2016 TTEF Awards

Dear TTEF supporters,

We write to let you know that we recently made our annual TTEF awards, thanks to your support and generosity!

We are awarding four scholarships this year.  All of the award winners are pursuing or will pursue college degrees—two at Adams State University, one at the Community College of Rhode Island, and one at place to be determined.

  • Recipient No. 1 has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship. He plans on using his award to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Adams State University while incarcerated.
  • Recipient No. 2.  has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.  He will soon be released from the Rhode Island Training School and will inform us where he will begin his studies.
  • Recipient No. 3 has been awarded a $500 grant.  He plans on using his grant to purse an associate’s degree at the Community College of Rhode Island while incarcerated.
  • Recipient No. 4 has been awarded a $500 grant.  He plans on using his grant to purse a bachelor’s degree at Adams State University.

We thank you for your past and continued support!

Some Stories on Formerly Incarcerated People Who Graduated This Year From Institutions of Higher Learning

We at TTEF are heartened to read stories like those listed below noting the accomplishments of formerly incarcerated people who graduated from institutions of higher education this past graduation cycle.  There were more, and we send congratulations to all graduates who were formerly incarcerated!

From Columbia: https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/research/incarceration-prevention-program/announcements.

From UC Berkeley: http://www.dailycal.org/2016/05/15/campus-hosts-1st-ever-graduation-ceremony-formerly-incarcerated-students/.

From University of Maine: http://bangordailynews.com/2016/05/13/news/state/maine-law-school-grad-with-felony-history-faces-test-of-character/.

Dress Down Day at Providence City Hall to Support TTEF

TTEF

Today, Mayor Elorza in Providence invited City Hall employees to take part in a Dress Down Day with a minimum $1 donation to help raise funds for TTEF.

We very much appreciate Mayor Elorza and the employees of City Hall for their support, and thank them.

TTEF is in its fourth year of holding workshops detailing the college application process inside Rhode Island prisons, awarding scholarships to people in prison or transitioning out of prison who are pursuing higher education, and providing mentors to our awardees.

Please consider supporting TTEF.  You can do so here.

TTEF Updates as 2015 Enters the Holiday Season

cropped-ttef.jpg

Dear TTEF Supporters,

As 2015 begins to wind down, we write about several items. First, we want to wish you a happy upcoming holiday season. We also write to thank you for all of the support you have given TTEF over the last three years.

Because of those efforts, we have been able to support the higher education efforts of 11 individuals by collectively awarding them almost $10,000 in scholarship and grant money. Due to your support, we have also been able to conduct yearly workshops about applying to college with a criminal record across the facilities at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (“RIDOC”) that have reached hundreds of individuals. Also, for some awardees, we have been able to pair them up with mentors so that they have someone they can reach out to for advice as they navigate their higher education journey.

We have been able to do this despite not having any paid staff—in other words, with all-volunteer officers and board members. Soon, however, TTEF plans to embark on a fundraising campaign to, among other things, be able to hire its first staff member. The staff member will help us coordinate and expand our programming (Rhode Island and into other states) and also help us solidify our funding streams and seek out new ones.

We hope you will consider supporting TTEF, including in any of the following, as we begin our fundraising campaign:

  • Donating to TTEF via its updated website.
  • Simply go to the website and click on the “Support Us” tab at the bottom right have of the screen or on the “donate” tab across the top of the screen.
  • When you click on the “Support Us” tab, besides donating, you will also be able to click on the “Shop to Support” icon which will provide links to your favorite online shopping websites, such as Amazon, Target, and many others. If you access these stores via our website, a small percentage of any purchase you make will be donated to TTEF.

If you are able to support TTEF in any of the above ways, or in any other ways you can think of, we thank you in advance.

We also write to give you two more updates. As noted in a previous blog post, TTEF presented at the National Conference of Higher Education in Prison at the University of Pittsburgh. The conference brought together organizations and individuals from across the country that work to develop and bring higher education opportunities to people in prison. This provided TTEF with a great opportunity to profile its programming to other organizations. TTEF’s presentation was well-received, and we hope to build on the connections we made to further collective efforts to expand higher education programming for people in prison.

Lastly, TTEF will be conducting our yearly workshops at the RIDOC this December.

Moving Donation to TTEF!

On October 18, TTEF conducted presentations at three correctional facilities in Rhode Island: men’s medium and maximum security facilities and the women’s facility.  The presentations went great and were well-attended.  The next day, I received a donation from a friend in maximum security for $20:

2013.10.19_Donation from Max Security_Blog

The donation moved me for several reasons.  First, people in Rhode Island prisons are paid between .50 cents and $3.00 per day for working at the prisons.  This means that my friend donated at the least 7 days’ (and at the most 40 days’) pay to TTEF.  Second, the donation is a prime example of common but rarely recognized behavior among people in prison: They support each other’s positive endeavors and wish success for those working  on such pursuits.

Third, and most meaningful, I was especially touched by the following passage in the letter accompanying the donation:

“Anythings possible! Now with the Transcending Foundation.  I know it’s not much but it would truly be my honor to donate and help the next person with their goals of higher learning.”

From all of us at TTEF, we thank you for your donation and for your words!!

Ford and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations Among Funders Expanding Access to College For People in Prison and Those Recently Released

The Vera Institute of Justice is pioneering an initiative to expand access to higher education for people in prison and those that have been recently released called the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project.  While many such projects toil in obscurity, Vera is positioned to raise greater awareness towards recognizing that we should encourage the education of all members of society.

The project is active in two states, New Jersey and North Carolina.  The goals of the initiative include an increase in employability and earnings for formerly incarcerated people, reduce recidivism, and improve quality of life in communities impacted by crime and incarceration.  The project hopes to demonstrate that there are cost-effective methods for providing access to postsecondary education to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.

TTEF is encouraged by this initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, the Sunshine Lady Foundation (started by Doris Buffet, the sister of Warren Buffet), the Open Society Institute (OSI), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  That these foundations are funding this program signals that expanding educational opportunities to the currently and formerly incarcerated is getting mainstream support from highly-credible institutions..  We hope such recognition convinces others that these efforts make sense from various angles, including individual rehabilitation and community economic development.

For example, the Vera Institute notes that “the difference in median earnings between people with a high school diploma and those with an associate’s degree is $8,261. The difference jumped to $22,884 when researchers included those who had completed a bachelor’s degree.”  Moreover, “postsecondary education has a significant impact on both the frequency and the quality of civic engagement and participation (e.g., voting and volunteering).”

We applaud these efforts and look forward to seeing the implementation of this project in New Jersey and North Carolina.