Lumina Foundation FAQ
What is Lumina Foundation? Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.
Where is Lumina Foundation located? Lumina's Headquarters are located downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. The Foundation also has an office in Washington, D.C.
When was Lumina Foundation founded? Lumina was established in August of 2000.
How many staff members does Lumina have? The Foundation currently employs 55 staff members. Bios and backgrounds for these staff members can be seen here.
What is the size of Lumina Foundation's endowment? Lumina is among the nation’s top 100 private foundations with an endowment in excess of $1 billion.
How was Lumina Foundation founded? Lumina is a conversion foundation created in 2000 as USA Group, Inc., the nation’s largest private guarantor and administrator of education loans, sold most of its operating assets to the Student Loan Marketing Association, Inc. (Sallie Mae). Proceeds from the sale established the USA Group Foundation with an endowment of $770 million. Since 2000, the Foundation has been dedicated to ensuring that more students, especially underrepresented populations (also termed 21st century students by the Foundation), access and succeed in attaining a high-quality postsecondary credential. The Foundation was renamed "Lumina Foundation for Education" in February of 2001. Lumina Foundation was re-branded solely as “Lumina Foundation” in 2011. Today there are no connections to the student loan industry or to any other interest group or sector.
Does Lumina Foundation give scholarships? No, Lumina does not give scholarships. Lumina supports its mission in a very targeted way: all of the Foundation's resources are focused on system-level change that can lead to large-scale impact. Lumina believes that education, specifically higher education, provides the basis for individual opportunity, economic vitality and social stability. With its partners, both grantees and contractors, Lumina strives to meet workforce demands and close gaps in attainment for groups not historically well-served by higher education. For more information on Lumina's grant-making process, click here.
How do I apply for a grant from Lumina Foundation? Please visit our Grants/FAQ document here.
How much money does Lumina Foundation grant away each year? Each year, every private foundation must make eligible charitable expenditures that equal or exceed approximately 5 percent of the value of its endowment.
How can I view Lumina Foundation's financial statements? Because Lumina Foundation is a tax-exempt private foundation formed for public purposes, the Foundation believes it has an obligation to operate in a transparent manner. Each year, private foundations file an IRS tax form called Form 990-PF which contains significant detail and narrative information about finances, grant-making programs, operations, and compliance with applicable tax requirements. Lumina posts its most recent Form 990-PF in an effort to increase transparency about our work. Those statements can be found here. For more information on private foundations' tax status, click here.
Can Lumina Foundation lobby? In accordance with section 4945 of the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury regulations Section 53.4945, Lumina is prohibited from using funds for lobbying. All of the Foundation’s policy and advocacy work is implemented in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Code and related Treasury regulations. Lumina's work focuses on non-partisan research and analysis.
What has been Lumina Foundation’s progress on reaching the goal? Each year, Lumina produces an annual report entitled, Stronger Nation, to specifically track progress toward the nation's 60% attainment goal. This report is from a national perspective, and also includes data for the nation's largest metro areas, each of the 50 states, and data even down to the county level.
How is Lumina governed? Lumina Foundation is governed by a board of directors. Lumina's board of directors can be seen here.
How do I get involved with Lumina Foundation? Every American has a role in helping Lumina Foundation reach its 60% goal. Everyone–from employers to instructors to families–have clear steps to take to reach the goal. And no matter how small, each step toward the goal is essential. Find out now how you can contribute to building a stronger nation through higher education.