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$500,000 Grant to Support Prison Education Program > Columbia Business Report

Claflin University received a $500,000 grant to support its Center for Social Justice and Pathways From Prison education program.

Bank of America’s investment will help fund Claflin’s partnership with the SC Department of Corrections that offers incarcerated individuals a chance to earn bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and organizational management, as well as minors and certificates .

The donation will support scholarships and improve technology resources such as laptops, keyboards, printers, routers and Wi-Fi access points, according to a press release from the University of Orangeburg.

“We are extremely grateful for Bank of America’s support of our Center for Social Justice and the Pathways From Prison program. Research indicates dramatic reductions in recidivism rates among incarcerated individuals who participate in prison education programs,” said Dwaun J. Warmack, President of Claflin and 2019 USA Eisenhower Fellow whose scholarship research explored the best global practices to reduce mass incarceration through education and rehabilitation. “Bank of America’s reputation as a world leader in banking and finance is widely recognized. This partnership amplifies their commitment to equality, equity and the expansion of economic opportunity for diverse populations.

The funding will also be used to increase the number of qualified faculty and staff.

“Education is a gateway to a better life,” said Kim Wilkerson, president of Bank of America South Carolina. “We appreciate the leadership of Claflin University and recognize the success and progress made through the Pathways From Prison program. Issues of racial equality and economic opportunity are deeply intertwined, and it is important to remove barriers to success and focus on areas where systemic and long-term gaps have existed.

Pathways From Prison was established in 2020 as part of the Second Chance Pell Grant pilot programs. Claflin University was the only historically black SC college and university chosen from 67 nationally selected colleges and universities.

Contact Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.