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MONUMENTAL STORIES

3/2/13 - The Mind Trust Team

by Francesca Jarosz

At The Mind Trust, our team members share a passion for dramatically improving Indianapolis' K-12 system so that one day every student will have the chance to receive an excellent education.

Many on our team also share a love for running. More than half of our 11-person staff has run a half-marathon. Two team members have run a full marathon, and two have completed half-ironman races.

Team BetterEd Members Sarah Sullivan & Katie Buchler Sarah Sullivan & Katie Buchler

Because of these experiences, as an organization we've come to understand the power of running for a cause larger than oneself, whether it's to honor a loved one or raise awareness about an issue. So last year, we decided - as a team - to do just that.

Through Team BetterEd, The Mind Trust brought together a big group of people to make a statement on behalf of Indianapolis' students by running the Monumental Marathon, Half & 5K. The Monumental has supported several education-related causes in Indianapolis, including our organization, so the race was a perfect venue to share this message.

In forming our team, we invited people from a broad array of organizations with a mission similar to ours to join us.


Francesca Jarosz Francesca Jarosz

Since our founding in 2006, The Mind Trust has built in Indianapolis a network of 14 of the nation's most cutting-edge education reform organizations. Those include established national groups such as Teach For America and TNTP that we have recruited here; innovative startup organizations such as Teach Plus and Summer Advantage USA that we have incubated in Indianapolis through our nationally unique Education Entrepreneur Fellowship program; and organizations that The Mind Trust has selected for our $1 million Charter School Incubator awards, through which we help to launch or expand some of the nation's best charter schools in Indianapolis.

By drawing on this network, as well as family and friends and members of other, non-affiliated groups that are working to advance education excellence, we recruited for Team BetterEd more than 50 runners representing groups such as Teach For America, TNTP, the Indiana Charter School Board, Indianapolis Public Schools, Stand for Children, the Indianapolis Mayor's Office and Education Reform Now.

On race day, our runners wore long-sleeved, green wicking shirts with Team BetterEd on the front and the message, "Moving our city's schools forward" on the back. They tackled various distances, from the 5K to the full marathon and were supported along the way by Team BetterEd cheerleaders, who held signs that offered encouragement and reinforced our team's message. Mentions of Team BetterEd on Facebook and Twitter helped to spread the mantra about the need for better educational opportunities beyond the Monumental course.


Hawkins Hefferman Metzger McDermott Kye Hawkins, Ryan Hefferman, Scott Metzger, & Margaret McDermott

And observers took note. Runners along the course asked many of our team members about the meaning of the shirts or gave us shouts of encouragement. Many on Team BetterEd also helped spread the social media messages beyond The Mind Trust's followers by re-tweeting or sharing our posts on Facebook.

Team BetterEd's impact helped to affirm the power of a race like the Monumental in bringing people together for a common cause and leveraging their collective passion to make a powerful statement. The Mind Trust plans to continue this tradition in 2013 and beyond in hopes that we can grow our team and amplify the message.

And we hope that even more runners who share our concern about ensuring all Indianapolis students have access to a great education will join in. Together, we can be a powerful voice for changing education - to the benefit of every student in our community.

Francesca Jarosz
Director of Marketing & Communications, The Mind Trust

If you're interested in being part of Team BetterEd in 2013, please email Francesca Jarosz at fjarosz@themindtrust.org.