A Better

Economic Opportunities is a faith-based third-party employer ministry that develops community Shepherds. Our Shepherds Work program helps justice-involved adults thrive by offering meaningful work, a living wage, and guidance for life change.

How it Started

Economic Opportunities was established in 1991 as a program of the Memphis Leadership Foundation to serve individuals with prior criminal justice involvement.  EcOp was a program for On-The-Job training with a general focus for the adult reentry population of the Greater Memphis area.  However, in 2017, EcOp’s program was revitalized and initiated a new model that transitioned into the "Shepherds Work" program we are today.

EcOp’s purpose is to recruit, train, and develop “shepherds” who serve the justice involved and underserved adult population in the Greater Memphis Area

Without sustainable employment opportunities, the likelihood of individuals returning to prison is very high; national recidivism average is above 76%.  And without enhanced life development skills, the likelihood of these individuals maintaining employment opportunities is very low.  We believe having a shepherd guiding the way for these individuals is their greatest advantage to long term success.  

EcOp employs life coaching, spiritual guidance, and mentoring to carry out its mission.  Our program model is centered around the Elements of Effective Practice and the six core standards for mentoring

Each shepherd lives out a faith-based lifestyle that is transferable.  2nd Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that you heard of me among many witnesses the same commit to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.”  

1st Thessalonians 2:8 says, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

EcOp has been established for over 29 years.  For the past 4 years EcOp has utilized its innovative shepherd model to implement the "Shepherds Work" program to provide direct employment services to hundreds of participants.  These employment opportunities have provided healing and restoration to the heads of households in various communities in the Greater Memphis Area.  

Meet the EcOp Staff

Keusi Donald

Executive Director

Edith Christmas

Administrative Specialist

Jefferson Walker

Recruitment Coordinator

Rebecca Bain

Data & Technology Specialist

Claire Fleming

Research & Planning Specialist


James Austin

Nick Butler

Antonio Dunn

Malcolm Green

Terrance Jackson

RL Thompson