Press Releases | February 7, 2022

The Mind Trust receives $5.175 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. and Lilly Foundation to grow Innovation Network Schools, support diverse teacher talent pipelines, and empower parents

INDIANAPOLIS – (February 7, 2022) — The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, today announced it has received $4.275 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. and $900,000 from Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. The total $5.175 million will support the growth of Innovation Network Schools, parent engagement and advocacy work led by Stand for Children – Indiana and EmpowerED Families, and the overall execution of The Mind Trust’s five-year strategic plan.

“The Mind Trust is incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Lilly Foundation. These investments will help our city strengthen an environment of high-quality schools and empowered parents,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “In addition, this support will directly impact Indianapolis students, particularly the Black, Latino, and low-income students who have historically been denied equitable opportunities. This funding ensures The Mind Trust can continue to partner with our community to provide every student, no exceptions, with access to a great school.”

$3.75 million to support the growth of Innovation Network Schools 

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded The Mind Trust a two-year, $3.75 million grant to support the growth of Innovation Network Schools. In 2014, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation allowing the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Board of Commissioners to authorize Innovation Network Schools within the district. Soon after, IPS and The Mind Trust created a nationally-unique partnership that has supported the launch of 26 Innovation Network Schools in Indianapolis. The Mind Trust’s Innovation School Fellowship continues to be a nationally-renowned pathway for exceptionally talented school leaders to launch a high-quality school grounded in community needs. Lilly Endowment has generously supported this initiative since 2014.

“Indianapolis Public Schools is a unique district because we embrace collaboration and partnership in an effort to provide diverse academic models and options for our more than 31,000 students,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson. “Partnering with The Mind Trust to provide educational variety through Innovation schools is just one of the ways that makes our district more desirable to families looking for school choice. Our goal is always to drive and improve student outcomes, and that happens through being innovative and strategic in the academic options we provide.”

Innovation Network Schools continue to provide exceptional educational opportunities for Indianapolis students. A 2019 study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that students in IPS Innovation Network Schools achieved growth equivalent to 53 days of additional learning in English and 89 days of additional learning in math relative to their peers in traditional public schools.

For the 2021-2022 school year, 12,608 attend Innovation Network Schools, representing 40% of IPS’ total enrollment. The district currently serves 31,273 students, its largest enrollment since 2012. These enrollment increases have been exclusively driven by the growth of Innovation Network Schools.

$525,000 to advance the work of two parent-organizing nonprofits

Lilly Endowment Inc. has also awarded The Mind Trust a one-year $525,000 grant to support the work of Stand for Children Indiana and EmpowerED Families. These two organizations amplify the voices and needs of parents and families most impacted by education inequities. Both organizations provide parents with opportunities, resources, and training that ensure they are informed and able to advocate for their students’ needs in ways that lead to improved academic outcomes.

The Mind Trust recruited Stand for Children to Indianapolis in 2011. Since Stand for Children Indiana was founded, it has engaged more than 500 parent advocates and operated Stand University for Parents, which empowers parents to serve as educational advocates in their school and community. “We are grateful to Lilly Endowment and The Mind Trust for this grant and look forward to the ways it will help us reach and elevate the voices of more parents who want to be meaningfully engaged in their children’s education,” said Justin Ohlemiller, Executive Director of Stand for Children Indiana.

EmpowerED Families launched with support from The Mind Trust in July 2021. The organization collaborated with Indianapolis families to create its inaugural strategic plan. Funding from this grant will advance EmpowerED Families’ work to connect families with community resources and equip parents to advocate for equitable resources and culturally-responsive practices in their students’ schools. It will also host workshops and parent empowerment sessions to help families develop key life skills. “EmpowerED Families is grateful to Lilly Endowment for this award and excited to serve families with this game-changing opportunity,” said Ontay Johnson, Executive Director of EmpowerED Families.

$900,000 to bolster The Mind Trust’s strategic plan

The Lilly Foundation has awarded The Mind Trust $900,000 to support the work of The Mind Trust’s strategic plan, Advancing Education Equity. The strategic plan has a top-line goal of tripling student proficiency in Center Township public schools by 2027. To do this, The Mind Trust will focus on improving outcomes for Black, Latino, and low-income students by relentlessly pursuing racial equity, ensuring students have access to high-quality schools and educators, empowering families and communities, and sustaining a strong education landscape in Indianapolis. The work of the strategic plan prioritizes ensuring that a student’s race and family income no longer predict academic and life outcomes.

“It’s a privilege to support The Mind Trust’s important work to enhance racial and educational equity here in Indianapolis,” said Charlotte Hawthorne, vice president of the Lilly Foundation. “Lilly is deeply committed to doing all we can to ensure a robust education-to-workforce pipeline of Black Americans and other people of color in the community where we live and work. This is not only important to enhancing the diversity of Indiana’s workforce, but also to the vitality of our city and state.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

About Eli Lilly & Company Foundation

To extend Lilly’s reach and impact, the company established the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation in 1968. The Foundation is a private, tax-exempt organization that makes strategic and philanthropic investments consistent with Lilly’s purpose. Eli Lilly and Company Foundation supports improving global health, strengthening communities, improving educational opportunities and combating racial injustice and inequity.

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, 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 49 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,800 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.