The Ed Griffin Educational Bursary

Education is a door to opportunity, the proven way out of crime and a gift to the spirit.

A man in a Fraser Valley prison struggles to complete his degree—part of his correctional plan—but there is no money to pay for courses. A female inmate wants to become a drug and alcohol counsellor to help others avoid the pitfalls that led her to jail. She just needs a few college courses, but the little money she earns in prison ($6.90 a day) goes for phone calls to stay close to her family. She cannot afford tuition.

Through the John Howard Society of British Columbia, Ed Griffin has set up a bursary to help BC inmates with the expenses of higher education. Those who seek education are trying to better themselves. They know that education is the proven way out of crime. The John Howard Society of BC is a registered Canadian non-profit charity created to work with the criminal justice system promoting safe and peaceful communities.

Applicants' studies should be directed toward the specific goals of enhancing the individual's literacy and employment skills, and to assist the individual with reintegrating into society as a contributing citizen. The number of bursaries awarded in any one year will depend on the Fund's balance and its governing laws.

Bursaries are primarily based on financial need and intended to supplement students' primary sources of funding.

Ed Griffin

Ed became a Roman Catholic priest in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1962. His passion for justice and rights led him to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the famous Selma to Montgomery marches in March, 1965—a key moment in the American civil rights movement. His participation resulted in his removal from a suburban parish. Ed then served for three years in Cleveland's central city. Ed left the priesthood in 1968 to pursue a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He was later elected to Milwaukee's city council.

Ed and his wife, Kathy, opened a commercial greenhouse in suburban Milwaukee in 1976. They lived where they worked and shared the joys of raising children and growing flowers. In 1988, the family moved to British Columbia, where Ed helped establish a dynamic writing community in the city of Surrey. He is the founder of Western Canada's largest writer's conference, the Surrey Writers' Conference. Ed has published poetry, plays, short stories and a newspaper column and won several awards. The American Humanist Society honoured him as the teacher of a prize-winning inmate writer.

Ed believes that all the arts should be encouraged in prison. As Aristotle said, "Art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul."


Go to this page. In the "Messages/Instructions" box, specify "For the Ed Griffin Bursary."

Or mail a cheque to:

John Howard Society of BC
Ed Griffin Bursary Committee
763 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3C2

Tax receipts from the JHSBC will be issued to all persons, businesses or organizations who are not anonymous donors.


Submissions must be addressed to:

John Howard Society of BC
Ed Griffin Bursary Committee
763 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3C2

Application Deadline: February 1st.


Applicants must:

  • Be a Canadian Citizen or Landed Immigrant
  • Be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in the next academic school year, at a recognized university, community college, technical institute or other post-secondary institution for advanced learning
  • Have participated in educational programs within the Correctional Service of Canada or British Columbia Provincial Correctional System

To Apply:

Individuals pursuing advanced post-secondary education in English (especially creative writing) will be considered first, followed by individuals striving for a master's degree or doctorate in theology. Most importantly, the education should contribute to an individual's reintegration and being a contributing citizen, and enhance their literacy skills.

Submit the following:

  • A small piece of writing, less than 1000 words, of any genre: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay, or biography
  • A short statement of why you should be given the bursary
  • Verification of enrolment in part-time or full-time studies in the next academic year at a recognized university, college, institute or other post-secondary institution
  • Verification of participation of educational programs with the Correctional Service of Canada or BC Corrections

The bursary will be awarded by a selection committee of John Howard Society board members and a representative of the Ed Griffin family or designate. The successful recipients will be announced at the Annual General Meeting of the John Howard Society of BC.

Bursary winners will be notified by June 30th.

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