CICF News / 2010 / December / News Post
December 14, 2010
A Smarter Central Indiana

by Roderick Wheeler, CICF Grants Officer

Roderick Wheeler, CICF Grants Officer. He can be reached at

The premier of the documentary "Waiting for "Superman" has our community buzzing about education reform and what we can do to increase access to quality education opportunities. The movie seems to make one point clear —that receiving a quality public education is increasingly left to random chance.

Local efforts, including the programs highlighted below, are mounting a charge to change things in our community. CICF is investing its capital (human, influence and financial) to be an important partner in education reform efforts in our community, and these investments are clearly making a difference. This cannot be more evident in the recent announcement that IPS will change their academic calendar to help reduce summer learning loss, provide timely intervention strategies and offer more enrichment programs to district families.

Below you will find a brief summary of investments made from CICF (community endowment grantmaking and donor-advised funds investments) to local partners meant to bolster our community’s educational attainment.

Indiana Department of Education – In November, CICF and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) launched College is Power, a new public-private partnership created to help more Marion County students prepare to both enter post-secondary education opportunities, and succeed once they get there. Decatur and Warren township school districts were selected ($150,000 currently allocated towards effort). Read more.

Summer Advantage USA (2009-2010) – This program is designed to reduce summer learning loss. CICF support helped launch the program in four school districts: Decatur, Lawrence, Warren and Pike, and resulted in an increase in student learning by a net of four-five months in a five week summer program. ($215,000 allocated towards effort).

The Mind Trust (2007-2010) – CICF provided competitive entrepreneurial education fellowships of approximately $90,000 per year for two years to an organization that has received national recognition for fostering education innovation. ($207,500 allocated in total).

College Summit (2009-2010) – This organization partners with local high schools to increase post-secondary enrollment of high school seniors by at least 15 percent in three years. The Indianapolis Foundation support helped expand programming in Decatur and other school districts. ($90,000 allocated).

Teach for America (2008 – 2010) – This program recruits especially talented educators to teach high-demand subjects (science and math) in high-need schools. ($85,000 allocated).

Additional grants are being considered for other programs that support CICF's College Readiness Initiative.