The mission of the FCCP is to provide the resources necessary for persons with criminal records to navigate the complex expungment and pardon processes, as well as offer the peer support in order to inspire them to make a life as productive citizens in society.
Sometimes a second chance and an opportunity are all you need, but extremely hard to get. Years ago Dean Williams, the founder of the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project, discovered that the law for those with criminal records posted bars as formidable as any jail or prison. Collateral consequences—the legal barriers or exclusions such as to employment, voting, and housing which are applied to persons with criminal record but by extension their families as well—kept Dean and others boxed-out of opportunity. So, he decided to do something about it.
In 2011 Dean formed the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project (FCCP) as an unincorporated association with the strong support of the Pittsburgh-based Falk Foundation. For its work in the community over the past three years, the FCCP has garnered the respect and confidence of numerous community organizations, city leaders, and press outlets in a short two-year period. Non-profit organizations such as the Mon Valley Initiative, Pittsburgh United, and National H.I.R.E. Network among others have lauded the “Pardon Me” workshops and the Project’s ability to bring to the fore the voices of those most affected. Publications such as the New Pittsburgh Courier recognized the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project’s central role in getting the “Ban the Box” bill unanimously passed on 18 December 2012. The FCCP brings a salve to the Pittsburgh region and has become an inextricable component of the re-entry landscape in the Pittsburgh region.
Board of Directors
Dean Williams is the Founder and Executive Director of Formerly Convicted Citizens Project. In 2011 Dean Williams established the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project (FCCP) as an unincorporated association with the support of the Pittsburgh-based Falk Foundation. Williams successfully led the Project in its work towards the “Ban the Box” initiative as well as conducted all of the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project’s “Pardon Me” workshops over the past two years. Under his tutelage, the Formerly Convicted Citizens Project has earned the respect of numerous other non-profit organizations, formed a partnership with the Duquesne Law School Bill of Rights-Civil Rights Litigation Clinic, and joined with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to present “Pardon Me” workshops at the organization’s Downtown office. Dean currently hosts these workshops at the Downtown and Business Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and works as a re-entry case management consultant at Adaptive Behavioral Services.
Jay Arthur Gilmer, Esq., presently works for the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety as Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime ("PIRC"). PIRC aims to reduce the number of homicides committed by groups/gangs in the City of Pittsburgh. He is also an attorney who uses his extensive experience in the corporate world to help faith-based groups become more efficient in delivering critical services to the poor. In the corporate world, Jay was a business owner and corporate attorney. He started his career at the Buchanan Ingersoll law firm, and then spent three years as Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of Diet Center Inc., an international weight-loss franchisor. In addition Jay serves on several nonprofit boards of directors including Homewood Renaissance Association, MAD DADS, Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts, Oakland Service Ministries, a fiscal sponsor for ministries and Love & Care Family, an African relief organization. A graduate of New York University's School of Law and Graduate School of Public Administration, he previously served as Project Manager for 5C’s Faith Works, a non-profit funded by Allegheny County to assist in capacity-building to ensure that their investment in churches and faith-based non-profits produce the highest impact possible.
Roberta Meyers is Director of the Legal Action Center's National H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment) Network. Roberta has worked at the Legal Action Center for 20 years in various capacities and has been a staff member of the National H.I.R.E. Network project since its inception. She works directly with policy makers and advocates around the country to identify public policy priorities that directly affect employment opportunities for people with criminal records and helps develop appropriate advocacy strategies that strengthen or challenge existing legislation in those states. Roberta has been a contributor to numerous publications and is the author of the “Completing Employment Applications” section of Legal Action Center’s How to Get and Clean Up Your New York State Rap Sheet, and co-author of the National Reentry Blueprint: Model policies to promote the successful reentry of individuals with criminal records through employment and education (October 2008). She serves on the Board of Directors of Youth Represent, steering committee member of the National Transitional Jobs Network, and as an Advisory Board member of the National Reentry Resource Center that was authorized under the Second Chance Act, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Veterans and Military Council, and on various projects of the American Bar Association.