Teresa Hodge

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Teresa Hodge

2018 Black Male Achievement Fellow
Founder of Mission: Launch with Laurin (Hodge) Leonard

Teresa Hodge 2018 Black Male Achievement Fellow

Bold Idea 

Improve the economic health of individuals with criminal records by producing an algorithm for background screening that is fair, demonstrates the strengths and capacity of individuals living with records, and expands access to jobs, entrepreneurship, and financial products.


Photo courtesy of Mission:Launch

Teresa Hodge, along with James Monteiro '15, joined John Legend and the inaugural class of Unlocked Futures, a 16-month-long accelerator for social entrepreneurs who have been incarcerated or impacted by the criminal justice system. Photo courtesy of Mission:Launch

Mission: Launch seeks to disrupt the current criminal background screening process, which can block those with criminal records from opportunities that lead to economic security. Mission: Launch has developed the R3 Score algorithm, which is fair but also demonstrates the strengths of individuals with criminal records. The algorithm uses collected data to produce a score that gives a more holistic view of an individual beyond his or her criminal past. The R3 Score aims to eventually replace the standard criminal background check, and millions of Americans with records will be hired for more jobs, become self-employed, and use mainstream financial products and services.


Teresa Hodge, co-founder of Mission: Launch, is committed to reducing the harm prison causes to individuals and their families. After completing a seventy-month federal prison sentence, she co-founded Mission: Launch with her daughter Laurin Leonard (Hodge). She is a 2017–2018 Unlocked Futures inaugural cohort member for R3 Score, and was a 2015–2016 Open Society Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow. Her innovative approach to criminal justice advocacy has led to national recognition. She presented twice at SXSW (2016 and 2017) and is a 2017 Dewey Winburne SXSW Community Service Award recipient. Teresa's TEDx Talk, "We've Made Coming Home Too Hard," highlights the impact of personal bias and social stigma on formerly incarcerated people.

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