Press Releases | June 25, 2021

2021 Go Farther Literacy Fund awards: $30,000 to 14 recipients

The Mind Trust is excited to announce the 2021 Go Farther Literacy Fund awards! We are pleased to award a total of $30,000 to 14 recipients of the Go Farther Literacy Fund, a new initiative to help Indianapolis families ensure their children can read at or above grade-level. Awards ranging between $500 to $3,800 will fund projects created and managed by Indianapolis families and community organizations. 

More than 50 applicants, ranging from parents, families and community organizations, submitted applications for the program. Eight families and six community organizations’ submissions were selected, all of whom either have a need or initiative that will serve students attending a public school within Indianapolis Public Schools’ boundaries. Because The Mind Trust is investing in the autonomy of families to support student learning, applicants were encouraged to be creative and propose solutions that work for their household or community. 

The eight family recipients are: 

Bertha Estela Calva will receive $1,000 to support literacy circles for young children in her neighborhood, primarily students who are English language learners. Funds will be used to purchase books, food, materials, and rewards for the participants.

Anna Chaney will receive $3,650 to fund a project that will expose the children in her family to science-based reading to foster their growing interest in that subject. The funds will be used to build the family’s library of STEM-related books and magazines, purchase science experiment kits, and support field trip and camp experiences to make connections between reading and learning. 

Jordyn Goins will receive $500 to build a home library for her daughter to encourage her love of reading and build early literacy skills.

Tedra Joy will receive $500 to purchase tutoring services and build a home library for her son. 

Nicole Level will receive $600 to support tutoring services for her child and children in her neighborhood. 

Shaila Mulholland will receive $3,650 to host a virtual book fair for students at Rousseau McClellan 91. The fair will include guest authors, raffle prizes, and an opportunity for older students to share their love of reading with younger students. 

Kathy Williams will receive $2,000 to support a small group of students with dyslexia. The group will meet regularly to build confidence, access tutoring support, and check-in on academic progress. 

Neline Wooley will receive $3,800 to fund a community lending library, reading room, and weekly read-aloud program in the Martindale Brightwood neighborhood.

As community leaders it is important that we play a significant part in the development of the current and next generations who may not have embraced the underlying importance of reading and the historic impact storytelling has had in shaping our global community.

Neline Wooley, Indianapolis parent and 2021 Go Farther Literacy Fund award recipient

The six community recipients are: 

BELIEVE Circle City High School will receive $2,000 to purchase books and magazines for incoming 9th and 10th grade students to help eliminate the barrier of access to interesting, grade-level reading material for students to read on their own at home and school. 

The Center for Leadership Development will receive $2,000 to support the Imani Book Club, a six-week summer reading program that creates transformational encounters with reading for 200 African American youth each year. During the program, students improve their love of reading, reading ability, and writing skills by exploring amazing books, creating presentations, journaling, debating, and building personalized reading strategies.

Christel House West will receive $1,500 to build a classroom lending library with an inviting, safe, and engaging atmosphere, stocked with bilingual book sets and resources that represent their students’ cultures and languages.

We see an ever-growing need for a space where our diverse students feel valued, understood, and welcomed, as well as a structure to expand their literacy to include their family life, too. We believe that learning flourishes best in the context of strong relationships and from a feeling of belonging in the classroom and community.

We want to represent the experiences, languages, cultures, and countries of our students in the literature in our classroom. Our dream is to create a space where students feel safe and loved as they explore high-quality literature and then take the experience home to also share with their families.

Christel House West teachers

Our Sons’ Bakery will receive $3,800 to support a multimedia literacy project that pairs texts, articles, short stories, and other reading materials with a movie, video short, or other media item. The goal is to increase access to art, film, and literature for the young men that work with Our Sons’ Bakery. 

Sharpened Minds, LLC will receive $3,000 to provide virtual reading and writing tutoring sessions for rising 3rd and 4th grade students. As part of the program, parents will also receive resources to help them support their child in preparation for the next grade level and tools to use throughout the school year. 

Viable Education Solutions will receive $2,000 to support students at The PATH School who will participate in a five day Write On! Read On camp. The camp will provide students the chance to engage in activities that foster reading, writing, peer collaboration, digital citizenship and digital literacy and will culminate in the publication of a student book.

The Go Farther Literacy Fund launched this year at The Mind Trust and was inspired and modeled after The People’s Literacy Fund based out of Oakland, California. Dr. Charles Cole, Executive Director of Energy Convertors, an education nonprofit based in Oakland, began The People’s Literacy Fund to support the innovative ideas families have to help their students build literacy skills. 

“Families everywhere are resilient and have creative ideas to help their students reach their full potential,” said Dr. Cole. “This type of fund was born out of two things, first, the spirit of the Black Panthers’ free breakfast program. Second, when I was a kid in school, I lived in shelters and a mini-grant of $2,500 would have had a significant impact on my life. I built a fund that would’ve helped my family and me. I am excited The People’s Literacy Fund model has come to Indianapolis through The Mind Trust to help even more students and families.” 

About 1 in 6 Hoosier adults read at or below a fifth-grade level. According to the Indiana State Board of Education’s recent Student Achievement Report, gaps among students begin to show as early as third-grade when it comes to reading abilities. The report’s research finds that students who are not at or above grade-level reading proficiency in third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school or not graduate on time. Data from this report also revealed that Black students are disproportionately affected. 

“The Go Farther Literacy Project will help foster connections between families, schools, and community organizations with the ultimate goal of enhancing literacy skills for Indianapolis students,” said Patrick Jones, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity at The Mind Trust. “We are proud to fund creative, impactful projects to help students build literacy skills that will be a foundation for future success.”

“The Mind Trust is excited for the Go Farther Literacy Fund to directly support ideas created by families and communities to build literacy skills and a love of reading for Indianapolis students,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust.

About Energy Convertors

Oakland, California is ground zero for meaningful change. But driving real progress requires individuals who turn the negative into positives: Energy Convertors.  We’re here to equip people with the tools and resources to respond in the best way possible. Energy Convertors exists to utilize the voices of the end-users of education – THE STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND THEIR COMMUNITY. Our starting place is with those that public education was meant to serve from day one rather than the “system”. We prioritize the quality students and parents desire over any system. Through our research, students and their families understand their power and agency in education. You can find the voices of our convertors through our blog, our reports, our videos, our podcast, and our website at www.energyconvertors.org.

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.