avatar for Dirk Van Velzen

Dirk Van Velzen

Prison Scholar Fund
Executive Director
Dirk is passionate about prisoner education. While incarcerated, he earned two business degrees, graduating in the top of his class at Penn State. Seeing that others would walk a similar path, Dirk founded the Prison Scholar Fund (PSF) and from behind bars supported 110 incarcerated students, demonstrating a 4% recidivism rate (compared to a national recidivism rate around 68%). Recently released from prison himself, Dirk graduated from a Nonprofit Management program at the University of Washington, won first place in the SVP Fast Pitch competition, rocked the Stanford GSB Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship, and is recognized as a finalist in the Classy Awards for innovative nonprofits two years in a row. Currently in musician John Legend & New Proft’s “Unlocked Futures” accelerator program, Dirk has his sights on opening access to postsecondary education for all underserved inmates in America (John Legend Roundtable discussion).