In many ways Lumina Foundation has been “dreaming forward” since its inception. We’ve always envisioned a country where all Americans are able to obtain a high-quality college education – one that equips individuals for life and work and thus helps build a nation with a vibrant economy and democracy. Our answer to the question: “What are the biggest issues facing humanity?” is this: Providing the education that empowers people to succeed and to care for our world. While there are no guarantees in life, we’re convinced that an educated citizenry is about as close as we get.
Since 2008 that dream has taken on a very tangible, real-world form at Lumina, embodied in what we call “Goal 2025.” Goal 2025 calls for the United States to ensure that at least 60 percent of Americans have a high-quality, college-level credential. It is an audacious goal, one that requires this nation to provide postsecondary education to over 20 million more people than we are currently on track to serve. This brief blog does not allow me to provide all of the reasons this goal is an urgent necessity for our country. Let me just note that by 2018 almost two-thirds of the jobs available will require a postsecondary credential and leave it at that.
We know that a better-educated America will be a country in which health, wealth and quality of life will be more equitably distributed across the population. It will be a country better positioned to be an international partner and more capable of the civil dialogue that characterizes a strong democracy.
At Lumina, all of our work and all of our resources are devoted to this one goal. We know we cannot achieve this goal alone – that our work must be part of a much larger, nationwide effort. So we focus on mobilizing people, cities, states, education systems and others to do their part to increase college attainment.
We are impatient, but we are not discouraged – and we will not give up. We are exploring new avenues and innovations required to reach the goal and are finding new allies every day. We know the challenge is huge, and we know the consequences of failure are dire. More important, we know what success will bring: a more prosperous, more secure and more equitable nation.