Talent Innovation Fund

Talent Innovation Fund

Cities across the country continue to struggle with long-term solutions to sourcing and sustaining teacher and school leader talent. The Mind Trust established the Talent Innovation Fund (TIF) to identify and implement creative approaches to solve the talent challenge in Indianapolis.

Talent Innovation Fund awards provide the opportunity for local schools, districts, networks, or organizations to apply for funding for innovative strategies to enhance the talent pool in Indianapolis. Funding may be renewed based on recipients meeting initial application goals.

The application for 2021-2022 Talent Innovation Fund awards is now closed. 

Initiatives and programs supported by the Talent Innovation Fund will:

  • Increase the number of high-quality instructional staff in Indianapolis classrooms.
  • Increase the quality of current instructional staff in Indianapolis classrooms.
  • Retain a higher percentage of high-quality instructional staff in Indianapolis classrooms.
  • Increase diversity of instructional staff to better reflect student demographics.

Who can apply?

Talent Innovation Fund applicants may be from an individual school or from a local district, school network, or organization that serves K-12 students. Applicants may be from Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), IPS Innovation Network Schools, or charter schools within Center Township. 

What is the award amount?

Funding requests up to $25,000 will be considered. Applicants must submit a budget with their application.

Important Dates

March 15, 2021: Talent Innovation Fund application opens

April 21, 2021: Application closes

Mid-May 2021: Final award decisions announced

Questions? Please contact Sara Marshall, Senior Director of Talent, at smarshall@themindtrust.org.

Application Resources

Talent Innovation Fund Overview (PDF): Shares purpose and goals of the TIF,  metrics evaluated during the selection process, and guidance for high-quality application answers.

2021 Talent Innovation Fund Overview video: Learn more about the purpose of the TIF and about the application process.

Salesforce Application Walkthrough: Applicants can take a look at the application questions and get a quick walkthrough of how to use the portal.

2020-2021 Talent Innovation Fund award recipients:

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) has been awarded $29,000 to support the district’s transition from traditional compliance-driven talent work to a more strategic partnership model. The award will support IPS Talent Team attendance at a high-quality training facilitated by the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy, a dynamic, cross-district learning experience that engages district leadership teams in new learning and problem solving for some of their biggest talent challenges.


The Educate ME Foundation, Inc. has been awarded $25,000 to recruit and support licensure of 10 aspiring educators of color for placement in public schools in Indianapolis for the 2021-2022 school year. Additionally, the Educate ME Foundation will help address development and retention by providing culturally-competent training to current Indianapolis school leaders and teachers.


Promise Prep has been awarded $25,000 to implement talent development and recruitment strategies during its pre-launch phase to ensure a strong, engaged talent pipeline is in place for its launch year. The award will help fund attendance for two Promise Prep leadership team members to attend The Standards Institute, an immersive training to help leaders deliver equitable instruction in ELA and math. It will also support hiring events, stipends to compensate the engagement of pre-launch teacher candidates, and the recording of demonstration lessons to use as exemplars of instruction during staff onboarding.


Tindley Summit Academy has been awarded $25,000 to fund the Summit Educator Ambassador Program (SEAP), a yearlong teacher fellowship designed to enhance the leadership skills of Tindley Summit’s most talented teachers to have a larger impact on students, the school, and the Tindley Accelerated Schools network. The 8-month program will provide training in racial equity, education policy, community and family engagement, data-driven leadership, strategic planning, and more. SEAP ambassadors will receive a stipend and will be equipped and encouraged to step into teacher leadership roles within the school.


Matchbook Learning at Wendell Phillips School 63 will receive a $5,000 planning award to explore partnerships and outline an initiative that develops an educator pipeline that begins in elementary grades. The award will also support equity training with current staff.