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Laughing Gull Foundation Announces over $1.85 million in Grantmaking Toward Organizations Focused on Higher Education for Individuals Who Are Justice-Involved

Durham, NC - The Laughing Gull Foundation (LGF) announced today that it has committed over $1.85 million in 2021 to organizations committed to advancing higher education opportunities for individuals who are justice-involved. Our intention with these grants is to play a role in reversing the trend of mass incarceration; and to affirm the humanity, capacity, and potential of people who are currently incarcerated and returning citizens.
 
This year’s grantmaking continues LGF’s strategy of expanding access to quality higher education opportunities in prison programs. LGF’s grants support efforts that center racial equity, engage student voices and leadership, create pathways for reentry, advance critical policies that impact individuals who are justice-involved, and develop field-wide learning communities.
 

“We are truly inspired by the work of the organizations we are funding this year, especially as they are working diligently and creatively to return to in-person classrooms as well as address health concerns in the prisons during COVID,” stated Meg Baesmith, Board President. “We are also excited to support six coalitions that are focused on increasing access to quality higher education in prison and preparing their states and the Southern region to be ready for the restoration of Pell funding to students who are incarcerated in 2023.”

 
LGF’s funding now includes 21 credit-bearing higher education in prison programs that are reaching over 1,500 students across the South each year. New to the portfolio this year are programs at Piedmont Virginia Community College and West Virginia University and three statewide higher education in prison coalitions (in Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina). In addition, three new LGF grantee partners focus on reentry and higher education: Resilience Education and REAL LIFE in Virginia, and the Florida Justice Center.
 
LGF’s 2021 Higher Education in Prison grantee partner organizations/programs are listed below. The eight new grantees added to the portfolio this year are marked with an asterisk. For questions about LGF's Higher Education in Prison grantmaking, please contact Kisha Bird, kisha@laughinggull.org.
 
 
Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. (Alabama)
Alliance for Higher Education in Prison. (National)
Claflin University Pathways from Prison Program. (Orangeburg, SC)
College & Community Fellowship. (National)
The Education Trust. (Washington, DC)
*Florida Justice Center. (Winter Park, FL)
Florida Prison Education Project @ University of Central Florida. (Orlando, FL)
*GA Coalition of Higher Education in Prison. (Atlanta, GA)
GA State University Prison Education Project. (Atlanta, GA)
Guilford College Wiser Justice Program. (Greensboro, NC)
The Chillon Project @ Life University.(Marietta, GA)
Jamii Sisterhood Project Freedom. (Windsor, CT)
Miami-Dade College - Institution for Educational Empowerment. (Miami, FL)
*Mississippi Humanities Council. (Jackson, MS)
*NC Prison Education Collaborative. (Asheville, NC)
Operation Restoration. (New Orleans, LA)
*Piedmont VA Community College HEP Program. (Charlottesville, VA)
Prison to College Pipeline Program. University of Mississippi. (Oxford, MS)
Rappahannock Community College Correctional Ed. Program. (Warsaw, VA)
*REAL LIFE. (Richmond, VA)
*Resilience Education. (Richmond, VA)
Shaw University Reducing Recidivism through Higher Education. (Raleigh, NC)
Southern Higher Education in Prison Collective. (Southern Regional)
Southside VA Community College Campus Within Walls. (Alberta, VA)
Stetson University Community Education Project. (Deland, FL)
Tennessee Higher Education Initiative. (Nashville, Tennessee)
Tennessee Prison College Coalition. (Tennessee)
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. (Virginia)
University of North Alabama-Limestone Prison Programming Initiative. (Florence, AL)
UNC Asheville Prison Education Program. (Asheville, NC)
UNC Chapel Hill Correctional Education Program. (Chapel Hill, NC)
Vera Institute of Justice. (National)
Warren Wilson College Inside Out Program. (Asheville, NC)
*West Virginia University Higher Education in Prison Initiative. (Morgantown, WV)