Meet the Team

The Community Legacy Resource Collective Fellowship Program is a collaborative between Illinois Equity Staffing, 1863FWD, the Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition, Defy Ventures Illinois, Illinois Cannabis Training Center, Prosperous Accounting Services and Spring of Living Waters Ministries.

Illinois Equity Staffing

Illinois Equity Staffing, founded in 2019, is a WBE/MBE HR consulting organization serving the cannabis industry. Our mission is to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry built on the backs of Black and Brown Americans through strategic partnerships and programming. IES provides talent acquisition, HR consulting and education to meet these objectives.

Cannabis Equity Illinois Coalition

The Cannabis Equity IL Coalition is a nonprofit organization founded in Chicago in 2019 working to repair the harms from the War on Drugs. We were founded by community members on the South and West Sides of Chicago, who are committed to the ending the drug war and system oppression.

We provide a variety of services, including record clearing & reentry support, know your rights education, policy advocacy, youth education, entrepreneurship support, and much more!

Defy Ventures Illinois

Defy Ventures is a nonprofit with a vision to cut recidivism in half by leveraging entrepreneurship to increase economic opportunity and transform lives. Defy's programs are helping currently and formerly incarcerated people defy the odds by providing pathways to employment, entrepreneurship, and a successful reentry. Defy Ventures Illinois operates in prison programs at Kewanee Life Skills Reentry Center, Pontiac Correctional Center and Logan Correctional Center. Defy's in prison program is called CEO of Your New Life (CEO YNL).

CEO YNL equips participants called Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) with the skills necessary to give them their best shot at a second chance. Through highly interactive and intellectually stimulating curriculum content featuring prominent life skills experts and business leaders, regular peer group discussion, assignments, and exciting events with executive volunteers, the program focuses EITs on becoming the CEOs of their new lives while incarcerated, so they can become the CEOs of their new careers or businesses (should they choose to start one) upon release.

The Defy Alumni Association (DAA) supports EITs who have completed CEO YNL either in prison or in the community through reentry and beyond. EITs develop an Individual Action Plan; participate in workshops that develop basic technology skills, format a professional resume, strengthen interview skills, improve financial literacy; network within a supportive community that includes both EITs and volunteers; and attain stable employment.

Upon graduation and release, EITs are enrolled in the Defy Alumni Association which encompasses the Career and Reentry Pathway. From initial engagement, the EIT meets with the Career and Reentry Program Manager to get onboarded to RiseKit, our custom database which can also connect them to services, as well as employment opportunities. We also provide a Chromebook and technology training to all graduates. During this time an Individualized Reentry Plan is established, service referrals are offered and a case management schedule is set up with them. Within the first month of engagement, employment success coaching is completed, a polished resume is on file with Defy and necessary vital documentation for employment have been obtained.

Defy’s Business Accelerator includes advanced coursework in entrepreneurship and business management, supporting EITs through the process of incorporating, launching, and growing new businesses. EITs can apply to the Business Accelerator after completing CEO YNL and meeting reentry stability goals or after completing Defy’s Entrepreneur Bootcamp.

Illinois Cannabis Training Center

Illinois Cannabis Training Center (ICTC) is a state-approved training organization that creates innovative, immersive learning experiences. We help individuals and communities develop the knowledge and skills needed to excel in new cannabis opportunities.

We do this to increase access to benefits created by cannabis, specifically for the communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Knowledge and education are key to removing barriers to social equity within the Illinois cannabis industry.

Illinois Cannabis Training Center was founded by Lamar Richardson, an entrepreneur and social equity applicant. When Illinois fully legalized cannabis in 2019, Lamar began working with Cynthia Allen (a senior HR executive at numerous Fortune 500 companies) and Grant Richardson (a social entrepreneur and educator) to launch Illinois Cannabis Training Center Inc (ICTC).

Their mission is to empower 100,000 individuals to access the opportunities and benefits created by cannabis legalization through cannabis education and events.

ICTC is a state-approved Responsible Vendor Training Organizations and works with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to provide approved cannabis training, seminars, and coaching across Illinois.

Prosperous Accounting Services

Prosperous Accounting Services was founded in 2005 and incorporated in March 2012. Cracking Open extra cash for your pocket & keeping individuals and businesses financially stable. We're located in the City of Chicago, servicing client throughout the United States (currently have clients in 16 states). We're a Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). We're also certified as a Minority & Women Owned Business through the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and an authorized BBB business. Prosperous Accounting is a one-stop accounting company for all of your business needs. Prosperous provides the following services: Bookkeeping, Financial Literacy, Income Tax Filings, Payroll, Budgets, Grants, Business Incorporations, 501c3, etc.

Michelle holds her Master's degree in Business Administration (Accounting & Finance). Michelle has been an Accountant and Finance Manager to multiple agencies both large and small in the Chicagoland and Indiana area bringing 16 plus years of accounting, finance and social service experience. Michelle decided to study and continue to study more on finance/accounting, budgeting and tax laws. In 2005, Michelle decided to branch off and start her own accounting and bookkeeping business in order to help individuals, small-medium-large businesses, up and coming business owners and entrepreneurs with all of their accounting, tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs at a reasonable price. Michelle came into this business in order to help people. To help people get what they need and want at a reasonable cost and to help increase their business profits.

Spring of Living Waters Ministries

Spring of Living Waters Ministries was incorporated in 2008 with a vision of increasing resource availability to disproportionally impacted communities. The primary focus is on health and wellness advocacy.

The principle leaders are both master’s degreed nurses with over 40 years of healthcare experience each, with strong clinical skill sets in Quality Improvement, Managed Care and Critical Care nursing services. Both have over 20 years experience as educators.

This leadership team has been able to network with community-based organizations to holistically meet the needs of various communities. We continue to stay abreast of the statistical data/demographics of the communities that we serve. Further, we adjust the organization’s mission and service availability accordingly. Services are based on ongoing assessment and evaluation of program outcomes.

Our mission is to establish strong community relationships through collaboration and networking with other community-based entities and to provide health and wellness advocacy services. We are committed to paying forward through service in communities that we have roots and beginnings in.

We achieve this goal by providing educational services through mentorship and volunteer services for community health events and participation in spiritually based activities. This has been accomplished through providing annual retreats, educational boot camps, health fairs, and food/coat drives. These efforts have been done as an individual ministry, as well as through collaborative efforts with other community-based organizations.


1863FWD is a social enterprise that was founded in 2019 by a licensed clinical social worker  with extensive experience providing support to social service organizations and direct services to vulnerable communities. The founder, Jataun J. Rollins, AM has traveled abroad to Australia and China examining community based services finding value in their intentional efforts to provide holistic approaches to wellness that she has incorporated into her organization's practices.

It provides African & healing centered services to disenfranchised individuals and disinvested communities that bolster mental wellness, help repair the harm in communities (as a result of systemic racism, mass incarceration, community violence, abuses of power, inadequate resources and inequitable systems) and is a community advocate on a myriad of social issues. The organization niches are reentry, child welfare, issues of aging,  dementia care and a teaching institution with interns from Governors State University and UIC Jane Addams School of Social Work.

As an inaugural ICJIA R3 2021 Assessment & Planning Grantee, 1863FWD offers consultation to small businesses, start up social impact organizations and new grantees to support grant management needs and processes for greater outcomes.  1863FWD endeavors to aid in helping people exact their free will and determination  everyday.

Application Form

Community Legacy Resource Collective Application
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Employer Partner Interest Form

Community Legacy Resource Collective Employer Partner Interest Form
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