Press Releases | January 26, 2015

Lilly Endowment awards $3.4 million to The Mind Trust to recruit talented educators to Indianapolis public schools

INDIANAPOLIS – The Mind Trust has received a $3.42 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to recruit and support 300 talented educators to teach and serve Indianapolis public school students, leaders of The Mind Trust said today.

During the next two years, The Mind Trust will work with the Indianapolis offices of Teach For America (TFA) and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), both national organizations, to recruit teachers and school leaders to Indianapolis’ public schools and provide them with ongoing support.

“Excellent teachers and school leaders are crucial to student success, and this grant will go a long way toward continuing to bring the best and brightest educators to Indianapolis’ public schools,” said David Harris, founder and CEO of The Mind Trust. “Lilly Endowment has once again demonstrated its commitment to improving education in Indianapolis for all students, and we are grateful to the Endowment for its support and vision.”

About the grant. Since 2007 Lilly Endowment has awarded The Mind Trust more than $14 million to help fuel the growth of both TFA and TNTP in Indianapolis. The grants are part of the Endowment’s longstanding commitment to K-12 education and will fund local education innovation in the following ways:

• $2 million will help TFA recruit up to 100 top college graduates a year for two years beginning in 2015 to teach in Indianapolis high-need public schools.

• $400,000 will support TFA’s rigorous “Indianapolis Principal Fellowship” program. It will recruit and train up to 10 school leaders a year for two years beginning in 2015 to serve as public school leaders for four years. TFA will lead this effort in partnership with Columbia University in New York.

• $1.02 million will support TNTP, an organization that recruits successful mid-career professionals to become teachers in high-need subject areas and schools, to recruit and support up to 50 new classroom teachers for two years beginning with the 2015 academic year.

“As a school leader, I have no job more important that hiring and training teachers,” said Carole Wilson Frye, principal of IPS’s Clarence Farrington Elementary School 61. “Through the work of TFA and TNTP, we have been able to bring nine new teachers into our building. These teachers have a passionate commitment to better the lives of children in Indianapolis and they have been instrumental in our positive growth this year.”

“Our TFA Corps Members/Alums and TNTP Teachers are some of the strongest members of our team here at Tindley Renaissance Academy when it comes to leading our elementary scholars to excellent academic outcomes,” said Clarisse Mendoza, principal of the Tindley Renaissance Academy and a TFA alum. “Their collective drive, energy, and creativity contribute to our overall learning community’s pursuit of results.

“As a school leader, I also find it valuable to partner with the TFA and TNTP staff who support their teachers in our classrooms; we’ve aligned our coaching and feedback efforts in order to more effectively develop our TFA and TNTP Teachers’ capacity as instructional leaders.”

Teach For America in Indianapolis. The Mind Trust recruited TFA to Indianapolis in 2007, bringing members of its diverse corps of individuals from all academic disciplines to teach for two years in low-income schools. Since then its teachers have proven successful in local classrooms:

• There are currently 350 TFA alumni working in Indianapolis, including 55 school leaders, 140 teachers and 20 educational policy leaders.
• In the 2013-14 school year, eight TFA teachers or alumni were named “Teacher of the Year” in their schools, and three were named in the “Top 10 IPS Teachers of the Year.”

TNTP in Indianapolis. TNTP is a nonprofit organization working to end educational inequality by ensuring that all students have excellent teachers. Founded by teachers, the organization began working in Indianapolis in 2006 with support from The Mind Trust:

• In Indianapolis three out of four TNTP teachers who have taught for five years or more are still teaching in the school or district where they were first hired.
• The first TNTP teachers recruited in Indianapolis in 2007 have an above-average retention rate for teachers serving high-need schools.
• In 2014 two TNTP teachers were named “Teachers of the Year” by their schools.


The Mind Trust is the nonprofit that strives to give every Indianapolis student access to an excellent, high-quality public school. The Mind Trust: (1) recruits and empowers talented organizations and educators to work in and serve local public schools, (2) launches and supports new, innovative and high-quality public schools in Indianapolis, and (3) engages community stakeholders in conversations about innovation in public education. Now approaching its 10th year, The Mind Trust has impacted more than 113,000 Indianapolis public school students and has raised more than $42 million to bring innovative ideas into Indianapolis classrooms.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.