Education Entrepreneur Fellow: 2019-2020
Ashley Virden plans to launch an independent nonprofit organization that will engage and empower Indianapolis parents and families to advocate for the changes they believe are needed to ensure that every student, no exceptions, has access to a high-quality school. As an Education Entrepreneur Fellow, Virden will receive extensive training in organizing from national experts and top grassroots organizers across the country.
Virden is an authentic and self-trained community builder whose entrepreneurial spirit has positioned her as a rising neighborhood leader on Indianapolis’ Far Eastside. When she experienced challenges in her neighborhood and saw an increase in crime, she co-founded Dubarry Determined, a neighborhood association that mobilized community members to get involved in a proactive manner. Similarly, she built the parent-teacher organization at her children’s school from the ground up after seeing the benefits of her own engagement in her children’s classroom.
Virden is a single mother of three elementary-aged children who attend Tindley Summit Academy. She served as co-president of the Far Eastside Community Council and currently is co-chair of advocacy for the Indianapolis Urban League’s young professionals organization, The Exchange. She is a graduate of Indianapolis Public Schools and a recipient of both a Wayfinder Community Activist Fellowship and an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellowship. She also volunteers at a number of local community organizations.