Information About C.A.N.D.O.R

Impact Our Future

Our Story

CANDOR Enterprises NFP was birthed through the collective vision of its Co-CEOs Michael Cannon and RIcky Hamilton.

Having served 23 and 29 years respectively Ricky and Michael spent much of their time contemplating the ills which plagued their communities, the criminal legal system and the oppressive Illinois Department of Correction they found themselves subjected to.

Ricky and Michael first met and began to partner during their period of incarceration while at the first of its kind institution – Kewanee Life Skills Reentry Center in Kewanee Illinois. As President and Vice President of the Illinois Department of Corrections very first Restorative Justice Program- Two Roads. These visionaries began their work of developing and implementing restorative solutions through a directly impacted lens by first taking accountability, then transforming their past pain and learned life lessons into programs that could better the quality of life of those around them.

Finally free, these gentlemen are bringing this very same energy and perspective to disproportionately impacted communities and businesses throughout the metropolitan Chicagoland area and suburban Cook County. Through intentional collaborative partnerships and grassroots efforts CANDOR Enterprises intends to reimage what community engagement means.

Ricky Hamilton

Co-Founder/ Co-Executive Director

While incarcerated, Ricky used his time and energy to make a better way not only for himself but those around him as well. Having co-founded the Illinois Department of Corrections’ very first Restorative Justice Program, Two Roads, Ricky was Editor-In- Chief of an electronic magazine based around stories and service which reached over 43,000 incarcerated individuals and correctional staff throughout Illinois as well the public.

While inside, Ricky co-hosted a podcast along with Psychologist Jim Estes entitled Inside Outside. This podcast explored and captured the stories of resilience of individuals overcoming overwhelming obstacles that were discovered through their incarceration.

Ricky also helped to organize and design SB 2054/HB 2620 – The Restorative Sentencing Act which was sponsored by senate majority leader Kim Lightford and then House Majority Leader Christopher Welch as well as co-founded the advocate group WhyreformIlliniois.

In addition to being content creator for the IDOC’s website and Facebook page, Ricky would later go on to co-create the GO B.L.U.E. (Business Leveraging Under-utilized Ex-felons) Initiative along with Mr. Cannon. Through this initiative the institutional video was created for promotional use to businesses throughout Illinois as well as to be played at the Illinois State Fair. According to Ricky his greatest accomplishment during his incarceration is his development and creation of Choices Not Chance, a Juvenile Mentorship program based around informing at-risk and justice-involved youth about the power of choices and the causative factors of their decisions. To date Ricky has fully engaged with the community as an agent of change for equity. Ricky is a Reentry Coordinator for Phalanx Family Services, where he oversees the implementation of the The Reentry Navigation Initiative:Road Home program. He also sits on the Advisory Board for the Education Justice Project for the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the Reentry Guide Initiative. Ricky sits on the participant Advisory Board for Housing Choice Partners and is Outreach Coordinator for Greenwood Archer Capital,PERC (Pathways [to] Enterprise [for] Returning Citizens, an entrepreneurship program for the formerly incarcerated as well is a member and has cohosted the Illinois Reentry Council Housing workgroup. Some of Ricky’s other interests are oil painting portraits, fitness and Ancient African studies.

Michael Cannon

Co-Founder/ Co-Executive Director

As a justice involved individual with 29 years of lived experience in the Illinois Department of Corrections, Michael Cannon spent many years striving to transform his life into becoming the best version of himself. Contemplating solutions on how to cure the ills of society and improve the quality of life for men, women, and youth in disenfranchised communities, Michael utilized his directly impacted experiences to develop restorative programs to holistically address the societal problems and needs of the underserved. Undergoing his restorative transformation, Michael found his purpose and calling in life…uplifting fallen humanity.

As Vice President of Two Roads, Michael was instrumental in helping to establish the first-of-its-kind Restorative Justice Program in the Illinois Department of Corrections. In addition to helping to establish the organizational formation, programs and operational protocol of Two Roads with President Ricky Hamilton, and organizing and co-hosting workforce development job fairs and summits, Michael was co-creator and Chairman of the GO B.L.U.E. Committee, a workforce development initiative created and developed by Michael and Ricky.

Michael and Ricky’s identical passion and complimentary talent together evolved into a friendship and business partnership as Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of C.A.N.D.O.R. Enterprises NFP (Creating A New Destiny [through] Opportunities [and] Restoration) , G.O. B.L.U.E. America, Restorative Reentry Housing Corp., and other social entrepreneurial ventures.

Michael is currently 1 of 2 Reentry Navigators for the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is the public workforce system in Chicago and suburban Cook County, the largest public workforce network in the nation. As Reentry Navigator, Michael is instrumental in redesigning the Reentry system for Cook County and Suburban Cook County and implementation of the Reentry program for Cook County, “The Reentry Navigation Initiative: The Road Home Program”.

Michael is a member of the Cook County Re-entry Coordinated Council, a broad diverse group of local decision-makers and criminal justice stakeholders whose goal is to restructure Cook County’s fragmented re-entry service system. Michael’s first-hand experience in correctional settings, as well as his extensive employment and volunteer experience in the field of reentry services, has allowed him to serve as a Reentry Advisor and Content Expert in shaping recommendations for Cook County with regard to reentry services.

Michael’s leadership in workforce development and unique perspective from his own lived experience with reentry led to his current membership of the Illinois Reentry Council of the Illinois Justice Project where he Co-Chairs the Employers/Upward Mobility Work Group. The IRC brings together those who intend to create an equitable and effective process for people leaving prisons and jails to support them in their return to the community. Members are determining a long-term strategy to design an improved system and support its implementation. The Council has six workgroups that are critical to advancing the design and implementation of a strong reentry system that focus on various elements of successful reentry and a supportive reentry system.

Michael is also currently an Advisory Committee Member for the Illinois Education Justice Project’s Reentry Guide Initiative at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he has made many valuable contributions to the publication and distribution of its reentry guide, Mapping Your Future: A Guide to Successful Reentry, which is used by thousands of people who are released from Illinois correctional facilities and distributed by many IDOC counselors and social workers.

Michael is also a current member on the Governing Board for the “Campaign to End Permanent Punishments” (Fully Free Campaign) at Heartland Alliance. There are over 48,000 collateral consequences across the United States that act as barriers for people who have a criminal record. Through legislative systemic policy change to repeal or amend the laws, the Fully Free Campaign seeks to dismantle the 1,189 Illinois laws that deny or restrict access to employment, education, and housing that are barriers for life for returning residents who have paid their debt to society.

Michael is also involved in numerous other social causes as a member of the Far South Chicago Coalition (FSCC) and a member of the Far South Community Action Council (FSCAC) Chicago Public Schools, where he received the 7th annual Black History Month 2021 recognition as Community Leader for his generosity and countless hours of devoted service to the community.

Michael’s passion for the holistic uplifting of fallen humanity is reflected in his words, actions, and deeds as he strives to make the world a better place.

Our Philosophy

C.A.N.D.O.R’s philosophy is making individuals, families, and communities whole through holistic restorative solutions, practices and opportunities that enhance the quality of life for men, women, and youth in disenfranchised communities.

C.A.N.D.O.R. provides non-traditional, innovative solutions to complex societal problems utilizing restorative justice principles and best practices to produce the best results.

Operating through a restorative justice-based lens, we utilize seasoned community leaders and directly impacted individuals with lived experience as peer led educators and instructors, to holistically address the problems and needs of all stakeholders equitably. We recognize and understand that those who are closest to the problems are closest to the solutions, and they are most relatable to those who are in need of the services we provide.

With the C.A.N.D.O.R. solution-oriented process, we identify, analyze, and arrive at the most effective solutions and ways to implement the proper programming to achieve the desired result to suit the particular needs of each individual and community.

We are a solutions-based organization who is fully intentional in reversing intentional poverty, structural racism and all its intended or unintended effects.

We fully understand that we are the change we seek, therefore as we build capacity we focus inward then build out with a collective mindset to conquer the challenges that face us all.