Lumina Fund for Racial Justice and Equity

Applications to the Lumina Fund for Racial Justice and Equity are no longer being accepted. We expect to announce awards in May.

About the Lumina Fund for Racial Justice and Equity

Lumina Foundation, in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is pleased to release this RFP for grants that are designed to support postsecondary institutions that are implementing significant work to advance equity on campus and in the broader community.

Why Equity Matters

While the face of America is changing, economic, and social inequities among racial and ethnic groups persist. Historical and current patterns of discrimination, segregation, and racism continue to foster disparities that make it increasingly difficult for many individuals to achieve the social and economic mobility that has been promised by the American dream. American Indian, African-American, and Hispanic citizens are disproportionately poor, have limited access to quality education, and are underrepresented in positions of power. Without intentional and focused efforts to address equity and racial justice in our society, the gaps will only continue to grow.

Education is the great equalizer. However, racial and ethnic stratification plague our nation’s educational system. Schools are more segregated than a decade ago, dropout rates are highest among African-American, American Indian, and Hispanic learners, and these learners are less likely to earn postsecondary credentials. Given this polarization, American higher education is also at a critical juncture with regard to equity and excellence. As global demand for postsecondary skills and knowledge rises, the pace at which Americans are obtaining postsecondary degrees continues to lag behind other countries. Moreover, this situation is exacerbated by the persistent gap in credential attainment by race in the United States, according to the most recent Census figures.

Why Lumina is Acting

Lumina is compelled to do more in the aftermath of disturbing and unacceptable racially motivated events on college campuses across the nation. The United States’ legacy of racism, segregation, and injustice are ever-present in current discussions about how to advance equity and fairness in policies and practices, and to increase meaningful opportunity for all. Colleges and universities are essential institutions to shape and guide these dialogues.

Many higher education leaders are working hard to close equity gaps in hopes of expanding access and opportunity through postsecondary attainment. The grants described here will provide support to institutions that are addressing equity directly and substantively, catalyzing existing work and deepening impact.

The one-time investment of up to $1 million will be used to support colleges and universities that are working to improve their campus climates by providing opportunities for constructive racial dialogue. Competitive proposals will include:

  • Community and campus forums
  • Faculty/staff training and development
  • Student training and development
  • Campus-wide programming
  • Other thoughtfully designed efforts

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors will award two types of grants:

  • Grants of up to $50,000: These awards will be reserved for colleges and universities that can document they already initiated comprehensive efforts to advance equity on their campuses and in their communities. These institutions must show significant progress toward putting plans in place.
  • Grants of up to $25,000: These awards will support colleges and universities with efforts focused on issues related to equity and racial justice on campuses that propose significant work to enhance efforts to improve their campus climates.

The most competitive applications will:

  • Articulate a vision of how a campus climate that supports equity will help accomplish institutional and communitywide objectives.
  • Show evidence of meaningful effort to achieve equity among students of color.
  • Indicate how the financial support will support proposed work or work in progress.

The request for proposals (RFP) document describes the grant competition in greater detail. Please review the grant application and consider how this support might advance progress toward equity goals. Applications are due Feb. 26, 2018.

Informational Webinar for Potential Applicants

Rebroadcast of the webinar from Jan. 19, 2018.  

Frequently-Asked Questions

Download the FAQ

Please contact Haley Glover (hglover@luminafoundation.org) with any additional questions.

Demographic Information

Lumina Foundation is interested in engaging partners and organizations that proactively contribute to the core principles of Lumina’s Equity Imperative and the 2025 goal of 60 percent of working-age Americans with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications, and other high-quality credentials. The ideal partner will demonstrate a commitment to racial and ethnic equity as reflected:

  • In values and/or mission;
  • In language expressed through organizational products and tools;
  • In demonstration of populations or clients served; and,
  • As evidenced through diversity of the organization’s team and leadership.

A completed proposal and budget form should be submitted electronically. Submit all documents by 12:00 p.m. EDT, Feb. 26, 2018 to:

Meenakshi Abbi
Senior Manager, Sponsored Projects
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 1400
San Francisco, CA 94104

Lumina's Equity Imperative | 2 pg. PDF
Talent, Innovation, Equity
Talent, Innovation, Equity
July 12, 2017

What would it look like if more states dedicated their resources toward creating a "talent pipeline?" Lumina Senior Vice President Danette Howard talks about prioritizing talent, innovation, and equity.