Jim's Quotes

Jim Cotterill co-founded 2nd Chance Indiana (as UNITE INDY) in late 2016. After a decade as the founding president of National Christian Foundation Indiana following several years developing a chain of Business Journals across the country, he and his wife, Nancy, were led to serve those coming out of long term incarceration by helping them find and keep jobs that pay a living wage. Jim and Nancy believe that, through the dignity of work, reentrants' lives can be changed and their families can be lifted out of poverty.
1 JUN, 2021

Dying is easy, living is harder"—George Washington in HamiltonFULL DISCLOSURE: We have zero proof that the real President George Washington actually said those words, but his character in the Broadway show Hamilton definitely did. Either way, the statement is provocative.The world has changed since 1776. Maybe it's the quickness of a handgun vs. the awkward effort it took to get a muzzle loader ready to fire. Back in Washington's day, men settled their problems with a duel. Duels were about honor and a small bullet at approximately 100 feet. If anyone died, says one expert, it was usually by accident.Instead of a split-second decision, it took a day or two to organize a duel, so people had time to cool off. Back then, serious killing seemed to require a bigger idea, like fighting for independence, or at least bagging a turkey to feed the family.We live in dangerous times, where some young men routinely carry weapons along with an attitu...

30 APR, 2021

Poverty is not just a lack of money, poverty is not having the capability to realize one's full potential as a human being"—Amartya SenAmartya Sen was born in India in 1933 and lived through an economic downturn that cost the lives of three million of India's poor. This staggering loss of life led him to study what came to be called "welfare economics." After studying at the finest schools in the world, he eventually became a Harvard professor and earned a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on behalf of those in poverty.Sen was a vigorous defender of political freedom and found through his studies that—more than anything else—good old economic growth was necessary to improve the lives of people in poverty. In his 1983 book citing his in-depth studies, Sen reported that declining wages, growing unemployment, inflation and the resulting price increases are the issues that expand poverty. No surprise there, but against popular thought, ...

31 MAR, 2021

A few months ago I was hopeless, sitting in my cell, thinking how I'd wasted the last 33 years.Now every time I turn around there are these men telling me Jesus loves me, and He's got a plan for my life…"—Name withheldThere's no guarantee that a prison or jail sentence will produce a person who is ready to turn his life around. But for many, the need to become a productive working member of society is like a mustard seed planted in fertile ground.In prison, their dissatisfaction is deep. They long to have another chance at a normal life, but fear they will fail. But the dream of normalcy, of family, of children who are proud of them grows. These are the people we are working with through Jobs for Life.With a recidivism rate of more than 40 percent, and a cost to taxpayers estimated at more than $20,000 to incarcerate one person in Indiana for one year, it makes business sense to rehabilitate people and keep them from returning to prison...

26 FEB, 2021

I'll do whatever you need."—Doug EvansTo all those working in the mission field, a statement like Doug's is a dream come true. An unqualified sentence like that is so rarely heard, when he said it, it stopped me in my tracks. For a split second I had to pause as I considered the gift he could be to our work at UNITE INDY.Doug is retired. For more than 40 years he worked as a teacher inside prisons as an employee of the Indiana Department of Correction. With our work to help reentrants find employment, reconnect positively with family, and reduce recidivism, his experience is more valuable than gold. He knows how to relate to incarcerated people. He knows the program. He knows the possibilities and recognizes limitations, and although he loved working with these men, he always felt something important was missing…something we could provide.In his years teaching as an employee of the State, he always felt the need to bring a faith perspec...

29 JAN, 2021

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."—Martin Luther King, Jr.Martin Luther King Jr. was not merely eloquent, but with words that emanated from his deep belief in the promises of God, he issued forth words as powerful as cannon blasts, filled with compelling messages of hope that urged others to action.This quote is from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964. But only one year earlier he had been arrested and placed in solitary confinement for taking part in the Birmingham Campaign against racial segregation. Alone in a narrow, dark cell, his attorney visited and brought him a newspaper that shocked him. Religious leaders in the area—black religious leaders—had condemned his nonviolent demonstration.Frustrated and weary, he found a pen and began scribbling a response in the margins of the newspaper arti...

31 DEC, 2020

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."-Pierre Teilhard de ChardinAbout 100 years ago, a young monk by the name of Pierre Teilhard was suffering from what today we call post traumatic stress disorder. Like most young men in Europe, he had been swept into the butchery of WWI. His job was to gather up the wounded and the remains of fallen soldiers—a job that left him broken. On a leave from the front, he took vows as a monk and became a Jesuit. By the end of the war, the French government was making good on its promise to take ownership of all religious properties. The Jesuits were exiled to Great Britain.Teilhard's life was not a series of ups and downs as much as a series of continuous downs. Before the war, he had studied paleontology, embracing the concept of Darwinian evolution. Now, as a Jesuit, his writings to reconcile religion with Darwin were rejected by the chur...

30 NOV, 2020

When you attack poverty you attack racism; when you just attack racism, you're still stuck with poverty."-Greg EnasGreg Enas is no stranger to the effort of improving lives. As a PhD in Biostatistics, he was trained in researching questions in medicine and biology to improve pubic health. His working life is all about turning data into knowledge in his work as a strategic planner.But Greg sees a broader picture when he addresses public health here in Indianapolis. He sees kids who are hungry, mothers who can't pay the rent, and men who need jobs and can't support their families. Poverty affects everything. From the health and well-being of the family to the increase in crime and the overwhelming hopelessness and high unemployment of entire neighborhoods.Racism is an insidious infection that has been around for far too long. Why would we accept that? There may always be haters, but if we attack poverty we can help those who have been mos...

30 OCT, 2020

Remember, amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic"-Sir Richard NeedhamSir Richard was a Brit, known for his wit, and even though no one really knows now to what he was referring, his quip is a powerful reminder of the great value of a motivated amateur.After years of working with those in our poorest neighborhoods, we are convinced that while racism still exists, the overwhelming divider of people is really poverty. Whatever color our skin, grinding poverty limits our choices, affects our health and education, causes discord in the home, and can promote crime. Poverty affects the whole family, and generational poverty condemns its children.The tremendous poverty in many of Indy's neighborhoods is caused in large part by the very high percentage of formerly-incarcerated people who live there. For those individuals, the chances of getting a job has been slim to nil. In these high-unemployment neighborhoods, the entire area...

30 SEP, 2020

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."-Charles SwindollnRecently, our family took advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to rent a house on the shore of Lake Michigan. We got into a conversation about some of the things I had done, where I had worked, and the inevitable questions, "what happened then?"They say life cannot be understood as you move from day to day, but if you look back over the decades it becomes pretty obvious there was a plan all along—a hand guiding you, even while you made mistakes or found yourself in a bad place. When you reach that point, the words from Romans 8:28 seem to speak directly to you: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."Me? I am called? I never would have thought so. I could tell you stories! But the day I woke up in intensive care at Munson Medical Center in Travers City, Michigan, with a br...

31 AUG, 2020

If you take away religion, you can't hire enough police..."-A Chinese Marxist to Clay ChristiansenClay Christiansen was a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Forbes called him "one of the most influential business theorists of the last 50 years."He is an unassuming man who stands 6'8" and played college basketball. But this video has made him more broadly famous than any of his intellectual works. As a professor at Harvard he had a student who was a Marxist economist from China finishing a Fulbright scholarship. Christiansen asked him if there was anything surprising about what he had learned in his time in the U.S.Without any hesitation, he said, "Yes, I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy. The reason why democracy works," he said, "is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does, but democracy works because most people, most of the time volunta...

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241 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208


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Our mission is to reduce recidivism and rebuild lives through the dignity of work.