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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. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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