Press Releases | October 1, 2021

The Mind Trust invests $50,000 in second round of the Go Farther Literacy Fund for Indianapolis students and families

Funds will be awarded directly to families to implement projects that promote student literacy

INDIANAPOLIS – (October 1, 2021) — The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, today announced the opening of applications for round two of the Go Farther Literacy Fund. Round one of this initiative launched in March 2021 with $30,000 awarded to 14 recipients, which included eight families and six community organizations. This round, The Mind Trust will invest an additional $50,000 in projects that promote student literacy, with awards ranging between $150 to $5,000 going directly to Indianapolis families and community organizations.

“Too many of our children need support, and literacy is a paramount issue,” said Patrick Jones, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity at The Mind Trust. “The Mind Trust is committed to this work, and we realize the urgency – hence round two of this initiative in the same year. We also realize that learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom. So, we want to help support the needs and creative efforts of Indianapolis families to address literacy in their households in the way they see fit.”

Applicants should submit projects that aim to serve K-12 students in Center Township who are considered high-need. High-need students include: students impacted by poverty, English Language Learners (ELL), foster youth, homeless/home instability, recent immigrants to the United States, students with individualized education plans (IEPs) or 504 plans, and/or students who are academically below grade level. Projects should have achievable goals and improve the literacy rates among students in Center Township. Organization partners serving Indianapolis students may also apply, however parents and community members will receive priority.

The Mind Trust’s Go Farther Literacy Fund application deadline is November 22, 2021. Interested applicants can apply online, find English and Spanish translated application resources, and learn more about round one recipients at themindtrust.org/gofarther.

Examples of potential projects or needs that can be supported by the Go Farther Literacy Fund include: hiring tutoring services, coordinating transportation to a local library, planning a literacy event with guest readers, starting a home or community library, or creating a book drive. Funds may be used to cover costs of supplies, books, materials, space, people’s time, hardware, software, or other items needed to support students’ learning. Projects may be done in-person or virtually. All projects should be implemented by the end of December 2022.

“The recent ILEARN results show widening academic disparities that have disproportionately impacted Black, Latino, and low-income students in Indianapolis,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “This is unacceptable. We should acknowledge what state assessment results reveal and act to ensure student learning is accelerated, particularly for Black and Latino students and students from low-income households. Therefore, we must continue investing in bold, system-wide strategies, including targeted programs such as The Go Farther Literacy Fund, to partner with families and our community to ensure strategies are informed by those most impacted by educational inequities.”

The Mind Trust’s Go Farther Literacy Fund launched in spring 2021 to help Indianapolis families ensure their children can read at or above grade level. More than 50 applicants, ranging from parents, families and community organizations, submitted applications for round one of the literacy initiative. It was inspired and modeled after The People’s Literacy Fund based out of Oakland, California. Dr. Charles Cole, III, Executive Director of Energy Convertors, an education nonprofit based in Oakland, began The People’s Literacy Fund with Educate78 to support the innovative ideas families have to help their students build literacy skills.

“The spirit of the Black Panthers’ free breakfast program inspired The People’s Literacy Fund,” Cole said. “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 in partnership with Educate78 that would’ve helped my family and me, and I am excited The People’s Literacy Fund model has come to Indianapolis through The Mind Trust to help even more students and families. It takes all of us in cities across the country to tackle this issue of literacy – from neighborhood to neighborhood.”

“Receiving The Mind Trust award was confirmation that our project had to be greater than just a grandma with books,” said Neline Wooley, Founder of the Indy E.C.H.O Lending Lab and round one Go Farther Literacy Fund recipient. “We became immediately focused on being a literacy stepping stone essential to the success of the children within our community—our village.”

About Energy Convertors

Energy Convertors exist 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, reports, videos, podcasts, and other forms of media. Our fellows are not victims, they are every day change agents. More information can be found at 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.