Lumina Foundation to devote $15M to dismantling systemic racism

The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation plans to spend $15 million over the next three years to help fund programs and initiatives targeting systemic racism and how it affects access to post-secondary education.

Founded in 1991, the Lumina Foundation focuses on expanding access to high-quality secondary education for all people. The new initiative is focused on racial justice and equity, and in particular structural barriers that impede people of color from continuing their education after high school.

The purpose of the $15 million commitment is “to help realize the American ideal of ‘a more perfect union,’ in which educational achievement and other measures of health and civic participation are no longer determined by an individual’s race or ethnicity,” said Danette Howard, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Lumina, in a media release.

The $15 million will replenish Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, which was created in 2017 to help colleges address issues related to race relations. The fund awarded $2.5 million in grants and other support.

That total included a $200,000 grant to the Faith in Action Project at the Indianapolis-based Christian Theological Seminary. The project brings together faith communities, not-for-profits and business and government leaders to address poverty in the city.

Howard told IBJ on Monday that about 25% of the $15 million would be allocated to organizations and initiatives in Indiana, and that Faith and Action likely would again be a recipient.

As part of the $15 million initiative, Lumina already has committed $500,000 to the creation of the Central Indiana Racial Equity Fund, in partnership with Eli Lilly and Co.’s corporate foundation.

The fund will be used to support organizations that seek to explore the racial history of Indiana and the rest of the nation; support efforts to address racial inequities, especially those related to the criminal justice system; and advance data-driven approaches to fighting racism on the local level.

“We know that to establish a just and fair society, we have a moral responsibility to take on the nation’s sordid past—and to push for the conversation and action we will need to resolve racial challenges,” Howard said.

Lumina is among the nation’s top 100 private foundations, with an endowment of $1.2 billion. Its general grant-making budget is about $60 million annually, but it reached $75 million in 2019.

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6 thoughts on “Lumina Foundation to devote $15M to dismantling systemic racism

  1. On a moving forward basis, one must ponder the solution and how to get results. A Black conservative on t.v. discussed what he called “Baby Mamas.” Dems push for Planned Parenthood (abortion) in low income areas, and I find this repugnant. Let’s call it pro-death as opposed to pro-life.

    Why not focus on and at least include the nation’s no-so-sordid history?

    Not all whites or Blacks should go to college. This is a simple fact. Vocational training needs to be an attractive option, as all IQs, or abilities, are not the same. This college for everyone is a problem in the high schools. One charter’s motto was “College or Die.” Really?

    “Systemic racism” is trending, but I have encountered this only in a neighborhood in a certain part of town where I taught for a while. After 18 years in diverse schools, I never saw racism among the students or the staff. L & L (Lumina and Lilly) need to focus on the scourge of illegitimacy and how to restore fatherhood. That’s my assignment.

  2. Are they kidding, all, any low income kid has to do, is get average or better grades, have decent attendance , graduate with no felonies. You have to WORK at it. no matter what race, sex, or religion you are.
    Would this group be able to find racism if they don’t know this. If you’re not willing to work at it, it’s not racism.

  3. The L & L group and their expenditures are outrageous. Until this group has worked in the inner city, it’s a charade. They mean well but are totally uniformed. Lilly – really ? Most libs are scared of inner city people, whom they call “folks.” For example, some kids from a large, diverse high school were having their prom downtown. My friend, being lib, actually said, ” ooh, I can’t believe _____________private parochial school, will be downtown the same night as _____________large, diverse high school, where I, as a Republican, taught. Said lib, “This is awful.’ Typical.

  4. You are both very on point! All this money being thrown at (“pledged”? ha) for social justice & reform is a joke. Lots of money will be randomly spent for little to no effect, yet makes the company look socially conscious. WHY HAVEN’T TAX DOLLARS AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS WORKED FOR THE LAST 60 YEARS?? How about looking into the accountability & implementation of why this doesn’t/hasn’t worked? How about the thought process that elected officials are not doing ANYTHING they were entrusted to do by their constituents? All these commissions, advisory committees….all talk no action. Create an oversight committee, throw money at the situation & stick their heads back in the sand. THAT is a large component at the root of these issues. Private sector filling in the gaps of government…too many chefs

  5. First and foremost there is NO systematic racism and if there is “We the People” need someone to identify it specifically. Like all problems until you know what you are trying to fix you are just throwing resources at it with no change. Until the fundamentals in the Black Community are addressed
    L & L is just throwing dollars out to community organizers and they can go away beating their chest and say look what we have done. Hundreds of billions have been spent on this exact issue and the problems continue. My questions is do the Lumina and Lilly’s of the world really want to fix the problem? And if so how was the $15,000,000.00 determined to be the fix? If there is systematic racism then why does Russell Wilson have a 70 million dollar contract and I am barely scraping by on the interest he earns. Oh he has more talent, athleticism and can read a defense in 10 seconds, and that is what the market bears for his talent, hmmmm who would of thought that was the case.

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