The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $4 million to four nonprofit organizations in two states and the District of Columbia for efforts to enhance student preparation, success, and productivity in higher education.
Grant recipients include D.C.-based HCM Strategists, which was awarded nearly $2.2 million to expand the Productivity Strategy Labs Network to twenty-eight states and sustain and enhance efforts to boost the number of students who graduate with high-quality degrees and credentials; Excelencia in Education, also in D.C., which received $1.6 million to strengthen knowledge sharing, cultural competency, place-based collaboration, technical assistance, and communications strategies among thirteen communities working to increase Latino student success; the United Negro College Fund in Fairfax, Virginia, which was awarded $100,000 in support of a strategic planning process; and the Education Conservancy in Portland, Oregon, which received $30,000 to publish research findings and policy recommendations from Consumer Union's Find the Best Colleges for You guide.
The grants were announced on the heels of the release of the foundation's signature report, A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education (136 pages, PDF), which provides higher education achievement rates by state and county. "These numbers are important not simply because of the opportunities that advanced education provides, but because our changing workforce dictates we will need dramatically higher number of workers in the next decade," said Lumina Foundation president and CEO Jamie Merisotis. "Our grants this quarter support the work being done to make greater progress toward [our] big goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with high quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025."