Illinois Central College received a $25,000 grant from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to hire a project coordinator and trained facilitators, who will lead staff, students and community members in discussions aimed at discovering racial disparities in college policies and practices. In collaboration with Peoria Public Schools and other partners, ICC will host a Peoria Summit on Racial Justice and Equity, a two-day, college- and community-wide conference early next year. Participants will prepare recommendations for replacing some existing policies and practices with more equitable ones.
“We are grateful to Lumina Foundation for this grant. We believe that real change will result from the removal of systemic barriers and the employment of pro-equity systems and practices. This opportunity helps us to expand current efforts to close the achievement gap for minority students and increase their participation in high-wage, high-demand career fields,” said ICC Vice President of Diversity and Community Impact Dr. Rita Ali.
From a pool of 312 nation-wide applicants, ICC was one of 19 college and universities selected to receive funding from Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The fund was created last year in response to racially motivated violence in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia.
The grants announced today were in response to what the foundation saw as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on campuses across the country.
“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “These campuses have shown a willingness 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.”
In partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Lumina evaluated grant applications submitted in response to a request for proposals. The number of responses indicates a strong desire throughout higher education to improve campus culture through community dialogues, faculty and staff development, and other creative approaches. Lumina received proposals from a wide breadth of institutions, including 2- and 4-year, public and private, large and small, and minority-serving.
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.
With campuses in East Peoria, Peoria, and Pekin, Ill., Illinois Central College is a two-year community college that provides a high quality, affordable education to prepare students to enter the workforce, to learn new skills or increase their career skillset knowledge, or to transfer to a four-year college or university.