KPMG Spark Blog

How I Am Kid Culture Teaches Youth About Intrinsic Value

Wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years, founder Patrick Pursely uses KPMG Spark to help keep his organization operating as a registered nonprofit.

Patrick Pursley is a speaker, presenter, educator, and founder of I Am Kid Culture, a not-for-profit organization that works to reduce gun and gang violence, promote higher education and vocation, and empower at-risk youth.

Patrick was motivated to work with youth because of his first-hand experience in the justice system—starting at the young age of 14. Growing up in Rockford, Illinois, he experienced many sides of gang violence. In 1993, he was wrongfully convicted of a crime—but after tireless self-advocacy from inside prison, he was exonerated when his lawyers were able to prove his innocence using IBIS, a modern ballistics analysis tool that didn’t exist during his first trial. His exoneration came after he had already served 25.5 years in prison; from 1993-2019. “I recognize my plight,” he said. “I don't want to see more at-risk kids going through the same thing simply because of their zip code, skin color, and their economic background.”

From the Inside Out

Working with visiting pastors, professors, and volunteers from several major universities, Patrick created the framework for I Am Kid Culture while he was still behind bars. While he continued working toward his release, the visiting religious leaders and academics looked to his Kid Culture curriculum and “began to put it into the community—it was first used in gang peace circles, high schools, and college readiness programs” in the early 2000s.

The innovative curriculum is built around creative activities like making mixtapes, videos, and engaging contests in which youth may participate. “This past summer, we did a project called Food for the Hood. We got kids to make videos about how to avoid catching COVID, and for their participation, we gave them $150 gift certificates so they could get groceries for their house because food insecurity is real,” Pursley explained.

The creative activities are the mechanism, but the message is even bigger: The ultimate goal of the program is to help youth “recognize their intrinsic value, whether you want to say it's a God-given gift or credit it to your DNA. Everyone has intrinsic value.” Besides the creative activities, Patrick has also designed exercises to help youth get to know themselves better, especially in the context of any trauma they might have experienced in their lives or communities. One of these activities is a self-guided test that helps kids understand their own PTSD symptoms. “Where I come from is one of the most violent cities in America. Our aim is to get kids to understand the mental health impact of growing up in 40 blocks of blight with no resources.”

Keeping Compliant with KPMG Spark

Being incarcerated through the tech boom of the ‘90s meant that Patrick had almost no experience with computers or the internet by the time he exited the system. “We didn't have computers… or tablets. Me being a high school dropout at the time, I didn't take typing in high school,” he said. Though he was motivated to create change, he was intimidated by all the unfamiliar technology that seemed necessary to operate an organization. “I suck at apps, I suck with the tech. But I didn't want to mess up my not-for-profit.”

Luckily, a lawyer who had helped represent him introduced Patrick to KPMG Spark. At first, he was apprehensive because of his insecurities with technology. But Patrick quickly found KPMG Spark’s advisors to be wonderful chaperones, guiding him through every step. “They are very patient with me. They've been able to help me keep the ship afloat.”

Last year, I Am Kid Culture got a $10,000 donation, one of the largest they’ve ever received. But the organization is still small, and Patrick is the sole person responsible for tracking donations and expenses. To stay compliant as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all the organization’s transactions must be reported and tracked. “There’s a lot to navigate legally. KPMG Spark has helped me file the appropriate state and federal paperwork and helped me itemize my organization’s bank account. That’s been great.”

With financial information better organized by KPMG Spark, I Am Kid Culture can more easily apply for grants and attract potential donors.

Building the Future

Though COVID-19 has moderately slowed his programming, Patrick has been working behind the scenes to build partnerships with companies and schools. I Am Kid Culture isn’t only focused on solving the problem of violence, it’s also striving to expand education and career opportunities for youth. “I was locked up because of faulty forensics and conformational bias—in forensic fields, there aren’t too many people of color,” he said. A crucial part of their work is to go beyond reducing violence, and begin to build bridges of opportunity so youth can “look to careers that could level the playing field and help them get on a positive trajectory.”

 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

This blog article is not intended to address or provide advice concerning the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services.

Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.

The following information is not intended to be “written advice concerning one or more Federal tax matters” subject to the requirements of section 10.37(a)(2) of Treasury Department Circular 230. The information contained herein is of a general nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Applicability of the information to specific situations should be determined through consultation with your tax adviser.

KPMG LLP does not provide legal services.

KPMG SparkJuly 27, 2021Posted In: Client Stories

Subscribe

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

KPMG Spark is an online accounting service that saves you time so you can focus on what’s most important for your business.

Hiring Help: How To Know Whether To Hire an Employee or Contractor?

There are many important differences between an employee and an independent contractor that can affect the financial foundation of your business. Continue reading to learn some of the financial impacts you should consider when making this decision.

KPMG SparkSeptember 22, 2021Posted In: Business Tips

Selecting an Entity Structure Helps Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your Business

Running a successful business depends on a solid financial foundation. You can have the most sought-after products or services, a killer marketing strategy, and loyal customers, but if you don’t have a solid financial foundation to manage cash flow and support other business decisions, it can all come crumbling down. Continue reading to learn how selecting an entity structure can help build your financial foundation.

KPMG SparkSeptember 1, 2021Posted In: Business Tips

Real-Time Bookkeeping: 5 Valuable Insights You Can Gain From Real-Time Bookkeeping

Real-time bookkeeping uses live data to give you visibility into your current income and expenses, balances, and more. The visibility that real-time bookkeeping provides allows business owners to gain valuable insight into both their finances and businesses. Continue reading for 5 valuable insights you can gain from real-time bookkeeping.

Alexandra OjalvoAugust 24, 2021Posted In: Tax Tips

The importance of having a personalized bookkeeper

Having a personalized bookkeeper can provide valuable benefits to any business owner. A personalized bookkeeper can monitor and organize your business’s daily transactions. Not only that, they can also give you the reassurance and security you want to have about your company’s finances. Join us to learn more about the importance of having a personalized bookkeeper.

Aubry BlackAugust 17, 2021Posted In: Business Tips

Making the Most of Restaurant Relief Funding

Beyond predictable product expenses, some restaurants might opt to use the Restaurant Relief funds to better adapt to a post-pandemic dining culture that will likely continue to expect extra sanitization, more outdoor seating, and ample distance between tables—all of which have associated costs.

KPMG SparkAugust 10, 2021Posted In: Tax Tips

5 Steps to Successful Remote Hiring

Remote work isn't new, but it seems to have now shifted from a rare perk to the norm for many businesses. This change has many benefits for small businesses. Remote work now allows business owners to find the best talent regardless of their location. However, hiring remotely is different from in-person hiring, and small business owners need to know how to approach the process.

KPMG SparkJuly 20, 2021Posted In: Business Tips

Client Story: It’s the Little Things That Count

How innovation and KPMG Spark have helped this family-owned pen company provide opportunities for adults with disabilities.

KPMG SparkJuly 14, 2021Posted In: Client Stories
Image of person doing bookkeeping at a desk

Why Is Bookkeeping Important In 2021?

Starting a business can be a busy time for any entrepreneur and to some, worrying about bookkeeping can seem like an unnecessary task. But, as intimidating as it may be to have a bookkeeper, there are many benefits to online bookkeeping and a strong accounting platform; and several problems can arise when a business does not keep their bookkeeping up to date.

KPMG SparkJune 29, 2021Posted In: Accounting Info

How to Support Women Entrepreneurs in 2021

KPMG is committed to empowering women in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Join us to learn more about how to support women entrepreneurs in 2021.

KPMG SparkJune 22, 2021Posted In: Business Tips