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Closing Race and Income Gaps in Higher Education Among Goals of Joyce Foundation's $17.5 Million Round of Grant Making


Closing Race and Income Gaps in Higher Education Among Goals of Joyce Foundation's $17.5 Million Round of Grant Making

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With race and income gaps in higher education wider by some measures than they were 40 years ago, the Joyce Foundation is increasing support for policies to expand opportunities for African American and Latino students to earn a college degree. Ten new higher education grants are among 83 awards totaling $17.5 million in the foundation's summer round of grant making announced today.

Race- and income-based inequities in higher education have widened, especially at public colleges and universities, as declining state aid has led to hikes in tuition and fees that put a greater financial burden on students. Young white adults are twice as likely as young Latino and African American adults to hold a bachelor's degree – a bigger percentage point gap than in 1980. If racial equity is measured by whether top public colleges and universities reflect the racial composition of graduating high school classes in their states, the nation is also further from that goal than in 1980.

The new higher education grants include a two-year, $200,000 award to the Partnership for College Completion, which will advocate for increased affordability and equity in Illinois higher education policy. Policy Matters Ohio (two years, $200,000) will support policies that increase access and graduation for students of color and low-income students. And HCM Strategies (three years, $750,000) will work to improve transfer rates from two- to four-year institutions in Minnesota as part of a national effort in this area. Three grants will go to student-led advocacy groups to help ensure the next generation's voice is represented in higher education policy conversations.

Thirty-six percent of grantees in this cycle are new to Joyce, marking further progress in adding new partners and voices as the foundation continues its transition to a strategic focus on racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

The following are among other grants announced today:

Education & Economic Mobility: $6.4 million (26 grants)
In addition to the higher education grants, the Education and Economic Mobility Program is supporting educator quality and pathways for smoother transitions from high school to college. Deans for Impact was awarded a two-year, $650,000 grant to advance national teacher preparation policy reforms and launch the Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network. The Center for American Progress received a one-year, $150,000 grant to support Joyce educator quality advocates in Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois.

Knowledge Works (two years, $600,000) will support a coalition of groups launching a national advocacy campaign to expand early college opportunities for low-income high school students and students of color. This has been shown to significantly increase college access, affordability and completion for students underrepresented in higher education.

Environment: $4.7 million (18 grants)
The Environment Program supports policies to accelerate the transition to clean energy systems and ensure clean water from lake to tap for the next generation.

Clean Fuels Ohio (one year, $100,000) will engage regulators, policy makers, and community leaders in exploring how electric vehicle technologies can meet Ohio's needs. Faith in Place (two years, $300,000) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (two years, $900,000) will work to ensure full implementation of Illinois' Future Energy Jobs Act, including provisions on job training and job creation in the renewable energy sector.

Grants for safe and affordable drinking water include a one-year, $100,000 award to Elevate Energy to work on improving policies to reduce lead in drinking water in schools, childcare centers and private homes in Illinois. Freshwater Future (one year, $75,000) will help community organizations in Michigan play a greater role in state policymaking on issues such as lead contamination in drinking water and financing new water infrastructure.

Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program: $2.8 million (12 grants)
The Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform Program works in three policy areas: reducing gun violence through research, education and advocacy; establishing police-community trust and legitimacy; and reducing incarceration of young people.

Three grants were awarded to major university research teams to study the impact of state gun laws, use of firearms in youth and intimate partner violence, and interventions that might prevent gun suicides: Duke University (three years, $374,000), Johns Hopkins University (three years, $407,000) and a team of Northeastern University and Harvard University researchers (two years, $540,000).

Northwestern University (two years, $307,000) will evaluate police-community engagement and street outreach and violence interruption efforts in Chicago. Mikva Challenge (one year, $100,000) will continue its youth council to advise the Chicago Police Department and integrate youth voice in community policing practices.

Other Grants
Joyce also awarded grants in its Democracy and Culture programs, including the following:

  • A two-year, $600,000 grant to the Common Cause Education Fund for work across the Great Lakes states to protect and expand voting rights, advocate for redistricting reform and seek an accurate count in the 2020 Census.
  • A project housed at the New Venture Fund (one year, $50,000) will support emergency litigation and research related to the late addition of an untested citizenship question to the census.
  • Among Culture Program grants are two that will support projects designed to increase career opportunities in the arts for people of color. A two-year, $200,000 grant to Americans for the Arts supports development of the first arts leadership program in the Great Lakes preparing mid-level arts administrators for executive management. And a two-year, $200,000 grant was awarded to Chicago Theatre Group (Goodman Theatre) to increase racial equity in its artistic, administrative, and technical departments.

For more information about the Joyce Foundation and its latest round of grant making, please visit


Bill Strong,, 312-782-2464

Lilly Athamanah,, 312-782-2464


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