Eli Lilly pledges $2.5 million to Mind Trust

Eli Lilly and Co. plans to give $2.5 million toward a new fundraising campaign by the Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform group.

The Grow What Works campaign, which is being formally launched Thursday, seeks to raise $18 million to help innovative education groups expand more rapidly. The Mind Trust has already raised $9 million toward its goal.

Since its founding in 2006, the Mind Trust has used its capital resources to entice national organizations such as Teach for America to come to Indianapolis. In addition, it has funded fellowships for “education entrepreneurs” who have started new programs to address perceived gaps in public schools.

Programs to come out of Mind Trust’s efforts include Summer Advantage, which provides academic programs over the summer for low-income students in Indianapolis, as well as Teach Plus, which trains school teachers to take on leadership roles or advocate for broad policy changes.

"Lilly has been impressed with the work of The Mind Trust.  It has amassed an impressive record of making strategic investments and has become a recognized model for leading education reform,” said John Lechleiter, CEO of Indianapolis-based Lilly, in a written statement.

There was already a close tie between Lilly and Mind Trust. Former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who co-founded Mind Trust, is now senior vice president of communications and corporate affairs at Lilly.

David Harris, who oversaw Indianapolis charter schools under Peterson, is now CEO of the Mind Trust.

"The Mind Trust is purposefully building an integrated network of entrepreneurial education ventures—a network whose collective impact will far exceed the sum of its parts,” Harris said in a statement.

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