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Lumina Foundation announces first grants from $15M Racial Justice and Equity Fund

Indianapolis Star logo Indianapolis Star 1/13/2021 Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star
text: This piece by Kaila Austin is called "James Baldwin Speaks/Audrey Lorde Speaks," and is part of a collection of 28 pieces in a project called Murals for Racial Justice, on display at the Indianapolis Central Library, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The display of vinyl mural reproductions will be on display through Jan. 20, 2021, and library-goers can check out replicas of these indefinitely. © Robert Scheer/IndyStar This piece by Kaila Austin is called "James Baldwin Speaks/Audrey Lorde Speaks," and is part of a collection of 28 pieces in a project called Murals for Racial Justice, on display at the Indianapolis Central Library, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The display of vinyl mural reproductions will be on display through Jan. 20, 2021, and library-goers can check out replicas of these indefinitely.
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Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation on Wednesday announced the recipients of the first round of grants awarded from its $15 million Racial Justice and Equity Fund, which seeks to combat systemic racism in Indiana and beyond.

The fund was created in 2017 following the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville and initially awarded $2.5 million to advance social justice initiatives, primarily focused on race relations on college campuses.

The renewed investment was announced last summer as communities across the country — including Indianapolis — were experiencing racial reckonings after a spate of high-profile deaths of Black men and women at the hands of police.

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In the first round of grants, 11 organizations received nearly $3.2 million in funding, according to a news release, including the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Christian Theological Seminary.

CICF was awarded $500,000 in support of its Racial Equity Fund, which focuses on improving community-police relationships, reduce the number of Black youth in the criminal justice system and create employment and economic opportunities for people of color.

The Theological Seminary's Faith & Action Project received $250,000 to support its work in breaking the cycle of poverty in Marion County. 

Other organizations receiving grant funding include:

  • Prairie View A&M University's Center for Race and Justice ($500,000), which educates students and the public on combating racism and bias and trains inclusive leaders.
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law's Educational Opportunities Project ($325,000), which seeks to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, promote school integration and challenge discriminatory discipline practices.
  • Vote HBCU Initiative, a collaboration of The Collective Education Fund and Xceleader ($200,000), to organize a voter registration and engagement project at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Supporting Common Cause Education Fund's Student Action Alliance student voter education and civic education among students at HBCUs ($200,000).
  • The Steve Fund, which raises awareness for mental health services for college students of color ($200,000).
  • National Congress of American Indians' Tribal Scholar/Leader Forum ($200,000), allowing Native American scholars to do research across K-12 and higher education systems.
  • Expanding the Pay Our Interns "Color of Congress" report and advocacy for paid congressional internships for students of color ($200,000). 
  • The Center for Global Impact's Advancing the Blue and Black Partnership project, which seeks to improve community-police relationships ($100,000).
  • Report for America, which is working with eight newsrooms in different states to hire reporters who will more effectively address systemic racism ($500,000). (IndyStar is partnering with Report for America and will add a reporter to our newsroom in June focusing on covering race and equity.)

The Lumina Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to creating post-secondary learning opportunities for all. To learn more about Lumina's Racial Justice and Equity Fund, visit luminafoundation.org.

You can reach IndyStar reporter Holly Hays at 317-444-6156 or holly.hays@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @hollyvhays.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Lumina Foundation announces first grants from $15M Racial Justice and Equity Fund

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