Community Outreach

The Mind Trust’s community outreach work centers on empowering Indianapolis communities to advocate for the changes they want to see in our city’s schools. Equity is possible when families, students, educators, and neighbors connect and voice their lived experiences to catalyze change.

Neighborhood Education Advocates

Neighborhood Education Advocates (NEAs) play a key role in building robust communities and improving student outcomes. In fall 2021, The Mind Trust selected an inaugural group of nine NEAs who serve three targeted Indianapolis neighborhoods within Center Township.

NEAs connect families, schools, and community organizations to better promote whole-child education; host community meetings in partnership with schools; organize parents to identify and solve key educational issues; develop partnerships between schools and community pillars; and advocate on behalf of parents. If you are a parent, find the NEA serving your community. If you are a community member interested in serving as an NEA, please fill out this interest form.

Latino Discussion Series

The Latino population in Indianapolis is growing. Currently, Latino students make up one-third of students in Indianapolis Public Schools. For the 2021-2022 school year, The Mind Trust is hosting a series of Spanish-language events for Indianapolis families and students on education topics like communicating with your child’s school, college readiness, 21st Century Scholars, and selecting the school that works best for your family.

Watch the first Latino Discussion: “Navigating Success for the New School Year”

EmpowerED Families

EmpowerED Families officially launched in June 2021 as an independent nonprofit organization. The Mind Trust supported the development of EmpowerED Families as part of our priority to create more opportunities for families and students to engage in issues that affect their children and the schools they attend.

In 2021, the organization released a city-wide enrollment report, a three-year policy platform, and hosted several workshops for families on special education services, voting, and other topics. Learn more at and follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Smiling family

Black Girl Magic / Highland partnership

The Mind Trust partnered with The Highland Project to host Black Girl Magic: A Fireside Chat on October 28. The event showcased spoken word poetry by Indianapolis students and a vibrant panel discussion. Moderated by WISH-TV’s Multicultural Reporter Katiera Winfrey, the panel discussion touched on the power and promise of Black women in education, health, economics, and social justice. Panelists also touched on elements of The Highland Project’s report titled “Our Power, Our Legacy,” which centered the experience and power of Black women in America today.

Watch Black Girl Magic: A Fireside Chat on October 28

group at Black Girl Magic event

UNCF Community Conversations

The Mind Trust partners with UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, to engage Indianapolis students, families, educators, elected officials, faith and civic leaders and other key stakeholders in Community Conversations around educational opportunities in Indianapolis. In 2021, we co-hosted two virtual conversations that discussed:

How Historically Black Colleges and Universities can help inform the Indianapolis K-12 education community to improve academic outcomes

Impact of policing in schools from the perspective of students and families

Faith Leader Discussion Series

In partnership with the Indianapolis Recorder, The Mind Trust hosted two virtual Faith Leader Roundtable discussions that centered on racial equity in schools and congregations. The conversations featured a diverse group of leaders from several denominations and congregations across Indianapolis. The inspiring dialogue centered on the responsibility of faith communities to equip their congregations to advocate for and support racial equity initiatives and equitable education.

Watch the first Faith Leader Roundtable Series conversation

Watch the second Faith Leader Roundtable Series conversation

woman having conversation and smiling
elementary student writing at desk

8 Black Hands

They are bold advocates, truth-tellers, and education champions. Raymond Ankrum, Dr. Charles Cole, Sharif El-Mekki, and Chris Stewart host the highly-informative 8 Black Hands Podcast and they visited Indianapolis for a live show on October 5 at the historic Madame Walker Theater. The 8 Black Hands declared a state of emergency when it comes to educating Black children in Indiana and emphasized the fact that love and low expectations for children cannot co-exist.

Watch the 8 Black Hands Indianapolis live show

8 Black Hands podcast hosts