The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $1.6 million to help improve the atmosphere around race on college campuses.
Nineteen colleges and universities will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 through the Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a partnership launched with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in the wake of last year's racial violence on the campus of the University of Virginia. A total of $625,000 in grants will support efforts to give students a voice in shaping changes to their college experience, with the goal of helping to eliminate unfair and unequal educational outcomes, especially among African-American, Latinx, and Native American students.
Grant recipients include Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, which will use its grant to engage faculty, students, artists, and other community partners in the creation of public art, signage, monuments, and other forms of expression that celebrate previously suppressed local histories; Haverford College, outside of Philadelphia, which will work to integrate racial justice into instruction by creating a teaching and learning institute; Iḷisaġvik College, in Barrow, Alaska, which, in partnership with the First Alaskans Initiative, will launch an extended discussion of Native Alaskan culture that can be used to develop measures of cultural understanding and shape updates to the school's curriculum; and Skagit Valley College, in Mount Vernon, Washington, which will promote Latinx student success through an Educational Justice Conference, a Racial Justice and Equity Summer Institute for high school students, and the implementation of racially just teaching practices.
In addition, Lumina awarded $1 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in support of the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California, which brings together professors studying racial inequities, immigration, and related issues. The grant will support the establishment of equity institutes on ten college campuses, as well as the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates, a quantitative annual survey of hundreds of colleges and universities that gauges students' feelings of inclusion and the overall racial climate on campus.
"As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation's racial climate, especially on college campuses," said Lumina president and CEO Jamie Merisotis. "These campuses have shown a willingness and capacity to address racial disparities at a systemic level. They recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity — it's about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity."
(Photo credit: Iḷisaġvik College)