Racial Equity

To achieve equity, we must focus our efforts. The promise of American opportunity has always been in sharp contrast with our nation’s legacy of racial discrimination and oppression. At Lumina, we work with others to pursue racial equity, diversity, and inclusion to address systemic racism that fosters injustice.

Inadequate access to learning opportunities after high school with academic, financial, and social supports has denied Black, Hispanic, and Native American people opportunities to advance economically and fully participate in American society. Racial disparities in the United States are widening, and without concerted efforts, such inequity will continue to grow.

Thoughtfully designed policies and deliberate actions created these unjust conditions. And it will take equally focused efforts to achieve racial equity. Higher education has an important role to play. Even amid serious challenges, education and training after high school remain among the most secure pathways to economic stability. But the country needs a learning system that works well for everyone.

Unfortunately, today’s education systems fail to meet the needs of today’s students. These students are more racially and ethnically diverse. They are more likely to work full time. And they are more likely to experience poverty, a lack of stable housing, and food insecurity. These circumstances reflect widening gaps in income, wealth, and access to opportunity.

We work with partners to pursue racial and economic fairness by ensuring that colleges, universities, and other education providers do all they can to support and educate students of color, students who are the first in their families to go to college, students from low-income families, and working-age adults.

Lumina’s Commitment

To pursue its mission with integrity, Lumina must exhibit the change it desires. We must:

  • Prioritize efforts that address the origins of inequality and inequity.

  • Build competence among board members, senior leadership, and staff members to authentically and collaboratively engage communities of color.

  • Embed a commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in our recruitment and hiring practices, our contracting and grantmaking practices, and our investment practices.

  • Promote the capacity of our grantees and contractors to pursue racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Foster and support efforts to promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion within philanthropy.

Our Commitment in Practice

In late 2017, Lumina awarded a series of grants to improve racial climate on campuses and elevate dialogue about racial injustice in everyday life. This round of special grants came in response to racially motivated violence that August at the University of Virginia.

The Unite the Right rally brought together people who self-identified as members of the alt-right, white nationalists, and right-wing militias. They carried weapons and chanted racist and antisemitic slogans as they marched through the Charlottesville, Virginia, campus displaying Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols, Confederate battle flags, and other images of white nationalism in protest of the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park. Protesters clashed with counter-protesters, resulting in one woman’s death and injuries to more than two dozen people.

Lumina Equity Grants

In 2018, Lumina’s board of directors approved a special budget allocation for grants to help improve the racial climate on campuses and elevate efforts to teach about race and racism in our nation’s history and contemporary life.

How Lumina began direct action on racial equity: Addressing hate – Lumina’s response »

Racial Equity

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Equity Matters

Lumina focuses on eliminating disparities in educational outcomes by race and ethnicity.

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Want to learn more?

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Big Data Can Open Pathways »
Inequality, Injustice Explained
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Watch "Race, Equality, Equity" »
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Lumina: 'Stop talking' and 'start doing'
Read our CEO's Statement »