A need for vision and talent
In 2001, at the urging of then Mayor Bart Peterson, the Indiana legislature approved a law making Indianapolis the first U.S. city where the mayor has the ability to authorize charter schools, which are public schools that have more freedom to innovate than traditional schools. Peterson selected David Harris, one of his policy advisors, to build and run the mayor's charter school office.
Peterson and Harris worked to grow the number of high-quality charter schools in Indianapolis as a way to help address the city's critical education needs. They approved several great schools and saw the dramatic impact that creating world-class public education options had on the city and its families.
This progress encouraged them to think even bigger: What if they could multiply the impact those excellent charter schools were making so that every child in Indianapolis could have the opportunity to receive a life-changing education?
Peterson and Harris knew that providing all kids with opportunities would require transforming the city's K-12 education system. And to do that, Indianapolis needed to attract talented innovators and provide them with the right support and incentives to drive education change.
They launched Mind Trust in 2006 to create in Indianapolis a culture in which talented people were empowered to develop and implement outside-the-box plans to overhaul the city's public education system. Just as Silicon Valley created an ecosystem of perpetual innovation, The Mind Trust's founders wanted to cultivate in Indianapolis a similar climate of talent, creativity, and boldness- but one focused on improving educational outcomes for students.
In seven years, The Mind Trust has created a robust network of 17 organizations that have turned Indianapolis into a national hub of education innovation. Today, because of The Mind Trust's efforts, Indianapolis is better positioned than at any point in its history - and than virtually every city in the country - to dramatically overhaul its K-12 education system so that every student has the opportunity to succeed.