Through PLUS ONE, Kristen Ingram was able to unite public figures with incarcerated individuals in an effort to advocate for criminal justice reform (Courtesy Photo)

In 2017, former NFL Network executive Kristen Ingram bet on herself by creating PLUS ONE Society, a company that provides initiatives that tackle societal issues. Since its inception, many celebrities, athletes and sporting leagues have acquired her expertise to conduct conscious programming.

PLUS ONE provides a myriad of services including social responsibility mapping, diversity and inclusion programming, event managing, and talent booking. Initially, Ingram was only offering four services and has since developed more skills.

“As I’ve evolved not only as a human but also working through how to use my gifts,” Ingram said. “So now, you’ll see things like celebrity social responsibility mapping: creating a roadmap for celebrities and influencers to integrate social responsibility into their brand so they can be profitable and contribute at the same time.”

Through their partnerships and programing, PLUS ONE has been working ardently for criminal justice reform. The company has partnered with several NBA teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Indiana Pacers for their Play for Justice initiative.

Play for Justice consists of former and current athletes along with the coaching staff of a franchise having a round table discussion with people who are incarcerated. In an interview with Bucks guard George Hill for “Champions of Change: The RISE Podcast,” Ingram mentioned how they desire to “humanize people that are incarcerated.”

“We do that through bringing people proximate to the issue and advocating the voices on the inside so people can see that we’re not so different,” Ingram said. “How the program came about was through a couple of channels, but one of the driving forces behind it was the film “Just Mercy” and leveraging the themes of that film.”

On the podcast, Hill shared how the Play for Justice event made him want to do more to help people who are incarcerated.

“Just to go listen to their stories and see them smile, see them feel like they’re a part of life. I feel like for me, we gave them a new life, a new sense of direction,” he said. “These guys are human, these guys just made a mistake and they’re learning from their mistakes doesn’t mean they have to be caged like they have no life.”

PLUS ONE has also collaborated for rap icon Common to host concerts in correctional facilities. Ingram noted that Common and his team was great to work with and that he has a “tremendous soul.”

“So much is weighted on the experience of manifesting hope in a moment for thousands of people who were incarcerated,” she said. “When you enter a prison, you don’t know when the last time hope existed. Our job is to create the light.”

Ingram has worked with people who wanted to advocate for causes beyond social justice. She noted how everybody cares about something.

“I’ve had a lot of athletes that are really into animal welfare,” she said. “[Minnesota Vikings linebacker] Anthony Barr is really an advocate for single mothers continuing their education but that’s because he came from a single mom.”

Ingram found a way for PLUS ONE to persevere through the pandemic by creating virtual events with celebrities like Devon Franklin and Cynthia Bailey. Last November, PLUS ONE produced a 10-year-anniversary celebration of the organization LIVE FREE in the Bay Area.