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Regional leaders help fund Concordance Academy and its anti-recidivism program

Concordance Academy president Danny Ludeman announces that (from left) St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, and St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann have committed $2 million to his program over the next three year
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A public-private partnership that tries to help prisoners readjust to society is getting a funding boost from regional government.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann on Tuesday announced they are committing a total of $2 million to Concordance Academy. The program,which is the brain child of former Wells-Fargo chief executive Danny Ludeman, provides a variety of services to prisoners both before and after they are released in an effort to keep them from re-offending.

"When there’s a spotlight placed on a problem in our community, St. Louisans rally behind that need like no other place I’ve been a part of," Ludeman said. "Today is another perfect example of that care and concern."

St. Louis County is chipping in the largest portion - $900,000 by 2018 from federal funds available to the county. 

"Missouri releases 20,000 prisoners every year," Stenger said. "One out of five of these men and women return to the St. Louis area. And I will tell you that we neglect these individuals to their detriment and at our peril."

St. Louis will add $750,000 in federal community development money over the next three years. The St. Charles County Council voted in January to contribute $100,000 from its general fund this year.

"Danny [Ludeman] came to me about two years ago and asked the county to commit $300,000 over the next three years," said Ehlmann, the St. Charles County executive. "I was very supportive, but really didn't know what kind of response I would get from the county council. I'm here to tell you, Danny, you didn't ask for enough money."

Concordance Academy has raised more than $12 million for its efforts. Enrollment in the program is underway, and participants should begin receiving pre-release services by the beginning of June.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.