What is the purpose of the Strategy Labs Technical Assistance Program?

The purpose of the program is to support state and local nonprofits’ efforts to increase higher education attainment.

The program provides funding to reimburse the eligible expenses of state- and locally based nonprofit organizations and governmental organizations to present and learn about higher education policy information, research, and nonpartisan analysis to advance the 60% attainment goal.

Lumina believes strongly that technical assistance requests be locally led and locally driven.

Why must all technical assistance requests be aligned to the State Policy Agenda?

The State Policy Agenda is a collection of evidenced-based policies and practices that have worked in several states to increase higher education attainment.

Lumina Foundation does not endorse a one-size-fits-all approach and encourages state leaders to shape technical assistance requests to their particular state contexts within the frame of the State Policy Agenda.


Who is eligible for technical assistance?

The applying entity must be an organization that is classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as public charities under section 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the Code, or be a state, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing.

Applicants for technical assistance funds may not apply to have their own organization provide the technical assistance.

Who is eligible to provide technical assistance?

The eligibility requirements for technical assistance applicants do not apply to the providers of technical assistance. The provider need not be a 501(c)3 or a 509(a) 1, 2 or 3, or a government entity.

To assist applying entities, Lumina maintains a directory of state policy experts who can serve as guides for applying entities. However, applying entities may name individuals and organizations not in the directory in their applications. New names and suggestions are welcome.

How does Lumina Foundation define government officials, and what is the policy regarding their participation as technical assistance providers or beneficiaries?

Government officials are individuals employed within the governor’s office or executive agency(ies); legislator office, committee or other body; and state higher education coordinating or governing boards (SHEEOs). As technical assistance providers, government officials are eligible to receive reimbursement for travel expenses, but not honoraria.

Fund Amounts and Payment

Is there any flexibility in the funding available for technical assistance support?

The Technical Assistance Fund provides flexible support to states to cover costs that are typically one-time and beyond an agency’s capacity or planned budget. The following levels of grants describe the type of activities that the fund supports.

Level 1: Up to $5,000
Supports activities such as travel expenses for experts, consultants, and speakers from other states to provide testimony, deliver keynote addresses, or participate in meetings; printing and publication costs; convenings (e.g., travel, facilitation, materials and supplies, space rental, catering, technology).

Level 2: $5,001 – $15,000
Supports activities such as convenings; travel and stakeholder engagement; state data analysis and research; one-time technology costs where the grantee can demonstrate sustainable funding.

Level 3: $15,001 – $25,000
Supports activities such as larger convenings; more significant marketing and communications campaigns; project coordination or management; strategic or content expertise consulting.

Justification must be provided for all anticipated expenses to be covered by Strategy Labs.

How will Lumina Foundation handle payment to those seeking technical assistance funds?

For Lumina-approved technical assistance requests, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RFPA), acting as fiscal intermediary, will directly administer grants to the requesting entity.

Eligible Expenses

What types of activities can be supported through technical assistance?

Examples of activities supported by technical assistance include:

  • Nonpartisan, evidenced-based policy expertise: honoraria or travel expenses for policy experts to provide testimony; keynote addresses; or present/participate in meetings with stakeholders and the public.

  • Convening and facilitation support for expenses related to meetings, including board meetings, workshops and summits, including expert facilitation.

  • Research: Expenses related to external data collection and analysis or evaluation of policy alternatives to support the state attainment goal and aligned policy development or implementation.

  • Communications to support broader public understanding and support for the state attainment goal and/or aligned agenda.

What does Lumina Foundation consider ineligible technical assistance expenses?

As a private foundation, Lumina does not support or oppose any specific legislation or legislative proposal and is expressly prohibited from supporting such activities both directly and indirectly through its grantees.

As a result, funds may not be used to support the following activities: direct or grassroots lobbying expenditures; gift or ethics rules violations; or payment to government officials (not including travel expenses).

In addition, technical assistance funds should not be used to support past events or events already receiving Lumina sponsorship or grant funding.

Application and Reporting Requirements

In what format should technical assistance applicants submit the application and supporting documents?

Lumina asks that application and supporting documents be submitted online through this web form.

What does Lumina expect regarding submission of supporting documents?

Lumina Foundation requests draft and final versions of materials associated with each technical assistance request. This includes, but is not limited to, agendas, invitee lists, and slide presentations.

If the request pertains to the hosting of an event, Lumina requires a final participant list to accompany the follow-up report.

Lumina requires that all requests for technical assistance support efforts that are nonpartisan or bipartisan in nature. If an event includes elected officials, the approved requesting entity is responsible for including political affiliation in the invitee and final participant lists for each applicable individual.

Why must all approved technical assistance applicants sign the Acceptance of Terms and Conditions for Receipt of Lumina Foundation Strategy Labs Technical Assistance Funds form?

Once Lumina approves the technical assistance request and before the technical assistance begins, Lumina requests that the approved entity submit this form.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all participants and technical assistance providers are aware of the terms and conditions of the program as well as the restrictions associated with the use of funds.

Are there any reporting requirements for receiving technical assistance funds?

In addition to supporting materials provided with the application for technical assistance funds, Lumina asks applicants for technical assistance to submit a brief follow-up report within seven days of the conclusion of the technical assistance activity. The report should include final materials (agendas, participant lists, reports, etc., as applicable), key findings, and any related next steps pertaining to the specific policy area for which technical assistance funds were requested.

Please direct any questions or comments to: LuminaStrategyLabs@hcmstrategists.com