Mind Trust lands $1.5M donation from Walton Family Foundation

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Indianapolis-based education reform group The Mind Trust has been chosen to receive a $1.5 million grant from the Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walton Family Foundation.

The grant is part of more than $100 million in funding the Walton Foundation announced Tuesday morning that will go toward improving education.

The Mind Trust, which recently experienced a leadership change, is expected to use the grant to help it open at least eight new schools, creating seats for at least 3,500 students. At least 50 percent of the leadership at the schools will be of color.

The grant also will support the group’s efforts to recruit, develop and retain teachers.

It’s the second major gift this year that is coming to Indianapolis from the foundation, which was created by Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen. The foundation announced in February that it would give Indianapolis Public Schools nearly $1.7 million in an effort to give principals more control and responsibility.

The foundation focuses its giving in three areas—improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the surrounding communities, and supporting the area around Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

With this new grant, the foundation will have given The Mind Trust more than $5.5 million since 2011.

The foundation has awarded $440 million in grants since 1997 to support the creation of more than 2,200 charter, district and private schools that serve about 840,000 children nationwide.

“Thanks to courageous school founders—overwhelmingly teachers who have a vision for what school can be—we know that quality schools that put children on a path to college and career success at scale are possible,” Walton Family Foundation K-12 Education Director Marc Sternberg said in a written statement. “But the simple truth is that a great school remains out of reach for too many families. So we’ve got to do more—more to support educators with a passion and plan for something better, more for families who look to schools as a pathway to opportunity.”

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