Objectives/funding priorities: Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. With its partners, Lumina strives to meet workforce demands and close gaps in attainment for groups not historically well-served by higher education. Lumina’s overarching goal is to increase the higher education attainment rate of the United States to 60 percent by 2025. This will represent an increase of 23 million graduates above current levels of production. While their mission focuses on both student access and success in higher education, their emphasis is on attainment, defined as completing post-secondary certificates, associate and baccalaureate degrees and credentials. Their goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and success in a global economy. With an endowment of nearly $1.2 billion, Lumina is the largest philanthropy in the United States focused solely on increasing the proportion of Americans with learning beyond high school.
Eligibility: Governmental, nonprofit, and private-sector organizations. (This is not really helpful for higher institutions…)
- Lumina’s 2017-20 strategic plan identifies three priority populations whose education levels must increase:
- 1) traditional students between 16 and 24 who are not now likely to obtain college degrees
- 2) returning adults who attended college and have not yet earned a degree or certificate
- 3) the nearly 64 million people with no education beyond high school.
- Lumina’s efforts are focused on five priorities:
- Scaling affordance pathways: A system for learning beyond high school that assures equitable access to affordable pathways that lead to quality credentials
- Transparent credentials: A new, national system of transparent, quality credentials beyond high school
- Competency-based learning: A national expansion of competency-based learning
- First credentials for adults: Pathways to workforce certificates, industry certifications and other initial credentials for adults
- Quality assurance: An integrated quality assurance system for learning beyond high school.
Grant Application: https://www.luminafoundation.org/grants
- Submit a letter of inquiry. This should describe the proposed work in three to five pages, using the questions below as guidance:
- What are the intended outcomes, and how will the work achieve them? How does the work accelerate progress on Lumina’s overarching goal (by 2025, 60 percent of the population in the United States will hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential)?
- Why is this work important to pursue at this time?
- What special qualifications does the organization bring to this effort?
- What other organizations are involved, if any? How will they contribute to the work?
- How does the proposed work relate to the applicant organization’s mission?
- What is the geographic scope of the proposed work?
- What is the total cost of the effort? What amount do you seek from Lumina Foundation and for what period of time? What resources will other funders or organizations provide?
Examples of funded grants:
- Mobile Area Education Foundation ($275,000): To support Mobile, Alabama as a 2018 designated Talent Hub.
- California State University Foundation ($1,500,000): To support the California State University Graduation Initiative, designed to create fundamental change within the system to significantly improve student outcomes and high-quality credential attainment.
Grant database: https://www.luminafoundation.org/grants-database