SLCC receives grant from Lumina Foundation Fund for Racial Justice and Equity

Salt Lake Community College received a $25,000 grant from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to increase public awareness and raise critical consciousness around racial and social justice. 

From a pool of 312 applicants nationwide, Salt Lake Community College was one of 19 college and universities selected to receive funding from the Lumina Foundation.

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. The fund that provides the grants was created last year in the wake of the racially motivated violence on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville.

“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, minority-serving and large and small.

With the Lumina Foundation grant, SLCC will build upon efforts of being equity minded in pedagogical practices, policies and programming in the pursuit of a campus climate that is conducive to the recruitment, retention and success of the institution’s African American, Indigenous and Latinx students, staff and faculty.

“Over the past year and a half to two years, Salt Lake Community College has made tremendous strides to develop and advance equity and inclusivity plans,” said Dr. Roderic Land, Special Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer of Salt Lake Community College. “However, it has not all been a crystal stair.  We have definitely met resistance along the way.  Yet, we must continue to press forward to help people see the value in all humanity.” 

Utah demographics are rapidly becoming more diverse.  There is a tremendous need to continue and, in some circles, start the conversation and take strategic action to address racial justice and equity.  As SLCC seeks to “be a model for inclusive and transformative education by strengthening the communities we serve through the success of all our students”, the college is well positioned to be the conduit to engage both campus and community on the vexing issues of racial and social justice.

Salt Lake Community College is an accredited, student-focused, comprehensive community college meeting the diverse needs of the Salt Lake community. Home to more than 61,000 students each year, the College is Utah’s leading provider of workforce development programs. SLCC is also the largest supplier of transfer students to Utah’s four-year institutions and a perennial Top 10 college nationally for total associate degrees awarded. The College is the sole provider of applied technology courses in the Salt Lake area, with multiple locations, an eCampus, and nearly 1,000 continuing education sites located throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Personal attention from an excellent faculty is paramount at the College, which maintains an average class size of 20.

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.