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MMC Receives $800k Mellon Foundation Grant to Fund College’s Prison Education Programming

Marymount Manhattan College is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Over three years, the grant will assist in expanding and promoting MMC’s BRIDGE model of college- and university-based prison education programs.

BRIDGE stands for Building Relationships for Inclusion, Diversity, Globalism, and Equity, reflecting the primary goal of this unique prison education model. The hallmark of the BRIDGE model is mutual learning and dialogue between MMC’s main campus students and the incarcerated students in both the Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP) and the Taconic College Program (TCP), for which MMC is the sole degree-granting institution. The BRIDGE’s two-fold purpose is to enrich all students’ educational experiences through the free exchange of ideas across locations and to pave the way for more seamless re-entry of incarcerated students to society. When fully realized with the help of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, MMC’s BRIDGE will be a New York State model that can be extended to include other institutions in a robust statewide network, as well as a national model that can be emulated by colleges and universities in any locale.

In particular, the Mellon grant will allow MMC to expand the BRIDGE model through a prison education and public philosophy initiative, to be spearheaded by a new faculty member affiliated with MMC’s Geraldine A. Ferraro Institute for Breakthrough Civic Leadership. Named in honor of MMC’s best-known graduate, the Ferraro Institute is a multidisciplinary platform that draws on MMC’s rich history in civic activism and social justice. The mandate of the Ferraro Fellow in Prison Education and Public Philosophy will be to strengthen and disseminate the BRIDGE model by catalyzing innovative pedagogies and curriculum development at MMC and beyond.

“With the support of The Mellon Foundation, MMC will be able to grow and enhance a model of prison education for which our college is widely known,” says President Kerry Walk. “The mutual learning and understanding made possible by the BRIDGE we’re building benefits not only our students, both on the inside and the outside, but also society at large.”

About Marymount Manhattan College

Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) is a coeducational, independent, private liberal arts college located in Manhattan, New York City. The mission of the College is to educate a socially and economically diverse student body by fostering intellectual achievement and personal growth and by providing opportunities for career development. To learn more about MMC, please visit:

About the Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP) and the Taconic College Program (TCP)

MMC is the sole degree-granting institution for the Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP) at the maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, New York, as well as for the Taconic College Program (TCP), supported administratively through a partnership with Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, at the nearby medium-security Taconic Correctional Facility. The BHCP is supported almost entirely by private donations. Through these college education programs, MMC offers courses that lead to an Associate of Arts degree in Social Sciences and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology or Politics and Human Rights, in addition to providing college-preparatory courses in writing and mathematics. Approximately 200 incarcerated women take MMC courses each semester and, since 1997, more than 225 incarcerated women have earned an MMC degree.

About the Ferraro Institute

Named in honor of MMC’s best-known graduate, the Geraldine A. Ferraro Institute for Breakthrough Civic Leadership (“The Ferraro Institute”) is a multidisciplinary platform that draws on MMC’s rich history in civic activism and social justice. The work of the Ferraro Institute is catalyzed by its fellows—appointed scholar-practitioners crossing disciplinary boundaries—who spearhead MMC curriculum development and develop public programs that highlight the mission of the Ferraro Institute.

Published: June 13, 2019