Press Releases | January 13, 2022

The Mind Trust awards $50,000 in second round of Go Farther Literacy Fund to 18 Indianapolis families, schools, and organizations

two little girls reading and working on school work at desk

(INDIANAPOLIS) – January 13, 2022 – The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, today announced $50,000 in Go Farther Literacy Fund awards, which will support 18 projects that promote student literacy led by Indianapolis families, teachers, and community-based organizations.

“Real learning with real application in the hands of the community is an unmatched revolutionary strategy for literacy and learning. The Mind Trust is proud to continue investing in these ideas through the Go Farther Literacy Fund,” said Patrick Jones, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity at The Mind Trust. “Our parents and the community are more than just our first teachers, they are the lifeblood of the learning process for our children.”

The nine family recipients are:

Amber Echols will receive $4,000 to provide her book, “Finding My Voice with a Speech Disorder” to more than 175 local K-2 students, as well as an accompanying workbook and incentives for participating in group activities. Ms. Echols wrote the book based on her son’s experience navigating a speech disorder and learning to read.

Jeanine Johnson will receive $1,000 to create an initiative in her neighborhood called “Find a Nook, Read a Book!” by setting up a small community lending library and creating a reading nook in her own home.

Jamya Liggins-Fisher and her daughter Kiersten will receive $4,500 to launch a speech and debate team for 3rd through 8th grade students at two public schools in Indianapolis.

Tiffany Linza will receive $2,500 to start an at-home library and hire a tutor for her child.

Renisha McCarter will receive $1,500 to create an at-home library and workspace for her child. Funds will go toward materials like books, a laptop, and flashcards to aid in building her daughter’s literacy skills.

Shalia Mulholland will receive $2,000 to continue her Virtual Literacy and Creativity Fair, a day-long literacy event that includes reading circles and writing and illustration workshops. Her focus this year will be on students in 2nd and 3rd grades.

Shalonda Murray and the Mamas of Indianapolis Melanated Boys (MIMB) will receive $5,000 to host a 10-week immersion program twice annually that will focus on literacy skills, social-emotional development, and academic success. MIMB is an alliance of nine mothers who have come together to support their 12 sons. This immersion program will include literacy-focused board game nights, bookstore visits, field trips, journaling, and group book studies.

Taryn Thomas-Esters will receive $3,500 to build an at-home library for her two children in kindergarten and 5th grade, with a focus on books written by or featuring people of color.

Neline Wooley will receive $4,000 to expand the Indy E.C.H.O. Lending Library by purchasing new books, seating, shelving, and technology to deepen the initiative’s impact and reach in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.

The nine school and community recipients are:

Center for Leadership Development will receive $2,000 to provide continued support for their Imani Book Club this upcoming summer. The Imani Book Club is a six-week summer reading program that creates transformational encounters with the written word for 200 youth every year.

Christamore House will receive $3,500 to launch a 6-month reading mentorship program that will train and pay young adults in the Haughville area to become reading advocates for their community. Reading advocates will help select books and host reading circles for school-aged children with an anticipated impact of 50 families.

H.E.R. Living Campus will receive $2,500 to expand their family reading circle, a weekly program that empowers adults to engage their children and grandchildren in full-sensory learning that grows lifetime learners.

The PATH School and English Language Arts teacher Ann Shields will receive $2,000 to provide 190 students in kindergarten through 2nd grade with tools to promote early literacy skills and foundational reading skills. More than 50% of students at The PATH School identify as English Language Learners.

Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood and Special Education coach Nicole Schadek will receive $500 to purchase developmentally-appropriate books and curriculum for students who are working toward a Certificate of Completion. The resources will help those students gain reading skills and be prepared for life after high school.

Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood and English Language Arts coach Jacob Waterman will receive $2,750 to launch the school’s first newspaper in tandem with the Journalism and Media Literacy Class taught by Mr. Waterman.

Shepherd Community Center will receive $2,500 to adapt their current reading initiative to include a remediation plan for students who are not reading on grade level by using the i-Ready platform.

St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis will receive $2,000 to create a lending library in their food pantry waiting room. This waiting area typically sees between 2,500-3,000 students each week. The lending library will encourage families to incorporate reading more intentionally into their daily lives.

Young Champions will receive $4,250 to purchase and use books and a literacy curriculum to impact 120 students from 10 different schools. Young Champions is a community-led organization that focuses on helping middle and high school students to prosper and succeed by making positive choices and developing good character.

“Strong literacy skills are foundational to student learning. All students deserve the resources they need to grow these skills in and out of the classroom. The Mind Trust is proud to continue funding ideas created and led by families and members of our community who care deeply about the success of Indianapolis children,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust.

Round one of the Go Farther Literacy Fund launched in March 2021 with $30,000 awarded to 14 recipients split between eight families and six community organizations. It was inspired by and modeled after The People’s Literacy Fund in Oakland, California. Dr. Charles Cole, III, Executive Director of Energy Convertors, an education nonprofit based in Oakland, began The People’s Literacy Fund with Educate78 to support the innovative ideas families have to help their students build literacy skills. “Literacy is the gateway for people to imagine something different for their futures,” said Dr. Charles Cole, III, Executive Director of Energy Convertors. “The People’s Literacy Fund and the Go Farther Literacy Fund give real people resources to make their ideas a reality for their families and community.”

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student in Indianapolis, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 41 schools, 14 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,700 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.