Dionne Lacey is the co-founder and Executive Director of the United Returning Citizens, or URC. URC is a Youngstown-based nonprofit that provides, among other services, job search and training, life and financial literacy skills, and transitional and stable housing primarily for citizens reentering society from correctional facilities. URC’s holistic approach, which Dionne has long been a champion of, has been instrumental in helping countless individuals in our community successfully build a life of self-sufficiency, despite the massive barriers that lie in front of them. Through URC, Dionne has also mentored several local businesses to success like Liyah’s Bibs and Bottles and URC Lawn Care. In addition, Dionne runs a lawncare and landscaping business that introduces the youth and returning citizens to entrepreneurship, URC Staffing Specialists, an initiative supporting returning citizens into return to the workforce and is a part of AYE Consultants & Cultural Advisors for Businesses and Personal Development, which is designed to assist with viable, successful business strategies while developing the skills needed to maintain reputable employment.
Dionne created an Education, Workforce and Business Development Cultivating Training Program called URC Grows for the next generation of workers. This program will be comprehensive and unique due to the nature of the different phases, and the ultimate goal is to create employment opportunities for the enrollees while they are in their course.
Outside of URC, she has also formed partnerships for URC with several local agencies to streamline services for the stakeholders of the reentry community she serves. Dionne currently serves as the President of the Community Legal Aid Board and YWCA Board, and the Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also a member of the Raymond John Wean Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Alumni Association, the Rockwood Leadership Institute, the League of Women Voters, and the Raymond John Wean Foundation’s Neighborhood Success Resident Council. Currently, she is working towards launching “YO Cleanup, ‘Fixin’ My Hood”, and a Tiny Homes initiative.
The driving force of Dionne’s professional life has been giving a voice to the “1/3 not heard,” the huge population of our formerly incarcerated neighbors who are locked out of the mainstream society and economy. Through this calling, she has found her purpose, drive, and has made a real difference in countless lives. In her private life, Dionne is a proud mother of three and a grandmother of seven. She has a passion for traveling, cooking, and dancing.