Lumina Foundation designates Boston as Talent Hub

Nearly $6 million in grants will support local efforts to increase attainment beyond high school

Boston, MA –  Lumina Foundation has announced Boston as one of 17 communities across the country designated as a Talent Hub. Boston earned this new designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households.

Each Talent Hub focuses intensively on one of three populations that is critical to raising the nation’s overall post-high school attainment level to 60 percent of working-age adults by 2025: 18-to-22-year-old students; older adults with college experience who stopped out before finishing their studies; or adults with no formal education beyond high school. Talent Hub cities are committed to eliminating deep disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, who fare poorly in contrast with white and Asian students.

The 17 communities designated as Talent Hubs are:  Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Boston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Philadelphia; Racine, Wis.; Richmond, Va.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

“These communities are the creative and entrepreneurial engines that power our nation,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “For our country to meet growing demand for an educated workforce, we must bolster community-based efforts that are tightly focused on increasing the numbers of people in cities across the country with education and training beyond high school.”

Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months. Grant funding will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and postsecondary leaders to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

In Boston, the funding will be awarded to the Boston Foundation to build on the nine-year collective impact partnership Success Boston by creating guided academic pathways for students at Bunker Hill Community College and UMass Boston. The first pathway will be a liberal arts pathway - the most common major for graduates of the Boston Public Schools who attend these colleges. The initial pathway will inform the creation of other “meta major” pathways and drive systems level change at each campus. This will benefit not only Success Boston students, but a much broader group of students enrolled at these two institutions.

Each pathway will be paired with Success Boston coaching support, with an eye to increase the number of first time students who successfully complete their credential or degree, re-engage college stop outs, and provide deliberate career competency integration that can help increase college completion.

Kresge’s support for Talent Hubs comes from its national Education Program, which includes a focus on aligning and strengthening urban higher education ecosystems to help more low-income, under-represented and minority students gain access to and succeed in higher education.

“Success Boston has already moved the needle on college completion in the city, but there is more work to do,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “By defining pathways and supporting them with coaching, we help give students direction that leads to fewer loans, fewer non-applicable credits and ultimately, faster post-secondary completion.”

“We’re very excited about the potential of this project,” said Barry Mills, interim chancellor of UMass Boston. “This will help us building on the work we are already doing to enhance student success and accelerate degree completion."

“The support of the Lumina Foundation creates opportunities for our students especially for those that are first generation and students of color, creating a narrative directly tied to Boston’s labor and talent development needs,” said Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College.

The Talent Hub designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which cities designated as Talent Hubs can build. Talent Hubs are one outgrowth of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which was in access of $10 million of grants to 75 cities across the country. This partnership, which began in 2013, will continue to work directly with communities to expand educational opportunities beyond high school. 

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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. For more information, visit www.luminafoundation.org.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved 474 grants totaling $141.5 million, and made 14 social investment commitments totaling $50.8 million. For more information, visit www.kresge.org.

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2016, the Foundation and its donors paid $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $107 million. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit tbf.org or call 617.338.1700.