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Waltons give $1 million to Mind Trust charter incubator

December 16, 2011

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit education-reform group, says it has secured another $1 million to support its new Charter School Incubator.

The $1 million grant from the Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation will fund a team that will open its first charter school in the 2013-2014 school year as part of what the group hopes will become a network of high-performing charter schools.

The Mind Trust’s charter school incubator, first announced in September, will operate as a partnership with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s office. Ballard has set a goal of launching 20 new charter schools in the next five years.

The charter school incubator will recruit and assist teams of education entrepreneurs to develop school plans, apply for and receive charters, find real estate, hire staff and recruit students.

The Mind Trust has secured $4.85 million for the effort, including a $1 million grant from the Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation and a $2 million pledge from the city of Indianapolis.

Teams from Indianapolis and across the country will compete to win one of four $1 million awards. The deadline for the first application round is Feb. 17 and awards will be made by June.

“When all parents have the ability to choose quality schools for their children, a competitive dynamic emerges that can inspire the broader public school system to improve, helping transform public education in our nation,” said Jim Blew, who leads the Walton Family Foundation’s education reform grantmaking, in a prepared statement.

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