Leah Meyer Austin retired in 2008 as senior vice president for research and programs at Lumina Foundation for Education, a national philanthropic enterprise located in Indianapolis. At Lumina, Leah was responsible for grantmaking, strategic planning, and research to enable people from all walks of life to attend and complete postsecondary education and training. As the designer of the Achieving the Dream initiative, she secured the Lumina Foundation Board’s original investment in the program.
Before joining Lumina’s executive team, Leah served with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an international philanthropic organization based in Battle Creek, Michigan, where she designed philanthropic initiatives to benefit young people facing barriers to their intellectual, physical, social and psychological development. She founded a national educational program, Middle Start, which works with middle schools to improve young adolescents’ learning and achievement, and originated Able to Play, a multi-state movement to develop playgrounds for children of all abilities.
In recognition of her establishment of Achieving the Dream, the American Association for Community Colleges honored Leah with the Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service. Lumina’s Board of Trustees honored her with the Leah Meyer Austin Award, an annual recognition of an ATD college for progress in increasing student attainment.