treasurer
LaShante Boyd - Treasurer

Finance Manager at W. Haywood Burns Institute

Get in Touch

Send us a message and please leave a good email address where we can connect with you.