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Ideas in Indiana

Sagamore fellows and partners have sought to improve Indiana’s well-being through decades of policy research, implementation of cutting-edge innovations, strategic convening of leaders and efforts to equip Hoosier citizens for service to their communities. This work takes place alongside then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ reforms, inside black-owned businesses growing through our capital, in support of dozens of K-12 schools receiving thousands of scholarships and high-quality teachers and curriculum, in advocacy for new mental health solutions, in advancement of Indiana’s role in the world and so much more.  

The Indiana Model

After serving on the White House Domestic Policy Council and the London-based Legatum Institute, Dr. Ryan Streeter returned home to Indiana to serve as Distinguished Fellow for Economic Policy at Sagamore. Ryan produced a series of case studies on then-Gov. Mitch Daniels’ signautre reforms.  He also directed the Bradley Working Group on State and Municipal Finance and collaborated with Joel Kotkin on a report highlighting the Great Lakes region’s economic strength and promise.

Indiana Conference on Citizenship

Indiana has a well-earned reputation for good citizenship.  While many dispute the origins of the term Hoosier, there is wide consensus that it denotes neighborliness and civility.  Sagamore hosts the annual Indiana Conference on Citizenship to celebrate the state’s civic spirit and equip the next generation to tackle the biggest challenges in society.  We also operate the Society of Sagamores and an internship program that has served over 125 Indiana college age students.  

Closing the Wealth Gap

Jaylon Smith had two dreams as a kid growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  One was to become an NFL football player.  The other was to be a businessman.  He just didn’t realize that he needed to play football at Notre Dame and the Dallas Cowboys to become a successful businessman.  It was in those two places that he gained access to knowledge, capital and investment opportunity.  While playing for the Cowboys, Jaylon founded the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute in partnership with Sagamore to close the wealth gap by helping black and brown business owners access education and funding.

Workforce 2040: Pathways to Prosperity

Teresa Lubbers has spent the bulk of her career at the intersection of education and the economy.  She is now leading Workforce 2040: Pathways to Prosperity as a project to consider the future of work, education and the workforce and to equip Indiana leaders to help all its citizens achieve success in the new economy.  The project research team, led by Bret Swanson, will examine demographic trends including:  the make-up of the population over the next two decades; the nature of work and influence of technology advancements; and the impact of globalization on jobs. 

Increasing Educational Opportunity

Dan Coats was one of the original sponsors of school choice in the US Congress and Teresa Lubbers was an architect of Indiana’s K-12 reforms before serving as Commissioner of Indiana’s Higher Education Commission.  To complement this upstream policy work, Sagamore helped incubate Herron High School and Elevate Indy, developed an economic literacy curriculum and helped former US Secretary of Education Bill Bennett deploy new history textbooks in Indiana classrooms.  We also have raised $70M in donations for 27,000 scholarships for Indiana K-12 students while filling many classrooms with globally competent teachers.

Indiana Mental Health Roundtable

Kalen Jackson is Vice Chair of the Indianapolis Colts responsible for philanthropy by the team and the Irsay family.  She worked with her dad and sisters to select mental health as their signature cause which led to the development of the Colts’ $15M+ Kicking the Stigma campaign.  Kalen serves on the Indiana Mental Health Roundtable operated by Sagamore and co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and former Eli Lilly & Co. CEO John Lechleiter.  Other board members include Steve Simon (Pacers ownership group), Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Loretta Rush, Secretary of Education Katie Jenner, Indiana Fever president Allison Barber, former IU Health CEO Dan Evans, Riley Childrens Health president Gil Peri, former Anthem CFO Mike Smith and more.

Reducing Crime and Restoring Justice

Following her service as U.S. Assistant Attorney General with responsibility for the Justice Departments’ efforts to strengthen community safety, Deborah Daniels served as Sagamore president from 2006-08.  In addition to Daniels’ policy work that included helping Indiana’s anti-meth strategies, Sagamore served as the evaluator of Indiana’s landmark criminal justice reforms and we help operate multiple best practices for ex-offenders’ successful reentry to employment and community.

A State of Defense

While serving as Lt. Governor, Becky Skillman established the National Center for Complex Operations at Sagamore to bolster Indiana’s defense capabilities at urban warfare training center Muscatatuck and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (which contributes $2M per day to the state’s economy).  Sagamore board members have served our nation’s defense including Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence) and retired Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi.  Senior Fellow Jerry Hendrix is designing the first-ever Sagamore Defense Forum at Notre Dame. 

Building Better Neighborhoods

Before joining Sagamore, Blair Milo was mayor of her hometown of La Porte, Indiana.  Her focus on talent development led to her selection as Indiana’s first cabinet-level Secretary of Career Connections and she continues to fuse community renewal and workforce development in her work at Sagamore.  Jeff Sparks transitioned from the founder of Heartland Film to a catalyst for urban development at Sagamore.  Related Sagamore activity includes a documentary on how Indianapolis used sports to revitalize the city and impact investing.

Indiana and the World

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first woman elected president in Africa.  She faced enormous challenges restoring her native Liberia from Civil War including how to address hunger issues.  Former Indiana agriculture director and Sagamore fellow Gina Sheets and her husband Travis built a demonstration farm that President Sirleaf claimed was superior to anything she ever dreamed possible in Liberia.  Sagamore has also advanced Indiana’s global reach through enhanced trade with Asia, stronger relations with Mexico, enhanced international education through operation of a J-1 Visa program and more.