Mind Trust receives $2.5 million from Walton foundation

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The Mind Trust will receive $2.5 million over the next three years from the Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation to expand two education incubators.

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform group, will use the money from the family of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton to provide more innovation school fellowships. Those grants help education leaders develop innovative school approaches and then pitch them to the Indianapolis Public Schools district as a strategy for turning around struggling schools.

That program funded the Phalen Leadership Academy’s proposal to take over IPS School 103, which was accepted by the IPS board last month. In total, the fellowship plans to launch nine Innovation Network Schools in IPS over the next three years.

The Walton grant will also help the Mind Trust launch a new phase for its charter school Incubator. Since it started in 2012, that program has given $1 million grants to help three charter schools—Tindley Accelerated Schools, Christel House Academy and KIPP Indy—replicate in new locations. The incubator also gave money to help Phalen open its first school in 2013.

The Walton Family Foundation gave more than $1.5 million in previous grants in recent years to support the Mind Trust’s work, according to the foundation’s website.

“The Mind Trust is doing important work for the students and families of Indianapolis," said Beth Bray, program officer with the Walton Family Foundation, in a written statement. "We are pleased to support The Mind Trust's efforts to cultivate talented leaders, launch innovative programs and seed the development of new, high-caliber schools."

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