Defy Ventures Launches in New York City


Oct 12, 2011, 11:58 ET from Defy Ventures

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Defy Ventures, a nonprofit organization that provides carefully selected, ambitious men who have criminal histories with intensive entrepreneurship training and leadership development, officially launched its NYC pilot program and is accepting applications for its first 100 clients.

The organization launches with a $290,000 gift from The Cornerstone Project, which fully funds Defy's Corporate Partnership Development Package, enabling the organization to make key senior hires and form partnerships with the businesses and executive mentors.

"Many of the traits that helped land these men in prison – resourcefulness, influence, ambition and charisma – can be redirected toward entrepreneurial success," says Catherine Rohr, CEO and founder of Defy. "Defy's holistic curriculum, experienced staff and private sector partnerships equip our clients to become great entrepreneurs, salespeople, fathers and community leaders."

A former venture capitalist and Wall Street investor, Rohr left New York in 2004 to start the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) in Texas. The program was an immediate success, winning awards and graduating more than 600 participants over five years. Fewer than 10% returned to prison, 98% secured full-time employment, and 60 started successful businesses ranging from lawn care to real estate investment companies.

"The kind of success Catherine had in Texas is powerful evidence of how a mission can be achieved with passion and commitment," said Adrian Kohler, Executive Director of the Cornerstone Project. "We're excited to help build a similarly successful organization in New York and eventually replicate it nationwide."


The Cornerstone Project is a private foundation that supports positive life transformation and spiritual reconciliation for men with criminal histories. Cornerstone collaborates with organizations that provide rehabilitation and social reintegration to men with histories of crime, gang involvement, and drug abuse. The nonprofit also offers financial support, consultation, and creative services to partner organizations.

For more information on Defy Ventures, visit

Contact: Ann Priftis
Executive Director - NYC
Tel: 917-342-2371

SOURCE Defy Ventures