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LEADING QUESTIONS: Education guru's back-to-school advice

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where  IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education, knows firsthand the sacrifices and hard work necessary for some working-class families to send their children to college. His mother went back to work to help send Merisotis and his three siblings to school. Attending Bates College in Maine, Merisotis cobbled together a mix of grants, scholarships, student loans and part-time jobs (including delivering newspapers at 4 a.m.) to finance his education.

"It wasn't easy," said Merisotis, 46. "And the challenge for paying for college has gotten worse instead of better."

The goal of Lumina Foundation is to increase the percentage of Americans receiving high-quality degrees and credentials from 40 percent to 60 percent in the next 15 years. Rather than give money directly to students, the foundation uses proceeds from its $1.1 billion endowment to help fund education programs that further its goal, to encourage effective public policy, and to build public support for change. In the video below, Merisotis describes how an early work experience ignited his passion for helping more students enroll and graduate from college, and provides advice for keeping students engaged once they arrive on campus.



Like those of many private foundations, Lumina's endowment took a major hit during the recession, dropping from a recent high of $1.4 billion to as low as $900 million. Despite the decrease and subsequent cost-cutting measures, Lumina avoided laying off any of its 40-some staff members. In the video below, Merisotis describes why maintaining human capital was the group's top priority.



 

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  • Thanks
    Thanks, Mason, for delivering my favorite portion of the IBJ webpage! Another inspiring leader we can all learn from.

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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