In 2016, the F5 Project was founded in Fargo, North Dakota to provide assistance to individuals from prison to a new life. The F5 project offers housing, employment, socialization, and transportation for those that have committed felonies. “As a 5-time felon myself, I began volunteering time to help those in the prison system… I soon realized that there wasn’t enough done to help transition into a new life after prison,” explained Adam Martin, founder of the F5 Project.

The Journey to F5

Starting a non-profit was not always the dream of Martin. The idea came in late 2016 while Martin was volunteering at the local jails sharing his story. Martin realized then that there wasn’t a strong infrastructure for people coming out of prison. “Although I never reached rock bottom, I saw in the lives of others the almost impossible road to a new life that awaited after leaving prison… It helped move me into action,” said Martin.

In 2017, F5 was launched to address the large amount of prisoners that will be released after time is served. The name F5 represents the refresh function on a keyboard and subsequently the number of felonies Martin had received. “At any given time in North Dakota, there are thousands of
people locked up, and when we seek to provide a new start that has a track record of success,” explained Martin.

Over the past year, momentum for the F5 project has multiplied as individuals, businesses, and cities are realizing the impact of the non-profit. “One of the biggest success we point to is our recidivism rate (returning to prison for a new crime or probation)… The national average is around 67% and the F5 project has a rate of 7%,” said Martin. This success is a result of the multifaceted approach to serving prisoners from incarceration to life as a potential entrepreneur.

Housing is a major component of the F5 project. Over the course of 2017, housing grew from a single home to 7 houses in 2018. Along with housing, employment and transportation are other obstacles for life after prison. “After providing housing and transportation, we still found it difficult to connect our people with paying jobs… so out of necessity, I co-founded F5 Venture Partners, a sales and marketing firm that provides jobs for F5 participants,” explained Martin. 

Hustle Hearter

In 2018, the F5 project will participate for the first time in Giving Hearts Day on February 8th. The often-said phrase ‘hustle harder’ is spoken by the F5 Project team alluding to the moment that a person is forced into a moment in life where giving up could be an option but instead choose to continue. “We are excited to have a $40,000 match… We are asking that the Fargo community helps us ‘hustle hearter’ on Giving Hearts Day,” said Martin.

Learn more from Adam Martin and the F5 Project as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stone Building in Downtown Fargo.

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Brent McNeal