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Laughing Gull Foundation Announces over $1.3 million in Grantmaking Toward Organizations Focused on Higher Education for Justice-Involved Individuals

November 2020


Durham, NC - The Laughing Gull Foundation (LGF) announced today that it has committed over $1.3 million in 2020 to programs and initiatives committed to advancing higher education opportunities for justice-involved people. This year’s grantmaking continues LGF’s vision of expanding access to higher education opportunities for incarcerated students and returning citizens.

 “We are truly inspired by the work of the organizations we are funding this year, especially as they are working diligently to address health concerns in the prisons during COVID and coming up with innovative ways to engage students without in-person instruction,” stated Meg Baesmith, Board President. “We will continue supporting programs that are adapting to the current needs and creating educational opportunities for people in prison.”

LGF’s 2020 Higher Education in Prison (HEP) funding includes support to organizations such as College & Community Fellowship, Education Trust, and the Vera Institute of Justice, who are all working to increase access to HEP in prison through policy and narrative change on the national forefront. At the state level, funding for the Tennessee Prison College Coalition and the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education supports statewide efforts to increase access to higher education for the justice-involved population. At the local level, LGF’s funding includes 17 credit-bearing HEP programs that are reaching students across the South. LGF’s support comes during a time where HEP programs are working tirelessly to reach students who are incarcerated during the pandemic, which forced programs to shift their modes of instruction and communication.

LGF’s 2020 HEP Program grants have been made to the organizations listed below.  New grantees added to the portfolio this year are Claflin University’s Pathways from Prison Program, University of North Alabama-Limestone Prison Programming Initiative, and Education Trust. For questions about LGF's HEP  grantmaking, please contact Terrell Blount, at 

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 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)
Operation Restoration. (New Orleans, LA)
Prison to College Pipeline ProgramUniversity of Mississippi. (Oxford, MS)
Rappahannock Community College Correctional Ed. Program. (Warsaw, 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)
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)
University of Utah Research Collaborative on HEP. (National)
Vera Institute of Justice. (National)
The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. (Virginia)
Warren Wilson College Inside Out Program. (Asheville, NC)

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