Leah Meyer Austin retired in 2008 as senior vice president for research and programs at Lumina Foundation for Education. At Lumina, Ms. Austin was responsible for grant making, strategic planning and research, to enable more people from all walks of life to attend and complete postsecondary education and training. As the designer of the Achieving the Dream initiative, she sought and obtained Lumina Foundation Board's original investment in a comprehensive non-governmental reform movement for community-college student success. Together with a national and international network of higher education institutions, coaches and advisors, state policy teams, investors and partners, Achieving the Dream has helped more than four million community college students have greater educational success and increased economic opportunity. Before joining Lumina's executive team, Ms. Austin was employed by and retired from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There, she founded a national educational program, Middle Start, to improve young adolescents' learning and achievement. Ms. Austin was also responsible for designing Able to Play, a community-action program to develop playgrounds for children of all abilities. In her retirement, Ms. Austin continues to consult on nonprofit management, philanthropy, and educational issues.
Ms. Austin graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in English and has completed advanced study in nonprofit management at the University of North Carolina. Ms. Austin serves on several nonprofit boards, including Achieving the Dream, Inc., the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Community Foundation, and the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation.
In addition to serving as board member for the IHTC, Ms. Austin serves as a member of the IHTC Compensation Committee.
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