Lumina Foundation works to ensure quality education for more Americans, ensuring a prosperous society

The drive toward sustainable development – really, the effort to address any complex issue – ultimately boils down to people power. Effective, constructive action is always fueled by thoughtful, informed, well-prepared individuals.

In short, talent is ultimately what drives change. At Lumina Foundation, our mission is to increase America’s talent level. And we do this in the surest way we know: by increasing education attainment among all Americans – especially for non-white populations and others who are not well-served by existing systems of education and training.

 A specific goal in sight

Lumina pursues its mission in a targeted way, working toward a quantifiable, time-limited goal. Specifically, by 2025, we want 60 percent of the nation’s working-age population (ages 25-64) to have a college degree, certificate, or other quality credential beyond high school.

 Today, that figure is just 48 percent nationally.

 We define a high-quality credential as one that leads to employment and to further educational opportunity. To increase the number of people with the necessary knowledge and skills for today’s jobs, fundamental change is required. In short, we need a new system of higher learning – one designed to serve today’s students and equip them for success in the 21st century.

 In Lumina’s view, such a system must offer all of the following: 

  Clear, flexible, and affordable pathways for students to follow as they seek education and training. 

  Credits and credentials that are defined, not by the amount of time spent in class or on task, but by the actual learning and competencies that student demonstrate. 

Assurance of quality learning that aligns with current workforce and industry needs and will help people adapt to the needs of the workplace of the future. 

  Incentives for students and institutions that help boost educational attainment and increase fair-and-just outcomes.

 Lumina is committed to reducing inequality across racial and ethnic groups. We recognize that historic, persistent societal factors have helped create an education system that is unequal and affords less opportunity to many student populations, including American Indian, African-American, Latino, low-income, and first-generation students. Our work aims to reorient the system so that it broadens opportunity, shares resources, and empowers all students for success.

 A multifaceted approach

 We know it won’t be easy to build this new system. And that’s why Lumina takes a multifaceted approach to its work. As an organization, we use every tool available to effect the big changes we know are needed. Through publications and speaking engagements, our executives and staff provide thought leadership on critical issues related to education, talent development, social equity, and other topics. 

 We make grants – in the range of $50 million annually – to support other nonprofit organizations and education providers that are working to increase the share of the population with quality education. 

 We do advocacy work – providing research and data to government officials and policymakers who shape and implement the policies that affect talent development.

 We use our status as an independent foundation to serve as an honest broker, convening leaders and experts at meetings and events to form active partnerships that can bring about change. 

 Finally, through our social investment entity, Lumina Impact Ventures, we invest directly in companies that are developing innovative ways to broaden educational opportunity. It is our firm belief that, through our work and that of our partner organizations, the nation’s talent level will rise, and we as a nation will be better equipped to build a strong, sustainable future.

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