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Lumina’s work to increase education attainment is guided by an equity-first approach, one that puts racial justice and equity at the center of everything we do.  For us, equity will be achieved when outcomes—such as the likelihood of having a high-quality postsecondary credential—can’t be predicted by a person’s race or ethnicity. Racial justice will be realized when the policies, practices, systems, and root causes that lead to inequitable outcomes are dismantled and eradicated. All of our new work will be aligned with these definitions, and we will:

  • Design our work to increase educational attainment among the groups who face the greatest barriers to securing education and building their skills.
  • Work to remove barriers that cause differential outcomes by race and ethnicity.
  • Focus on efforts designed to benefit people of color.
  • Work with partner organizations on how they demonstrate commitment and capacity to lead on racial justice and equity.
  • Support our partner organizations’ efforts to form racially and ethnically diverse boards, leadership teams, and staffs that reflect the communities they serve.

State Policy

Lumina’s state policy portfolio, overseen by the foundation’s Public Policy and States team, seeks to advance state-level policies that increase postsecondary attainment and improve outcomes for Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and adult learners.

Lumina is releasing an updated state policy agenda to guide its state policy work over the next five years. The agenda, focused on addressing historical systemic racism in education beyond high school, seeks to build a fairer, more racially just system.

Funding Opportunity

As Lumina Foundation launches its new agenda for state policy, we are seeking to identify and dismantle laws, regulations, and policies that have derailed postsecondary educational attainment for Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and adult learners.

Through this request for qualifications, we seek to learn more about organizations working to advance education policy at the state level. We will use this RFQ to identify organizations that will be invited to submit proposals to partner with Lumina in its effort to advance the new agenda.


State-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations working to advance education policy at a state level are eligible to respond to this request for qualifications.

National organizations, regional higher education compacts, SHEEO agencies, postsecondary systems/institutions, and organizations incorporated as 501(c)(4)s are not being considered.

All legal proceedings and matters pertaining to this grant will be governed by the laws of the state of Indiana.

Application Process

Eligible organizations are invited to respond to this RFQ by completing the attached request for qualifications form.  Responses must be submitted to by midnight EDT on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

Download State Policy RFQ Form

After reviewing responses, we expect to invite up to seven organizations to participate in equity discussions with Lumina staff, and then submit comprehensive proposals by mid-November. Approved grants will begin in January 2022 and span approximately 12 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download State Policy RFQ FAQs

Funding and Use of Funds

Grant awards will be in the range of $200,000 for activities that address racial disparities in postsecondary attainment and help advance Lumina’s state policy agenda. Final grant amounts will be based on the organizations’ budget requests and quality of proposals.

Lumina funds may be used on activities that increase the visibility of Lumina’s state policy priorities and the exploration/implementation of those policies. Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Research and data collection/analysis
  • Communications
  • Convenings
  • Nonpartisan efforts to inform and educate policymakers
  • Advocacy
  • Coalition building
  • Payments to defray staff and/or consultant expenses
  • Memberships, publications
  • Travel

Lumina funds cannot be spent on scholarships, creating scholarship funds, or other forms of direct financial support to students (or other individuals). Funds may not be used for lobbying at the local, state, or federal level, or to conduct any activities designed to comment on or influence legislation, the outcome of any election, or to register voters.


Lumina Foundation will select eligible applicants based on their ability to address the following criteria:

  • Mission alignment: organizations working to improve educational outcomes for Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and/or adult learners.
  • Commitment to racial equity: organizations which demonstrate a commitment to racial equity and whose leadership and staff are representative of the communities they seek to serve.
  • Demonstrated outcomes: organizations with a track record of successfully advancing state-level policy.
  • Organizational capacity: organizations that are well-positioned to advance state policy and/or have partnerships in place to advance state policies aligned with Lumina’s state policy agenda.

Other Benefits

Applicants and grantees may be invited to join upcoming convenings and other conversations hosted by Lumina Foundation and our partners.

Organizations that are not selected for this funding opportunity may be eligible to apply to Lumina Strategy Labs for technical assistance funding.


Milestone Dates
RFQ released Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021
RFQ deadline Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021
Evaluation window Monday, Sept. 13 — Friday, Sept. 24, 2021
Equity discussions with select organizations Tuesday, Sept. 28 — Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021
Final proposals due Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021
Grant start date January 2022

Next Steps

RFQ responses should be sent to by midnight EDT on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. We will notify applicants by mid-October about the status of their requests. Prospective applicants may email this address with questions in advance of submitting proposals.