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College Philanthropists honored with 2018 Chancellor’s Award

The Laughing Gull Foundation has received the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia have earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 17.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the 13th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Laughing Gull Foundation (LGF) is a progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice. As a steadfast advocate of higher education in prison, the Southside Virginia Community College’s Campus Within Walls(CWW) program appealed to the Foundation. Targeting higher education in prisons, LGF aimed to increase access to credit-bearing college courses for incarcerated individuals. Beginning in 2015, LGF awarded scholarships to incarcerated men at the Lunenburg Correctional Center who were involved in the CWW program. Recently, the group awarded additional funding to hire a coordinator to keep the program operational.

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president & president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity. “’Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.’”