Frequently Asked Questions about Grant Support from Lumina Foundation
What programs or activities does the Foundation NOT fund?
- Partisan political or lobbying efforts (in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code)
- Direct service programs, especially those of small scale, including:
- Workforce training
- Summer bridge programs for high school and college students
- English as a second language courses
- GED or other test preparation
- Literacy training
- Social/human services
- Discipline-specific programs or the creation of new degree programs
- Curriculum development
- Graduate-level or professional programs
- Research that is not directly applicable to our strategic outcomes
- Institution-specific projects not explicitly designed to stimulate change at a systemic level
- Individual scholarships or institutional scholarship programs
- Capital campaigns and endowments
- Requests exclusively for equipment, such as technology hardware and software
- Corporate sponsorships and fundraising events outside Indianapolis, Indiana
- Religious activities
- K-12 education reform
- Teacher education and training
- Tutoring or mentoring
- Meetings and conferences, unless they relate to a Foundation program
May I briefly discuss my idea with a Lumina strategy officer prior to preparing a letter of inquiry so I can better understand if my idea fits the foundation’s strategic plan?
We strongly recommend that all unsolicited inquiries be submitted as formal letters of inquiry (LOI) so that our staff may thoughtfully review each request in the context of our current strategic plan. Directly contacting a strategy officer prior to preparing an LOI does not expedite or provide a competitive advantage during the review process. Although we appreciate your commitment to evaluating if and how your idea fits the foundation’s strategic approach, reviewing an LOI helps us better understand a potential fit.
I’m familiar with some of Lumina Foundation’s early portfolio. Why are you no longer funding certain areas or types of work?
As the foundation refines its strategic approach, we are not as focused on developing or replicating specific programs as we have been in the past. Instead, we are focused on creating an environment in which effective practices are explicitly connected to policies that support systemic change.
What is considered broad-based? I am working on a project that will affect thousands of students in my city, state or university system.
Driving progress toward the goal will require work at all levels. However, given limited foundation resources, we very seldom fund unsolicited proposals that are not specifically designed to yield systemic, large-scale or nationwide impact. Programs bringing thousands of students to a quality credential in a city, for example, may be considered if there are explicit strategies for replication across multiple cities targeting systemic change.