Our community outreach work prioritizes 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.
Out in the community
The Mind Trust’s Neighborhood Education Advocates (NEAs), a group of community members focused on educating families on education initiatives in their neighborhoods and equipping families to advocate for change, have worked hard to engage families across Marion County.
In 2022, they hosted four phone banks to ensure families are aware of high-quality school options and attended:
- 51 community outreach events
- 15 parent and neighborhood community meetings
- 20 IPS Board meetings
Through this strategic outreach, NEAs have shared critical information with thousands of Indianapolis families, ensuring they are aware of the school options available to them.
School-Community Partnership Investments
The Mind Trust’s School-Community Partnership Investments (SCPIs) empower community organizations and schools to partner in creating programs that expand educational opportunities for Indianapolis students and families.
In 2022, The Mind Trust awarded $160,000 in SCPIs to 13 Indianapolis organizations.
Strategic community partnerships can be difficult to develop and maintain for schools, with funding a key factor. Since SCPIs were first distributed in 2019, over $350,000 in funding has been given to local organizations, the majority of which are led by people of color.
2022 SCPI highlights
Aspire House Indy was awarded $25,000 to host Bla-Tina Brainstorm, a STEM-focused summer camp for girls of color.
Circle City (IN) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated was awarded $10,000 to provide mentoring, academic, and personal support to female students of color through their Real World, Real Girls programming.
Weatherhouse Co. was awarded $5,000 to produce a student-led short-film that was written, created, and directed by a team of Black and Latina students representing Indianapolis charter and innovation schools.
Celebrating Education Innovation
The Mind Trust’s fall fundraiser, Celebrating Education Innovation, took place on November 4, drawing a crowd of nearly 800 community members.
Two awards capped off a night of celebrating the incredible education progress Indianapolis has made over the past two decades since the passage of the 2001 charter school law.
Former State Senator Teresa Lubbers was honored for her dedication in securing the charter school law’s passage and the impact she has had on thousands of Indianapolis students.
The Outstanding Educator award went to Terrence Jackson, a middle school math teacher at Paramount Englewood, for his classroom excellence.
The event also featured a fireside chat with Indianapolis sports icons Tamika Catchings and Marlin Jackson and the premier of a video highlighting the work of Christel House Indianapolis and KIPP Indy Public Schools through the lens of how deep community partnerships have contributed to those networks’ success.
EmpowerED Families launched in 2021 through one of The Mind Trust’s Education Entrepreneur Fellowships.
Their mission is to connect with Indianapolis parents, families, community and school leaders to help build parent power and activate change. EmpowerED Families rallies behind the strengths of parents to weave together the home, school, and community to fight for high quality education.
Kim Graham became the Director of Organizing and Partnerships for EmpowerED Families in September 2022 and has led the organization’s work to activate families of color concerning IPS’ Rebuilding Stronger Plan.
Enrollment open houses
Navigating school choice can be challenging for parents as they seek to find a school that best fits their child’s needs.
The Mind Trust’s open houses offer parents and community members the opportunity to tour, explore, and learn about high-quality, innovative, and equitable school options across Indianapolis.
In fall 2022, we held open house events at:
- Paramount Cottage Home
- Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School, operated by Adelante Schools
- Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood
- Victory College Prep
Indy Schools High School Fair
The Mind Trust hosted the first inaugural Indy Schools High School Fair in spring 2022. This free event exposed families to the academic, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities at 16 autonomous high schools within IPS boundaries.
During the event, over 200 attendees learned about innovative high school options in Indianapolis, attended workshops on navigating college and careers, learned more about summer enrichment opportunities, and received targeted enrollment support from Enroll Indy. Twenty community organizations and local universities were also on hand to share resources, scholarships, and other opportunities for families and students.
The Mind Trust has also leveraged the Indy Schools brand in innovative ways throughout 2022 to support schools with enrollment and educate families about their 60+ autonomous school options in Indianapolis.
School engagement staff trainings
The Mind Trust’s Community Engagement team offered a series of three training sessions for school engagement staff in 2022.
These trainings attracted over 75 attendees and focused on topics such as:
- Social media and graphic design
- Community asset mapping and family engagement
- How to support families in using the Enroll Indy platform