Lumina Foundation Announces $160,000 for The Albany Promise to Increase Educational Attainment

June 5, 2014

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, City School District of Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngarrd, and University at Albany President Robert J. Jones today announced that The Albany Promise has been added to the Lumina Foundation’s Community-based Postsecondary Education Attainment Strategy, making the partnership eligible for $160,000 in support and opening up future funding opportunities.

The Lumina program connects participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding, and the ability to customize attainment plans that will best suit each community’s needs and the well-being of its residents.

The Albany Promise is one of 12 partnerships across the state currently supported by SUNY through the New York State Cradle To Career Alliance.

“Partnerships like The Albany Promise, where an entire community is collectively working to educate children and better prepare them for success in school, college, and career are gradually transforming our cities, our states, and the nation by strengthening the education pipeline,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “The Lumina Foundation has been a backbone supporter of cradle-to-career reform since its inception and we are deeply grateful for their continued leadership.”

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and CEO. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give civic leaders the tools they need to be successful.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “The City of Albany knows that our future growth and economic vitality depend on having a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our region’s businesses and industries. Over the past 10 years, Albany has become a hub for nanoscale science and engineering, bringing with it high-quality jobs and opportunities for our residents. These high-tech manufacturing, design, and engineering jobs require at least some post-secondary education, so we must provide our residents with pathways to postsecondary attainment in order to remain competitive and grow as a city and state. We thank the Lumina Foundation for identifying the City of Albany as a partner in this important work.”

President Jones said, “The University at Albany is proud to be among the institutional champions that have joined together to galvanize the backbone for this ambitious cross-sector partnership, and I welcome the Lumina Foundation to our partnership table. The University is committed to advancing The Albany Promise and to supporting collective community action through the public engagement of faculty, staff, and students for the betterment of Albany and the greater Capital District. I look forward to working with the Lumina Foundation, in particular, to advance the work of the College and Career Success Action Team, one of three foci of The Albany Promise at present.” 

Dr. Vanden Wyngarrd said, “We are thrilled that the Lumina Foundation has identified our cradle-to-career partnership as a partner community in this effort. Building the civic infrastructure to support every student’s opportunity to complete a post-secondary education is vital to the strength and success of our community here in Albany, and we are uniquely poised to strengthen our collective impact through this new partnership. We all look forward to creating brighter futures for our students.”

Mark Bobb-Semple, Board president of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, said, “Education is the key to a higher quality of life for our neighborhoods and families. I applaud The Albany Promise for working diligently to increase the educational outcomes of our most vulnerable populations here in the City of Albany, and the partnership announced today with the Lumina Foundation will only strengthen our efforts. We look forward to expanding our work and focusing on post-secondary educational attainment.”

Carmella Mazzotta, Executive Director of The Albany Promise, said, “The Albany Promise has an extraordinary opportunity to significantly alter the educational outcomes for the students in the City of Albany through this new partnership with the Lumina Foundation. This new area of focus will continue to build the work of the partnership by expanding our focus to post-secondary attainment. We will no doubt benefit greatly from being a part of Lumina’s knowledge base and vital network.”

Vanessa Threatte, executive director of the New York State Cradle To Career Alliance, said, “There is widespread interest in the collective impact model of supporting youth from cradle to career through the formation of collaborative, effective community partnerships, and the Alliance is proud to foster and coordinate those efforts across New York State. Thank you to the Lumina Foundation for it continued support of our efforts and congratulations to The Albany Promisepartners on this much-deserved distinction.”

About The Albany Promise
The Albany Promise is a cross-sector partnership where community, business, civic, education, and philanthropic leaders have come together to support a shared cradle-to-career vision for education. The collaborative has more than 80 partners, who are for the first time focusing on shared community-level outcomes, such as Kindergarten readiness, third grade reading, fourth grade math, and post-secondary attainment. The partnership uses collaborative action and continuous improvement processes to bring practices to scale across programs and institutions to move the dial on these important indicators. The partnership is co-convened by Zimpher, Jones, Vanden Wyngarrd, and Bobb-Semple, and led by an executive committee, which includes Kathy Sheehan, Drew Matonak, Mike Tucker, Mark Eagan, Michael Castellana, Barbara Smith, Brian Hassett, Arlene Way, Nolene Smith, Harris Oberlander, Carolyn McLaughlin, and Lynn Tubbs. Connect with The Albany Promise at @albanypromise.

About the Lumina Foundation’s Postsecondary Education Attainment Strategy
According to Lumina, the goal of the Postsecondary Education Attainment Strategyis to mobilize all sectors in a community to improve postsecondary attainment. Communities will partner with Lumina and national thought leaders through 2016 to establish attainment goals. Organizations will work with national partners develop an action plan focused on reaching the attainment goal to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents.

Progress toward the goal will be measured by credentials earned after high school, including certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees held by local residents. The cities selected have already demonstrated momentum in advancing attainment agendas, and this effort aims to expand and deepen their work.

The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina plans to invest approximately $5.6 million into the 35-community cohort announced today, and over $13 million directly to communities over the course of the program. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $160,000 over a 2.5-year period, which will be tied to achievement of goals.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, log on to:

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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