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Thirty-five communities added to Lumina Foundation's community-based postsecondary education attainment strategy

INDIANAPOLIS– Today, 35 new U.S. communities were announced in the second cohort of Lumina Foundation’s community-based postsecondary education attainment strategy. The strategy was designed to help communities and regions dramatically increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials. The collaborative effort connects participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding, and the ability to customize attainment plans that will best suit each community’s needs and the well-being of its residents.

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give civic leaders the tools they need to be successful.”

Video: Lumina Initiative Gives Community Leaders Support to Deepen Local Efforts

Lumina’s goal for this work is to mobilize all sectors in a community to improve postsecondary attainment. Communities will partner with Lumina and national thought leaders through 2016 to establish attainment goals. Organizations will work with national partners to develop an action plan focused on reaching the attainment goal to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents.

Progress toward the goal will be measured by credentials earned after high school, including certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees held by local residents. The cities selected have already demonstrated momentum in advancing attainment agendas, and this effort aims to expand and deepen their work.

“It is our intention that Lumina’s support will bolster the great work already being done in our Partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength,” said Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation overseeing this work.

The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina’s partners in this effort will provide guidance to the cities as they develop goals and action plans. The national thought-leadership organizations that communities will have access to through this work include: the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Brookings Institution, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA Inc., Excelencia in Education, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Michigan College Access Network, the National College Access Network, the National League of Cities, the OMG Center, the Say Yes to Education Foundation, and Strive Together.

“We are pleased to partner with Lumina Foundation to raise educational attainment in communities across the country,” said Clifford M. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at the National League of Cities. “Mayors and other city leaders know that by collaborating across sectors to boost college completion rates, they are helping to boost the economic development of the city, and the quality of life and well-being of their neighborhoods and families.”

The second cohort of communities includes: Akron, Ohio; Albany, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Coachella Valley, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Detroit, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Hartford, Conn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Hampshire Region; New York, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Northwest Indiana Region; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; Rio Grande Valley Region; Salt Lake City, Utah; Savannah, Ga.; Spokane, Wash.; Southwest Florida Region; Washington, D.C., and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Contacts
Second cohort
City/Region Communications/PR Email
Akron/Summit, OH Derren Wimer dwimer@seisummit.org
Albany, NY David Doyle David.Doyle@suny.edu
Austin, TX Jessica Melton jmelton@austinchamber.com
Berkeley, CA Matthai Chakko mchakko@cityofberkeley.info
Chicago, IL Elizabeth Swanson swanson@cityofchicago.org
Cleveland, OH Elizabeth Day eday@collegenowgc.org
Coachella Valley, CA Beth Allan-Bentley beth@cvep.com
Columbia, SC Tonia Cochran tonia@yourfoundation.org
Corpus Christi, TX Claudia Jackson cjackson@delmar.edu
Dallas, TX Tarik Ward tarik.ward@commit2dallas.org
Denver, CO Curtis Esquibel cesquibel@denverscholarship.org
Detroit, MI Nicole de Beaufort ndebeaufort@excellentschoolsdetroit.org
Grand Rapids, MI Lynn Heemstra lheemstra@grcity.us
Hartford, CT Mary Crean mcrean@achievehartford.org
Jacksonville, FL Matt Galnor matt.galnor@myjaxchamber.com
Kansas City, MO Barbara Hensley bhensley@marc.org
Las Vegas, NV Vanessa Maniago vanessam@uwsn.org
Los Angeles, CA Ani Okkasian aokkasian@lachamber.com
Milwaukee, WI Danya Strait dstrait@gmconline.org
Nashville, TN Michele Lacewell mlacewell@nashvillechamber.com
National Capital Region, DC & Surrounding area Jenny Towns jtowns@cfncr.org
New Hampshire Region Kristen Oliveri ks@nhcf.org
New York City, NY Lisa Castillo Richmond lisa.castillorichmond@cuny.edu
Newark, NJ Dr. Roland V. Anglin r.anglin@rutgers.edu
Northwest Indiana Region Barbara Grimsgard Bgrimsgard@innovativeworkforce.com
Orlando, FL Ashley Blasewitz Ashley.Blasewitz@hfuw.org
Phoenix, AZ Mary Lou Valenzuela mvalenzuela@vsuw.org
Portland, OR Jeanie-Marie Price Jeanie-marie@allhandsraised.org
Richmond, VA Jonathan Orr jjorr@vcu.edu
Rio Grande Valley, TX George Tang gtang@cftexas.org
Salt Lake City, UT Karen Hale karen.hale@slcgov.com
Savannah, GA Brenda Forbis brenda.forbis@armstrong.edu
Spokane, WA Janice Marich janicem@unitedwayspokane.org
Southwest Florida Region Carolyn Rogers crogers@floridacommunity.com
Winston-Salem, NC Mary Cranfill mary.cranfill@uwforsyth.org

“Education is the key force behind prosperity,” said David Rattray, senior vice president of Education & Workforce Development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and President of UNITE-LA. “We in Los Angeles are very excited to be a part of this national effort, not only to leverage the resources and expertise the Partnership provides, but to share what we know with other communities working on the same challenges.”

Lumina plans to invest approximately $5.6 million into the second cohort and over $13 million directly to communities over the course of the program. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $160,000 over a 2.5-year period, which will be tied to achievement of goals.


About 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.

Media contact:
Lucia Anderson Weathers
Lumina Foundation
317.951.5316
landerson@luminafoundation.org

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES CONTACT:
Lucia Anderson Weathers
317.951.5316
Email
FEATURED VIDEO
Stronger Nation 2017 demonstration
Stronger Nation 2017 demonstration
June 19, 2017

A Stronger Nation 2017 report uses Census data to track progress in degree attainment at several levels – nationally, in metropolitan areas, in all 50 states, and down to the county level. It also contains national data and state-specific estimates that show attainment of high-quality postsecondary certificates.