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Lumina awards racial justice and equity grants totaling $1.6 million

INDIANAPOLIS (June 12, 2018)—Lumina Foundation today announced that 19 colleges and universities will receive grant awards totaling $625,000 from its Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Fund was created after last year’s racially motivated violence in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia.

In December, with support from its board, Lumina committed to funding these one-time grants—ranging from $25,000 to $50,000—in response to what the foundation saw as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on campuses across the country.

“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “These campuses have shown a willingness and capacity to address racial disparities at a systemic level. They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity—it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

In partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Lumina evaluated 312 grant applications submitted in response to a request for proposals, indicating a strong desire throughout higher education to improve campus culture through community dialogues, faculty and staff development, and other creative approaches. Lumina received proposals from a wide breadth of colleges and universities, including two- and four-year, public and private, large and small, and minority-serving institutions.

Approaches to fostering more constructive racial dialogue varied, but successful proposals share some features. The colleges and universities receiving financial support recognize there’s no quick fix to addressing issues of race on campus, and that they must take responsibility for unjust conditions and for improving them. Successful applicants also advanced ideas that will give students a clear voice in shaping changes to their college experiences that could ultimately help eliminate unfair and unequal educational outcomes, especially among African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian students. Some successful proposals also addressed the broader issue of curricular change and faculty development to assure that all students learn about our nation’s history of racism and struggles for racial justice.

“We are proud to support the efforts of colleges and universities to improve conditions for students of color, which is a precursor to achieving racial justice and for closing gaps in educational attainment,” said Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “We know that improvements to campus climate benefit all students, Improving the environment in which students learn and eliminating disparities in outcomes across racial groups has to become a core function of every institution, and it must be done with students at the center.”

Institution

Project Description

Bard College

Bard College will engage faculty, students, artists, and other community partners in the creation of public art, signage, monuments, and other expressions that celebrate previously suppressed histories of the local community. The creation and discussion around these installations will drive the evolution of Bard community values regarding racial justice and dealing with differences across race and ethnicity.

Haverford College

Haverford College faculty will integrate racial justice into their instruction by creating a new teaching and learning institute. This institute will coordinate a structured process for improving conditions in STEM courses for students from racial and ethnic backgrounds who do not typically do well in such courses. Finally, Haverford’s most effective academic advisors will establish a peer-mentoring program to help new advisors improve their practices amid reduced student-to-advisor ratios.

Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College will broaden existing racial justice programming by initiating a streaming web platform to engage remote students and by increasing campus-wide programming through its Diversity Council.

Iḷisaġvik College

Iḷisaġvik College will work with the First Alaskans Initiative in an extended discussion of Alaska Native ways that will be used to develop measures of cultural understanding that can be used to guide updates to its curriculum.

Illinois Central College

Most of Illinois Central College’s African-American students live in Peoria, which has been characterized as an especially hostile environment for them. The college will train community facilitators to conduct racial justice-related discussions, host a racial justice and equity summit with Peoria residents, and hold at least 40 dialogue sessions. The college also will review college and community policies for racial bias and deficit language.

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) will engage white faculty, staff, and students in monthly discussions, develop a co-curriculum to help them recognize and reduce the effects of their own and others’ white privilege, and offer workshops on racially just teaching practices.

Lorain County Community College

Lorain County Community College will amplify the effectiveness and reach of its "Equity by Design" program, which consists of advising and support services that embrace and celebrate student identities—race, religion, nation of origin, sexuality, gender, and others—to empower those students and improve educational conditions for their success.

Montana University System

The Montana University System will implement recommendations from its American Indian and Minority Achievement Council, focusing on strategies to improve American Indian education attainment and assess and communicate any gains.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College will scale existing racial justice programming for student, faculty, and staff communities, as well as adapt programming to align with work among community nonprofit partners.

Rutgers University—Newark

This Rutgers campus will develop and embed inclusive, racial justice-minded approaches within project-based courses across disciplines and expand existing racial justice training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. The campus also will redouble efforts to recruit and retain staff and faculty of color.

Salt Lake Community College

Salt Lake Community College will expand equity programming to reach wider populations with it, and better ensure that students affected by equity gaps are made aware of and connected with appropriate support services.

Skagit Valley College

Skagit Valley College will promote Latina and Latino student success through an Educational Justice Conference for students, a Racial Justice and Equity Summer Institute for high school students, and implementation of racially just teaching practices among faculty and staff.

Southern Adventist University

Southern Adventist University will facilitate student, faculty, and staff storytelling to better understand campus relationships, which will inform a lecture series enabling robust discussion. They will also sponsor a contest in which diverse teams identify, suggest, and implement solutions designed to improve racial justice on campus.

Temple University

Temple University will facilitate "Interactive Community Conversations" across student, faculty, staff, and community groups that help participants reflect on their roles in a racist culture through the creation of self-portraits. Participants will explore how their self-images align with others’ images of them. 

University of Arizona

In partnership with the University of Missouri, the University of Arizona will create communities to talk about racism in America and scale these dialogues across existing faculty, staff, and student groups.  After assessing the positive educational effects of this model, they will share it nationally.

University of California at Los Angeles

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) will create a mobile app that allows students to help build a crowdsourced, real-time database of incidents and experiences that describe campus climate in terms of verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs, or insults that make people feel unwelcome or threatened based on their social or racial identities.

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico will empower faculty fellows from across its system to develop racial justice and bias strategies and protocols that will be integrated into all areas of the general education curriculum. The university system will align these resources with student activities outside the classroom and build a faculty community of practice around the resulting resources.

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia will develop and use a new undergraduate curriculum to teach cultural understanding, skills for bystanders to intervene in situations involving racist behavior, and conflict resolution to be applied in departments across the university as well as in a one-week standalone course.

University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia will offer workshops and town hall meetings that involve community members in discussions of racial bias, focusing on storytelling to help drive change among participants and their communities.

To further advance work toward improving campus climate nationally, Lumina also awarded a $1 million grant to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to support the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California. Shaun Harper, one of the country’s leading scholars on diversity and inclusion on college campuses, runs the center in Los Angeles.

The Center brings together professors from across USC who study people of color, racial inequities, immigration, and related topics. Lumina’s grant will support equity institutes on 10 college campuses to train senior campus leaders as well as the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates, a quantitative annual survey of hundreds of colleges and universities that will gauge students’ feelings of inclusion and overall racial climates.