Our Commitment

Racial justice and equity are essential for increasing educational attainment

Our work to increase educational attainment nationally puts racial justice and equity at the center of all we do. To support this approach, our Racial Justice and Equity Fund directly supports organizations working to end systemic racism and achieve justice for Black, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander populations.

We will invest $15 million into 2023 to address racial injustice. Overall, more than 80% of the Fund will be dedicated to supporting national organizations working to eradicate systemic racism, with the remainder supporting Indiana-based organizations. In our current grant competition, we plan to award up to 10 grants of $400,000 each.

The request for proposals closed in Sept 2021.

Lumina’s equity-first approach

Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis talks about Lumina’s early efforts toward Latino student success.
Lumina’s Director of Operations and Grants Administration Susan Johnson talks about two equity-focused organizations: the Common App and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Tim Robinson, Lumina’s vice president of administration and partnerships talks about Lumina’s work in Indianapolis to bring a grocery store into a neighborhood area. Learn more about our community grants.

A history of the fund

We established the fund in 2017 in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. We committed $2.5 million to support efforts to improve the racial climate on college campuses. We awarded these grants competitively in response to a violent rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2020, after George Floyd’s murder by police, we set aside another $15 million to support efforts to dismantle structural racism that complement Lumina’s mission of creating a better-educated country.

RJE fund grantees include:

Association of American Colleges & Universities

To support the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Centers at colleges and universities to eliminate structural and systemic barriers to equal treatment and opportunities on campuses and within local communities.

Boston University Center for Antiracist Research

To support research, student engagement, and policy innovation aimed at solving pervasive racial inequity and injustice.

Capital B

To support a new local and national news organization providing investigative and service reporting for Black communities across the country.

Central Indiana Community Foundation

To support a Racial Equity Fund that aims to improve community-police interaction, reduce the disproportionate number of Black teenagers in the criminal justice system, and increase employment and wealth-building opportunities among people of color.

Vote HBCU Initiative

To support the Vote HBCU Initiative, which organizes a national engagement project at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Common App

To support efforts to encourage Minority-Serving Institutions to join the Common App platform, helping more students of color apply to MSIs.

Common Cause Education Fund

To support the Education Fund, which includes the Student Action Alliance, student voter education, and civic education among students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Education for Liberation at IUPUI

 To support an effort at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis to train educators and school leaders to lead racial equity change efforts within their schools.

Flanner House of Indianapolis

 To support development of a mental health clinic with licensed counselors to provide therapy for people in an area of Indianapolis with many families with incomes below the poverty line.

The Initiative: Advancing the Blue & Black Partnership

To advance the Blue & Black Partnership, which improves community-police relations through race-conscious community policing and partnerships.

Jeremiah Program

To support efforts to provide single mothers and their children with child care, education, housing, and other services, resulting in pathways out of poverty.

Lawyers' Committee

To defend race-conscious admissions policies, dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, promote school integration, and challenge discriminatory discipline practices.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

To provide operating support to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund focused on its efforts to ensure racial equity and equal treatment under the law in education.

Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council

To support Mid-States’ Accelerate 100+ training program, focusing on the entrepreneurship of Black business owners.

National Congress of American Indians

To advance understanding of Native American culture by promoting culturally sound research practices and curricular and policy changes.

Black Public Defender Association

To support the Black Public Defender Association’s efforts to improve legal defense within low-income communities by developing the capacity of Black public defenders.

Mary Jane’s Legacy Project

Mary Jane’s Legacy Project at Ohio State University captures Black women’s college experiences to explore how their experiences at those institutions shared their lives.

Pay Our Interns

To advocate for paid internships for students of color across all employment sectors.

To educate the Prairie View A&M University community and public about responding to racism and bias, provide support for governments and other organizations, and train leaders who want to lead inclusively.

Report For America

 To elevate local reporting on racial justice issues by supporting newsrooms in Indiana and other states that hire reporters who can effectively address structural racism through their news coverage.

The Steve Fund

To improve mental health services for college students of color.