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Laughing Gull Foundation Awards Nearly $1.7 Million in Grants to Organizations Supporting Higher Education in Prison in 2019

Durham, NC – The Laughing Gull Foundation (LGF) is pleased to announce the approval of $1,694,500 in grants to be awarded in 2019 to 27 organizations increasing access to high quality, accredited college courses in prisons. LGF is honored to support organizations working diligently to affirm the humanity and potential of incarcerated people, and to restore educational equity for students who have been left behind.

“LGF is proud to continue our investment in the field of higher education in prison.We are excited to see the higher education in prison field grow in the South and to support nineteen programs throughout the region. The consequences of mass incarceration in this country are devastating and far-reaching, and must be addressed through a number of strategies, including access to higher education. We are also excited to see the importance of access to higher  education in prison gaining attention with the new film, "College Behind Bars." 

– Meg Baesmith, LGF Board President
LGF’s $1.7 million commitment represents a 28% increase from 2018 in annual grantmaking for its Higher Education in Prison Program, and the addition of four new grantees. The portfolio reaffirms LGF’s focus on the South, which has the highest incarceration rate in the country.
The grantee list below represents organizations doing innovative work to provide rigorous college programs to incarcerated students, create pathways to higher education after release from prison, and expand both the quality and access to higher education in prison in the South and across the country.
LGF’s 2019 Higher Education in Prison grants have been made to the following organizations (* = new grantee). For further organizational details, please visit the websites below. For questions about LGF's Higher Education in Prison grant making, please visit or contact Hez Norton, Executive Director, at

Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. (Auburn, AL)
Alliance for Higher Education in Prison. (National)
College & Community Fellowship. (National)
Exchange for Change. (Miami, FL)
*Florida Prison Education Project @ University of Central Florida. (Orlando, FL)
GA State University Prison Education Project. (Atlanta, GA)
Guilford College Wiser Justice Program. (Greensboro, NC)
The Chillon Project @ Life University.(Marietta, GA)
*Miami-Dade College - Institution for Educational Empowerment. (Miami, FL)
*Mississippi Prison Writes Initiative. (Oxford, MS)
Operation Restoration. (New Orleans, LA)
*Prison to College Pipeline Program, University of Mississippi. (Oxford, MS)
Rappahannock Community College Correctional Ed. Program. (Warsaw, VA)
Reforming Arts. (Atlanta, GA)
*Shaw University Reducing Recidivism through Higher Education.
(Raleigh, NC)
Southside VA Community College Campus Within Walls. (Alberta, VA)
Stetson University Community Education Project. (Deland, FL)
Tennessee Higher Education Initiative. (Tennessee)
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. (Virginia)
UNC Asheville Prison Education Program. (Asheville, NC)
UNC Chapel Hill Correctional Education Program. (Chapel Hill, NC)
University of Utah Research Collaborative on HEP. (National)
Vera Institute of Justice. (National)
Warren Wilson College Inside Out Program. (Asheville, NC)

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