Lumina Foundation has selected seven states to receive short-term grants of up to $50,000 to advance equity-minded leadership aimed at increasing post-high school learning among students of color.

The Equity Leadership Acceleration Grants are being awarded to Alabama, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington.

As part of the selection process, these states completed a self-assessment of their current efforts to promote racial equity by eliminating disparities in educational outcomes across racial and ethnic groups. The states have also proposed areas for improvement, and developed plans focused on creating conditions leading to equitable educational attainment.

The states will be focusing on “essential practices” including:

  • Establishing goals for equity populations, including African-Americans, Latino, American Indian, and other underserved populations
  • Identifying equity champions and developing coalitions to support the state’s focus on racial equity
  • Developing strategic communications plans to underscore the urgency of increasing attainment among students of color
  • Creating task forces and other groups to develop state equity plans
  • Providing professional development opportunities for agency boards and staff, faculty, and administrators
  • Conducting audits to identify policies that pose barriers for students of color and identifying ways to reform those policies
  • Hosting equity attainment summits to engage state stakeholders and mobilize them in support of the state’s education equity goals.

The work will be led by state higher education executive officers, with help from other leaders, including governor’s offices.

The grants align with Lumina’s Equity Imperative, which points out systemic disparities and calls for the nation’s higher education system to be redesigned so that it gives all Americans—regardless of race, income, and other socioeconomic factors—a fair shot at success. As Lumina’s Stronger Nation report shows, while most states are succeeding in increasing attainment, educational disparities persist among students of color. To achieve the nation’s 60 percent attainment goal, it is therefore critical that we invest in improving educational equity.

States not selected for the grant program are being considered for technical assistance from the Lumina Strategy Labs, the foundation’s platform for supporting state policy and leadership in increasing attainment.

If you are a state leader who is interested in putting equity at the center of your state’s postsecondary attainment agenda, please contact Paola Santana, strategy officer for state policy, at or 317.951.5490 for additional information.

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