At the age of 16, Corey Purdie was convicted as an adult and placed in the custody of to the NC Department of Corrections. With the help of prison ministry volunteers, Corey committed his life to Christ while in prison. After serving 8 years, Purdie was released. Following his release, Purdie developed a friendship with Jeff Smith, a local pastor who mentored him as a father figure. Smith instilled hope in Purdie through Biblical texts like Jeremiah 29:11 and by reminding Purdie that he still had a purpose beyond his past.
Corey Purdie Progression: Child, Justice Involved, Social Entrepreneur
Corey Purdie with wife, Tiffany Purdie, in front of first Miracle Wash Mobile Unit
In 2007, faced with discrimination from local employers due to criminal record from a moment in his past (1996), Purdie decided to start his own business. With a bucket, a borrowed water hose, and some Joy dish detergent from his mother’s sink, he opened Miracle Wash of New Bern LLC. Without a penny in his pocket, Purdie was determined not to return to his previous life. Relying on his willpower he established a successful business, and within the first year received recognition from the Craven Community College Small Business Center.
Purdie quickly realized that the issues went far beyond just his personal situation—there were many other like him, returning home but faced with the same barriers. Purdie focused on providing opportunities for returning citizens with employment at Miracle Wash, as well as scaling his efforts by helping those who had a passion for entrepreneurship establish their individual branches of Miracle Wash, expanding to Roseville and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Seeing that barriers surrounding reentry went beyond entry level employment, in 2010 Purdie established a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Wash Away Unemployment to address those underlying barriers such as housing, sustainability skills, lack of connecting resources, transportation, family reconciliation, etc. using the Jobs for Life Curriculum. Since establishing WAU, Corey continues to learn from those who preceded him in this work, fosters relationships throughout the state, and advocates for system-level change.