Mind Trust gets $24 million to fund innovation and charter school expansion, new teacher recruitment

A nonprofit that is one of the chief backers of Indianapolis Public Schools’ partnerships with charter managers announced Friday it received $24 million in new grants.

The largest grant given to The Mind Trust, $18 million from The City Fund, will help fund startup grants and training for charter and innovation school leaders. The money will also help pay for ongoing training of school staff and community engagement. (The City Fund is a national group recently cofounded by David Harris, who previously led The Mind Trust.)

The grant signals that The Mind Trust will continue its role as one of the most influential backers of Indianapolis’ innovation schools, which are similar to charter schools but considered part of Indianapolis Public Schools. This year, about one in four district students attends an innovation school.

“These grants reflect Indianapolis’ continued progress toward giving every student, no exceptions, access to a great education,” said Brandon Brown, The Mind Trust’s CEO, in a statement. “We are immensely grateful for this generous support from our local and national philanthropic community.”

Founded in 2006, The Mind Trust has raised more than $108 million, with slightly over half of that money coming from local sources, according to a release.

The nonprofit also announced a $3.42 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. that will fund Teach For America and TNTP’s Indianapolis Teaching Fellows program, two programs that train and place teachers.

A $3 million grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation will fund The Mind Trust’s operations.