Profoundly struck and saddened by the increasing rates of recidivism for women leaving prison in North Carolina, in 2008, founder Tanya Jisa decided that something needed to be done to support women transitioning from prison. As her understanding of the complex issues of incarceration deepened through her social work and relationships with women that have been formerly incarcerated, the ideas of a social enterprise-based residential program began to take shape.
The Land Acquisition
In 2014, Felix Drennen donated his 11 acres of farmland to Benevolence Farm. Felix was looking for a recipient that would make use of the land for either sustainable agriculture or conduct a social service mission; it was in the favor of Benevolence that our mission intended to do both! His realtor Frank Mellon, connected Felix and founder, Tanya Jisa, knowing that this would be a mutually beneficial partnership.
The First Resident
After years of thoughtful program development and land cultivation, the community and staff of Benevolence Farm were anxious to receive the first resident at the farm. The organization welcomed Benevolence Resident, Melissie Davis, on December 13th, 2016.
Benevolence Farm now operates a fully-functioning farm and residential program as we seek to cultivate leadership, promote sustainable livelihoods, and reap structural change with individuals impacted by the criminal justice system in North Carolina.