To offer every child a future with life-changing opportunities, Indianapolis needs more great schools. In 2006, Bart Peterson and David Harris founded The Mind Trust to help Indianapolis think bigger about education.

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2001: Public charter schools

Mayor Bart Peterson became the first mayor in the country to authorize public charter schools—putting more control in the hands of educators and communities. Policy advisor David Harris created the Mayor’s Charter School Office, known today as the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.

2006: The Mind Trust founded

After winning Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award, David Harris and Bart Peterson founded The Mind Trust. Harris raised $73 million to develop innovative schools that give every child the opportunity for a world-class education.

2008: Education entrepreneurship

The Mind Trust recruited Teach for America and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) to Indianapolis, reaching more children in marginalized communities, and launched the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship to develop education nonprofits.

2011: Opportunity schools

With publication of the Opportunity Schools report, The Mind Trust led the reform of Indianapolis Public Schools to allow more school autonomy. The organization also launched its Charter School Incubator to support the launch of new public schools.

2014: Innovation School Fellowship

Indiana passed legislation allowing the governing board of Indianapolis Public Schools to authorize Innovation Network Schools within the district. The Mind Trust partnered with the Mayor’s Office and Indianapolis Public Schools to develop the Innovation School Fellowship, which gives talented leaders time and resources to launch autonomous district schools in Indianapolis. In the 2023-2024 school year, 40% of students in IPS attended an Innovation Network School.

2018: Recognized results

A study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that students in Indianapolis charter and innovation schools made significant academic gains compared to their peers in traditional district schools.

2019: Improving access

The Mind Trust examines it’s programs, policies, and investments on an explicit foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion, taking concrete action to work toward becoming an antiracist organization, improve educational access for historically oppressed students, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities.

2020: Addressing COVID-19 challenges

The Mind Trust worked to address challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic faced by schools, educators, students, and families. The organization donated $100,000 to Gleaners’ Food Bank of Indiana, provided training for educators on virtual learning, became a founding partner of the Indianapolis eLearning Fund, and launched Community Learning Sites around the city.

2021: The Mind Trust Celebrates 15 Years

The Mind Trust celebrated its 15th anniversary, most notably by elevating the voices of key stakeholders past and present through a web feature series and rolled out a new strategic plan with the headline goal of tripling student proficiency within IPS boundaries by 2027. We also launched Indy Summer Learning Labs in partnership with United Way of Central Indiana.

2022: Celebrating Education Innovation, Indiana Learns

The Mind Trust was selected by the Indiana Department of Education to manage Indiana Learns, a statewide grant program that connects elementary students to reading and math tutoring at no cost to families. In fall 2022, we celebrated two decades of education progress in Indianapolis at Celebrating Education Innovation, a fundraiser that drew nearly 800 attendees.