Racial Equity

To achieve equity, we must focus our efforts. The promise of American opportunity has always been in sharp contrast with our nation’s legacy of racial discrimination and oppression. At Lumina, we work with others to pursue racial equity, diversity, and inclusion to address systemic racism that fosters injustice.

Unfortunately, today’s education systems fail to meet the needs of today’s students. These students are more racially and ethnically diverse. They are more likely to work full time. And they are more likely to experience poverty, a lack of stable housing, and food insecurity. These circumstances reflect widening gaps in income, wealth, and access to opportunity.

Policies, practices, and beliefs—rooted in history and still affecting people today—especially keep many Black, Native American, and Hispanic people from the education and skills they need. These systems unfairly hold back students who are seeking a better education and a better life. Racial disparities in the United States are widening, and without concerted efforts, such inequity will continue to grow.

Deliberate policies created or contributed to these unjust conditions, and it will take focused efforts to remove those barriers and achieve racial equity. Higher education has an important role to play. Even amid serious challenges, education and training after high school remain among the most secure pathways to economic stability. But the country needs a learning system that works well for everyone.

We work with partners to pursue racial and economic fairness by ensuring that colleges, universities, and other education providers do all they can to make opportunity real for students of color, students who are the first in their families to go to college, students from low-income families, and working-age adults.

Lumina’s Commitment

To pursue its mission with integrity, Lumina must exhibit the change it desires. We must:

  • Prioritize real change in policy and systems that address the origins of inequality and inequity.

  • Build competence among board members, senior leadership, and staff members to authentically and collaboratively engage communities of color.

  • Embed a commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in our recruitment and hiring practices, our contracting and grantmaking practices, and our investment practices.

  • Promote the capacity of our grantees and contractors to pursue racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Foster and support efforts to promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion within philanthropy.

Our Commitment in Practice

In late 2017, Lumina awarded a series of grants to improve racial climate on campuses and elevate dialogue about racial injustice in everyday life. This round of special grants came in response to racially motivated violence that August at the University of Virginia.


How Lumina began direct action on racial equity: Addressing hate – Lumina’s response »

Racial Equity

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Want to learn more?

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Watch "Race, Equality, Equity" »
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Lumina: 'Stop talking' and 'start doing'
Read our CEO's Statement »