Non-profit

Lumina Foundation for Education

Location:

INDIANAPOLIS, IN

Tax ID:

35-1813228

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $124,890,321
Expenses: $87,713,868
Assets: $1,274,092,392

Website:

luminafoundation.org

Type:

Left-Leaning Grantmaking Organization

President and CEO:

Jamie Merisotis

The Lumina Foundation for Education (more commonly known as the Lumina Foundation) is a grantmaking organization that funds a variety of postsecondary educational institutions and programs. The organization was founded in 2000 when USA Group, a student loan company, sold most of its assets to the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae). The foundation is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and controls assets totaling over $1.2 billion. [1]

While the initial grantmaking of the organization was focused on ostensibly noncontroversial educational programs, such as community college and college affordability programs, the Lumina Foundation has recently enacted a series of left-leaning funding priorities to disperse funds to support left-of-center policy on race and poverty. [2] [3] [4]

Background

The Lumina Foundation was created in 2000 as a conversion foundation using proceeds from the sale of assets of the USA Group, a nonprofit student loan administrator, to the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae). The Lumina Foundation was designed to redirect revenue from the sale towards funding postsecondary education programs. The organization was originally named the USA Group Foundation. Among the first projects funded by the foundation was Achieving the Dream, a partnership with other grantmaking organizations to provide over $100,000 in funding to community colleges. [5] [6]

The Lumina Foundation’s stated goal is for 60% of Americans to have an education beyond high school through either a degree or certification program by 2025. [7]

Activity

Funding Priorities Shift

In its 2020 strategic plan, the Lumina Foundation announced plans to refocus much of its grantmaking on “racial equity” projects using left-progressive critical race theory-inspired language in the announcement of its Racial Justice and Equity Fund. The Fund devoted $15 million in funding for projects centered around “dismantling systems of oppression.” [8]  The foundation also announced funding for state policy partnerships to fund lobbying efforts for left-of-center racial equity legislation across state legislatures. [9]

One of the first grant recipients of the Lumina Foundation’s racial equity grant program the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at the Tufts University Tisch College of Civic Life, which received $105,000 from the Lumina Foundation to “explore higher education’s unique role in educating for the health and future of an inclusive democracy.”

Organizations Funded

The Lumina Foundation has funded left-of-center organizations in recent years. These include the  Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Community Partners, the SEIU 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund, the Century Foundation, Demos, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Brookings Institution, Business Roundtable, Center for Law and Social Policy, and the New Venture Fund (NVF). [10]

Policy Stances

The Lumina Foundation promotes various left-of-center state and federal education policies, mostly involving increased spending for community colleges and more focused resources for ethnic minority high school graduates. [11] [12] The foundation’s lobbying efforts include funding policymaker organizations, including the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, and the National Conference of State Legislators.

References

  1.  “Institute for Democracy & Higher Education Receives Lumina Foundation Grant to Support Higher Education’s Role in Preparing Students for an Inclusive Democracy.” Tufts University. July 29, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.newswise.com/articles/institute-for-democracy-higher-education-receives-lumina-foundation-grant-to-support-higher-education-s-role-in-preparing-students-for-an-inclusive-democracy ^
  2. “Institute for Democracy & Higher Education Receives Lumina Foundation Grant to Support Higher Education’s Role in Preparing Students for an Inclusive Democracy.” Tufts University. July 29, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.newswise.com/articles/institute-for-democracy-higher-education-receives-lumina-foundation-grant-to-support-higher-education-s-role-in-preparing-students-for-an-inclusive-democracy ^
  3. Lumina Will Award Grants to Support Racial Justice and Equity Efforts, Enrollment in Community Colleges, and Nonpartisan Policy Education.” PRNewswire. August 12, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lumina-will-award-grants-to-support-racial-justice-and-equity-efforts-enrollment-in-community-colleges-and-nonpartisan-policy-education-301354234.html ^
  4. “From the Ground Up: An Early History of the Lumina Foundation.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed via wayback machine August 29, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20111002001732/https://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/From_the_Ground_Up.pdf ^
  5. “From the Ground Up: An Early History of the Lumina Foundation.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed via wayback machine August 29, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20111002001732/https://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/From_the_Ground_Up.pdf ^
  6. “National Initiative to Help More Community College Students Succeed Will Expand To 24 New Colleges in Eight States.” Achieving the Dream. April 16, 2007. Accessed via wayback machine August 29, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20111008034313/http://www.achievingthedream.org/News_Release/Apr162007.pdf ^
  7. “Strategic Plan.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.luminafoundation.org/about/strategic-plan/ ^
  8. “Lumina Will Award Grants to Support Racial Justice and Equity Efforts, Enrollment in Community Colleges, and Nonpartisan Policy Education.” PRNewswire. August 12, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lumina-will-award-grants-to-support-racial-justice-and-equity-efforts-enrollment-in-community-colleges-and-nonpartisan-policy-education-301354234.html ^
  9. [1] “Lumina Will Award Grants to Support Racial Justice and Equity Efforts, Enrollment in Community Colleges, and Nonpartisan Policy Education.” PRNewswire. August 12, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lumina-will-award-grants-to-support-racial-justice-and-equity-efforts-enrollment-in-community-colleges-and-nonpartisan-policy-education-301354234.html ^
  10. “IRS Form 990.” Lumina Foundation. 2018. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/351813228/02_2020_prefixes_33-35%2F351813228_201812_990PF_2020020417105828?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_RJ55K9oVbjk2QUlsH.JinXXfZnn0n0ZNY9N2YvrFx10-1630078448-0-gqNtZGzNApCjcnBszQrl ^
  11. “Lumina State Policy Agenda 2017-2020.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed August 29, 2021. https://www.luminafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/lumina-state-policy-agenda-2017-20-final.pdf ^
  12. “Federal Policy.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed August 29, 2021.  https://www.luminafoundation.org/aof/the-role-of-federal-policy/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1991

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form PF $124,890,321 $87,713,868 $1,274,092,392 $23,102,329 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form PF $69,309,358 $65,172,259 $1,193,318,361 $34,891,086 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $118,721,424 $81,091,260 $1,265,931,444 $31,772,200 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $87,405,058 $93,918,067 $1,258,939,683 $26,559,126 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $61,210,203 $57,291,854 $1,137,783,286 $17,978,905 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $86,076,926 $77,506,392 $1,082,176,421 $34,980,176 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Lumina Foundation for Education

    30 S MERIDIAN ST STE 700
    INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46204-3568