Get answers to common questions about The Mind Trust, what we’re doing to provide every student in Indianapolis with access to a high-quality, world-class education, and more.
Founded in 2006 by former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and former civic policy advisor David Harris, The Mind Trust works to improve the quality of K-12 education in Indianapolis for students across the city.
Learn more about The Mind Trust’s beliefs, mission, and values.
Charter schools are free, autonomous public schools that operate independently of traditional school district policies and have the flexibility to educate students while being held accountable for advancing student achievement.
Started with new Indiana state legislation in 2014, Innovation Network Schools are public schools that allow school districts to convert, open new, or restart existing schools into new, autonomous schools with their own 501(c)(3) boards. These Indianapolis schools are exempt from most district practices and have “full operational autonomy” and academic flexibility.
No, The Mind Trust is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Since 2006, The Mind Trust has raised more than $134 million dollars to support public education in Indianapolis from national and local donors.
To see our most recent list of donors, view our annual report.
The Mind Trust recognizes the past and continued existence of institutional racism, discrimination, privilege, and oppression in our education system and society-at-large, in particular its adverse effects on our students of color. Our commitment to pursuing antiracism ensures present and future educational success for all students in Indianapolis.
The purpose of The Mind Trust’s Fellowships is to give entrepreneurial leaders an opportunity to design and launch new education initiatives, including schools, that will be sustained over an extended period of time. The Mind Trust’s Fellows have launched 15 IPS Innovation Network Schools, seven public charter schools, and 10 nonprofit organizations.
The Mind Trust is open to new Fellows with ideas or initiatives that advance our mission to dramatically improve public education in Indianapolis. The Mind Trust is looking for educators with demonstrated leadership and bold ideas that will bring about transformative change.
Fellows will be selected based on a wide range of criteria and with the input of local and national school design and innovation experts.
For Innovation School Fellows and Charter School Fellows, The two most important criteria include a compelling or innovative school model that will ensure all students receive an excellent education, and an entrepreneurial leader who has the demonstrated ability to launch a successful initiative.
The Mind Trust’s Fellowship applications are reviewed by staff and outside education and community leaders engaged by The Mind Trust.
In addition, candidates may be interviewed during the selection process by The Mind Trust staff and a fellowship selection committee. Members of The Mind Trust’s board of directors make final decisions on awarding Fellowships.
Yes. The Mind Trust has a unique focus on and commitment to Indianapolis. We believe that the key to systemic reform is to concentrate on many transformative education innovations in one place. We fully expect and hope that many initiatives launched by Fellows will extend regionally or nationally. Fellows, however, must include Indianapolis in their initial growth plans to be considered for the Fellowship.
No. While it is possible that research may be a component of a Fellow’s work, our fellowships are not designed to be a project’s exclusive focus.
Indianapolis Public Schools, along with the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation, works with The Mind Trust to interview and select Innovation School Fellows. The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners will determine which Fellows may partner with the district to operate an Innovation Network School. IPS staff and The Mind Trust work closely together to ensure Fellows are making the progress required to be successful.
At the end of the two-year fellowship, The Mind Trust’s Fellows are expected to launch and lead the initiatives they used their planning time to develop. Initiatives are expected to be self-sustaining after the two years of the fellowship.
Though The Mind Trust’s full financial support of a fellow ends at the conclusion of the two-year fellowship, it remains a committed partner to Fellow alumni and the initiatives, schools, and nonprofits they launch.