The Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement (CM3) is a not-for-profit organization founded to help youth and families break the cycle and long-term impact of justice system involvement by supporting and advancing credible messenger initiatives in the most impacted communities across the nation.


The existence of credible messengers is nothing new. In fact, at any point in history where people have been marginalized, those most impacted by oppressive institutions have risen to take their rightful place as leaders of movements centered on healing, restoration, and transformation. Throughout history, these credible messengers have built and passed down a legacy of commitment and service.

Malcom X

“I believe that it would be impossible to find anywhere in America a black man who has lived further down in the mud of human society than I have, or a black man who has been any more ignorant than I have been; or a black man who has suffered more anguish during his life than I have. But it is only after the deepest darkness that the greatest joy can come; it is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation for freedom can come.”

~ Malcom X

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Eddie Ellis

“My job is to develop the next generation of leaders, who will make tomorrow better than today for the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated, and everyone connected to that community of human beings.”

~Eddie Ellis

In our era, countless men and women previously written off, criminalized, and thrown away by society have continued in this tradition by serving impacted communities while fighting for true justice. The work of CM3 grows out of their great sacrifices and contributions. It is on their shoulders that we stand.

Core Values

We Dream

Of a society that produces whole, healthy, and empowered villages where children and families can thrive free of oppression, marginalization, and social pathology and are rich in relationships, resources, and pathways to success.

We Believe

  • In Equity, Justice, Forgiveness, Responsibility, Healing, Restoration, and Transformation
  • No one is the sum total of their most harmful action or painful experience
  • All people, especially youth, are worthy of love and capable of restoration and redemption
  • Credible Messengers are community-rooted leaders who have successfully navigated their own prior involvement in the justice system, share similar life experiences with the people they serve, and are poised to have a healing, restorative, and transformative impact on an individual, family, community, and systemic level

We Aspire

To create a new culture of justice centered on empowered communities that are resourced to advance grow peace, restoration, prosperity, and overall wellness

Our journey to launch CM3

  1. 2013 First Credible Messenger Initiative (Arches – Transformative Mentoring) implemented at the New York City Department of Probation
  2. 2016 Urban Institute Evaluation of Arches finds 60% recidivism reduction
  3. 2016 Credible Messenger Initiative Implemented and expanded at Washington, DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services
  4. 2018 National Credible Messenger Convening held in Washington DC involving over 200 credible messengers, justice system and community leaders, funders & researchers
  5. 2020 John Jay College of Criminal Justice evaluation of Washington, DC Credible Messenger Initiative finds 50% recidivism reduction
  6. 2021 Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement (CM3) launched to provide a national program model, comprehensive training, and technical assistance




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