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Elevate Indianapolis

Attacking America's Dropout Crisis

America’s high school dropout crisis is one of the surest routes into poverty and prison.  Sagamore identified Elevate as the #1 solution to not only high school competition but poverty alleviation in our nation’s urban public schools. Therefore, Sagamore helped incubate Elevate Indianapolis and continues as an operating partner.

About Elevate Indy

Elevate Indy’s mission is to build long-term, life-changing relationships with Indianapolis urban youth, equipping them to thrive and contribute to their community. Elevate employs full-time, salaried teacher-mentors, year-round programming, cross-age mentoring, and a long-term relational approach in four areas: accredited classes, mentoring, adventure, and Pathways to Purpose, our college & career planning program. Click the boxes below to learn more.

The Need

To introduce urban students to positive and caring adults who can ensure they don’t have to navigate life’s toughest challenges alone.

The Numbers

Education Failure

  • IPS high-school graduation rate was 75% in 2019 for non-waiver students
  • 1/3 IPS students do not graduate

Family Disintegration

  • 69% of Elevate students come from single parent homes
  • 57% do not live with their biological father
  • Male and female students with low academic achievement are twice as likely to become parents by their senior year of high school, compared to students with high academic achievement

Criminal Activity

  • 75% of people incarcerated at the state level and 59% of people in federal prison are high school dropouts

Job Market

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate of high school dropouts is 26.8% higher than graduates
  • High school graduates earn 24.4% higher wages than non-graduates, and those with at least some college earn 31.0% higher wages than non-graduates

The Impact

Read about Elevate's Thriving Youth Scorecard, what long term success looks like, and the Elevate Indy student profile.

The Thriving Youth Scorecard

Elevate measures student growth using the thriving youth scorecard:

  1. Education: 96% of students are on track to graduate high school
  2. Social-Emotional: 79% report having a deep connection with their Teacher-Mentor
  3. Character: 75% help with chores at home every day
  4. Community: 54% serve people regularly because of the influence of their Teacher-Mentor

What Long-Term Success Looks Like

The cost of a student to participate in an Elevate program is around $1,200 per year. Our public schools spend an average of $12,608 per student per year. For this additional investment of $1,200 per student, the graduation rate improves to 90% or higher, which is a significant return on investment. 

Student Profile

Poverty Rate

56.5% – 75.7% of our students are below the poverty line.


55% of our students are Female while 45% are Male.


Asian/Pacific Islander | 1%

African American | 57%

Caucasian | 10%

Hispanic/Latino | 26%

African | 2%

More Than One Race | 3%

Success Stories

These are the stories of Elevate students, who are contributing to the 90% graduation rate and are changing the Indianapolis community.

In Focus

A Conversation with Aaron Story

On July 23, 2020, I had the opportunity to speak with Aaron Story, the CEO of Elevate Indianapolis. Elevate is an intensive mentoring initiative that serves students in the IPS school district. Aaron discussed his background, how COVID-19 has affected Elevate, and how the organization continually innovates to better serve the needs of their students.