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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

MIND Research Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Biological & Life Sciences, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy

Mission: We are a neuroscience and education social impact organization whose mission is to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems.

We are the creators of ST Math, a PreK-8 visual instructional program that builds a deep conceptual understanding of math through rigorous learning and creative problem solving.

Through ongoing research, we continue to investigate key questions about learning, mathematics, and how the brain works. We work to create unique and effective learning environments for students, teachers and families, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Results: ST Math is held to the highest standards of accountability in regards to at-scale effectiveness. Schools using ST Math increased in statewide standardized test percentile rankings by over 7 points when compared to similar schools that didn’t use ST Math.

Target demographics: all students

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,200,000 students in 3,900 schools in 47 states.

Geographic areas served: the United States

Programs: ST Math, a visually based math instructional software.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5 Michael361

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mind Research Institute is an amazing non-profit organization. I have volunteered here many times and each time has been a wonderful experience. I have volunteered at Math Camps similar to junior high camp as well as full blown math conventions. Each event has been a complete blast! I loved seeing the smiles that children had in each and every event. The CEO and other members of the company that I have had the pleasure of working with have a distinct goal for the future, "Teach Children Math", and they do it in the most innovative and creative ways possible. I'll be signing up again, I love being a part of what they are creating.

1 Pat_Barnes

Donor

Rating: 5

John Deere has been investing in ST Math as part of our global STEM program since 2014 based on a challenge posed by the Business Roundtable. Since that time, our funding has helped more than 19,000 students in Iowa & Illinois. We see supporting the “M” in STEM as critical for young students as it is one of the key hurdles many students face in their education pathway supporting a STEM career.

The on-going feedback we have received from educators on ST Math has been very positive. This includes the significant improvement in mathematics proficiency and problem-solving skills, high student engagement leveraging student’s love of video games, strong data analytics, and excellent field support and professional development provided by MIND Research. Another indicator of the program’s success for us has been schools contacting us to request additional funding to further expand the program.

Pat Barnes
John Deere Global Program Director, STEM & Youth Education

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a former employee of MIND Research Institute, a volunteer and a parent of an ST Math student. I love that the software was created by neuroscientists and maintains a hyper-focus on providing evidence-based education technology to teachers and students. Over the years, the nonprofit has expanded to include more community-based programs that aspire to change the way children and adults feel & think about math. It's a tall order, but there couldn’t be a more brainy, thoughtful, and creative group to undertake such a challenging endeavor. Seeing first-hand how much kids love math when they play with JiJi (the cute little penguin in ST Math) you get the sense that the folks at MIND Research Institute are already well on their way to inspiring a new generation to embrace and excel in mathematical thinking.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My nieces and nephews use ST Math and they love it. They are excited to do math and love JiJi. Thank you for making math fun!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son uses ST Math, which was created by MIND Research Institute, in his elementary school. My first impression is that the program was really unusual, and I didn't quite "get it" because I didn't see any instructions. But as I watched him solve the puzzles, it dawned on me that he was really understanding the math in a deeper way. The instructions were never necessary. I'm grateful to MIND for providing a program that demystifies math, and that moves it beyond flashcards and worksheets.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute is an incredible organization that believes in providing students with the proper tools to solve even the most challenging of problems. I volunteered at the Math Fair and got to witness firsthand exactly how MIND provides and implements those learning tools. The Math Fair had a multitude of stations and zones that allowed participants to view math in a way that was outside of the box! From visual games to hands-on exhibits, participants were able to immerse themselves in the math. Seeing how excited attendees were to play the games and learn about math was so contagious! It was a fantastic volunteer opportunity, and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of it.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute has taken brain research and has made learning math engaging and fun for all students. Our school district is currently in its third year of our partnership with the MIND Research Institute to bring ST Math to our school district. We have been thrilled with ST Math. The folks at the MIND Research Institute are very responsive and provide exceptional support to our school leaders and teachers. The MIND Research Institute has been a true thought partner as we work towards providing the best education possible to ALL of our students. Thanks to ST Math and JiJi, our students are falling in love with math.

The MIND Research Institute is a student-centered, forward-thinking, and innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming math education.

2 Lisa G.7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

MIND research Institute has changed my children's lives in so many ways. I have seen the success in the use of the program with ALL students. I saw its success in how it helped a students with autism. The student would not talk and was below grade level in all areas. In second grade he began using the program and he quickly went from first grade level to to proficient in Math. We were able to see his amazing mathematic abilities through the use of technology. He made 1 1/2 years growth in 6 months. He received a medal for reaching the proficient level on the state test and his mom cried. The student went on to Intermediate school and high school and was placed in honors general educations classes. Had it not been for MIND RESEARCH Institute and a little penguin called JIJI we might not have discovered his Mathematical giftedness. Thank you MIND for all your do to help our students learn and grow.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute has been an invaluable thought partner for STEMconnector as we work to expand our insights and reach to build a more sustainable and diverse STEM workforce. They have been a leader in driving our work to build the business case for investments in K-8 STEM, as well as contributing their expertise to our signature research on the STEM talent ecosystem. We were also honored to share Karin Wu's story of her own personal commitment to STEM education through our Million Women Mentors Leaders to Learn From series. It is of tremendous value to have thoughtful leaders who can help inform your work and further drive impact through shared mission and approach, and MIND is just such a partner. We look forward to continuing our long and productive relationship with MIND.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As someone who has always struggled with math, I was thrilled when my nieces and nephews started to use ST Math--and LIKE math. The stigmas that math is too hard or they can't are nowhere to be seen with JiJi and it makes me happy. I only wish that ST Math was around when I was a kiddo, because I grew up being told memorization was the only way to do math. They do a lot of good across the country (my niece's school is a donor funded school). For their work to help kids with STEM, who may not have otherwise gotten help, is so appreciated.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

MIND research has an innovative product with an evidence base behind it. Finding education technology offerings that truly move the needle for students is not commonplace, and I attribute their success, reach, and impact to the team behind the work. NewSchools Venture Fund has made multiple investments in their work, because they continue to show strong values alignment with our organization, and we believe they can continue to positively impact K12.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wish my school had used ST Math back when I was a student. My nephew has been using the program and loves JiJi! He feels like he's playing a game, but ST Math teaches him math skills that can't be taught in a traditional textbook. He now approaches challenges outside of ST Math with a problem-solving mindset. We've also been playing MathMINDs Games: South of the Sahara with our niece and nephew. They love getting story time and game night all at the same time with the storybook board games. Our whole family is a fan of the efforts MIND Research Institute makes to instill a love for learning and math in students of every age!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

We have had this program in our school district for 3 years now. Our K-5 teachers and students really like the program. They use it to differentiate Tier 1 instruction and also to provide additional practice in certain concepts and skills for students who need them. Students are excited to play the games and see their progress. It makes math more accessible to students by taking away the language barrier. It is also fun to do the puzzles. They look forward to having JiJi time!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Math Coach at a K-12 school. We have been working with ST Math for four years and the students have an opportunity to use conceptual thinking to see how to think about mathematical concepts visually. Jiji gives our students clues as they work to figure out what they need to do to get Jiji across the screen. When something they try doesn't work, Jiji gets blocked and gives them a visual to see why it didn't work. Then, students must persevere and try something new, based on the visuals Jiji has presented on the screen. Students are encouraged to use what they know and what they see to determine what they need to do mathematically to help Jiji get to the other side of the screen. ST Math also offers teachers an opportunity to work with students individually to meet them where they are and help them learn what they don't understand.
The support staff from ST Math has been very helpful with working with the teachers and staff to help us get the most out of the experiences our students have using the program. The website offers lots of opportunities for teachers to get training with videos and webinars. Over the years, with the support offered by staff and online resources, we have helped us help our students continue to grow in their understanding of math by showing students math is something you can see and understand if you are shown what it looks like!

5 Mr. Michael Lara

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute is truly equipping tomorrow's problem solvers. Collaborating with this amazing organization meant understanding the impact it has with many communities, partners, more importantly our youth. The programs and events hosted by MIND can clearly show their dedication. Striving every day to be better by creating an educational and memorable experience is their number one priority. Improving the lives of many students in the math and learning development was personally seen first hand. Volunteering at their Math Fair, Imaginology, Family Math Nights, and many other events I got to meet a team full of amazing individuals who really believe in making a difference. Additionally, I got the opportunity to observe how the students as well as their families were really engaged in the activities and discussion. It has been a remarkable pleasure and an honor to assist in the mission. May the organization continue to empower the next generation of problem solvers.

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.”
-Tony Robbins

Wishing the organization the best always,
Mr. Michael Lara

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mind Research Institute is making a difference in the lives of many students. Mathematics is often a gate keeper for students to reach high levels in their education and in careers. The ST Math program gives confidence in math to all students in math and supports critical thinking and problem solving. The customer service and professional development for teachers are excellent. I have worked with this organization for almost 20 years. Jiji makes it happen!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our school division has used ST Math for several years now. We started off with just a few of our schools and this year...thanks to matching donor funds, we have ALL of our elementary schools on ST Math K-5!!! It is amazing! Watching students grow in their understanding of mathematics and being able to use it as such a valuable instructional tool has been very rewarding. ST Math is like no other program that supports meaningful mathematics instruction. The support we get, as a school division, by Mind Research staff far exceeds what other programs offer or even strive to achieve. We have not run into an issue that they have not been able to help us solve quickly. MIND Research Institute has done amazing research and is always improving on an amazing product that our school division uses on a daily basis! Our kiddos LOVE Jiji.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been following the studies out of the Mind Research Institute for over a decade (e.g., their research on the Music/Piano/Math connection; their research on the effectiveness of introducing Math Concepts Intuitively first— without words or symbols— and only afterwards Integrating Language and symbols), and using their Spatial Temporal Math software with my students and schools since 2013.

My teaching colleagues and I have been impressed by the fact that their math software is both unique and uniquely effective in helping children gain deep understanding of math concepts while also mastering math skills. There is nothing in math education like the over 6000, progressive games the ST Math team have created to introduce math concepts to children. However, the only way for a parent or educator to truly appreciate the power of the ST Math game progressions is to PLAY through a sequence as a student would. You can do that on their website (https://www.stmath.com/play). You can also see a visual schematic of a typical quarter of 5th grade ST Math (see attachment: "Sample 2018-STMath Goals Progress Tree")

But we have also been impressed by the Mind Research culture, which is focused on continuous improvement based on school feedback and student data: we've seen yearly updates and extensions of the Math curriculum, student progress tracking, teacher/student/parent interface. Science and research obviously come first for them; self-promotion and gaining market share last. Of course, as school districts have learned about their results they have gained market share and unless I am mistaken they have used that greater scale to reduced the relative price for small schools and they recently made ST Math available to home users.

Finally, ST Math has the the most rigorous and ethical commitment we've seen to designing valid assessments of the Educational Technology (read, e.g.: "One is Too Lonely A Number When It Comes to EdTech" ). Their protocols could serve as a standard for all EdTech companies to follow, before they claim large gains.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

MIND Research is a great organization, focused on supporting students develop critical thinking skills by solving math problems in a fun engaging web based game format. The visual format can provide additional support for students learning a second language or students with special needs. The staff provides high quality follow up resources to all ST Math schools and offers excellent teacher professional development to support common core mathematical practices with ST Math in their daily instruction. Thank you for all you do, MIND!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mind Research has done an amazing job of truly using what we know about how students learn math and successfully "gamified it" through their ST Math tool. I have never seen a digital based math tool that focuses on the spatial/temporal connections to mathematics. The research supports the need for perseverance and analyzing what doesn't work to then move their learning forward. Students beg to engage in ST Math and the research implemented within this program is top-notch. Thankful that in our district we have been able to implement this in 17 of our schools.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

ST Math not only provides a highly engaging and educationally rewarding experience for students in the area of math, but their overall service and support is unparalleled. If you don't have ST Math in your school, I would highly recommend you make it a top priority.

5 Principal R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a school principal. At the elementary level we are dealing with stereotypes (male vs. female in math) and often a general dislike of mathematics.

That all changes with ST Math. Children have a different experience- and they can conceptualize complex mathematics through the simple graphics and wonderful displays. I appreciate how the graphical designs capture the concept and explain the true mathematical events in child friendly ways. Everything from one-to-one correspondence to algebraic thinking. It makes math come alive and brings us engaged and excited learners.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute is a great grass roots story turned national. Matthew found an amazing way to teach math in a special way to students who may not have absorbed as well using traditional methods. The entire team continues to push for advanced teaching methods through art and they continue to spread their message across the country. It's also been a great organization to volunteer with because I know it makes a difference; I can see and hear the children it affects and even my own nieces and nephews have benefited from the program. I look forward to continuing my support of MIND through the many avenues of teaching it pursues!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Impactful philanthropy transforming the lives of children through stem education.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

MIND Research Institute is executing against a tremendous mission to make sure ALL students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems. Its talented staff are committed to core values around problem-solving, learning and people. As a non-profit, it takes stewardship very serious in the way it operates against its mission. As it reaches new levels of growth, it continues to adapt to new ways of serving its clients to continue to provide the most effective math solution in K-12. As a donor, I can't think of a way for my financial support to have a greater impact than making sure students are mathematically equipped. Having recently participated in an donor advisory forum, I am highly impressed with the leadership talent and innovation within this organization. Expecting amazing impacts ahead.

Review from Guidestar

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am a current staff member and donor to MIND. I have to say there has definitely been changes here, and we all need time to adapt to these changes. I am a personal fan of co-founder Matthew Peterson and it was tough for me to see him step down as CEO, to be completely honest I was ready to jump ship, until I stepped back and looked at the business side of it. It totally made sense, we hired great businessmen that will keep us focused on our business path to success, while Matthew continues fulfilling our mission with his genius and passion. I can say I am re-engaged and have been given the right tools to succeed at MIND. After some tough patches on the road, I am excited to see where MIND is going.

Review from Guidestar

2

Former staff

Rating: 1

Incompetent leadership that ran the organization into the ground. Consistently lied to staff about stability of the organization only to find out with no warning that they were laying off 20+ people only to now see they are hiring for 10 positions. An organization so unscrupulous they tried to pay off former employees to remove poor reviews on Glassdoor. If I am able to save even 1 person from making the mistake I did by believing their lies about stability and how great a place they are to work than it is worth it. Please, protect yourself, don't believe them. They don't care about their employees as evidenced by trying to hush the truth to lure more unsuspecting people into the web.

Review from Guidestar

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Mind Research Institute is a trusted Non-Profit. Personally, at times I feel that when I donate/sponsor to a cause or organization, that I am not confident that all the funds will go to change the lives of our youth. However, with "Mind," I am confident that all proceeds will go to change all lives. Their programs are amazing and beneficial to all students in the most critical learning years. At every opportunity, I ask any child in Santa Ana and Anaheim if they know JiJi, you can see their eyes light up!!! This is a very special moment to see that children are EXCITED to learn!! Thank you Mind for making learning fun again!!

Review from Guidestar

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every child should have the opportunity to help JiJi get home and learn math through the ST Math program. Most students aren't aware how much they are learning because it is such a fund tool to use. I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer and partner to the MIND Research Institute for eight years and it is phenomenal to see the impact that ST Math is having on underserved, disadvantaged students' throughout the nation.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization does so much for the local community and now the USA.

Math is such an important part of our educational system.

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved with this organization for several years and have seen first-hand the impact of its math education programs. The impact on kids is undeniable - they are learning - deeply learning - and loving it. They are building the math skills and core competencies that will help them succeed. Seeing the kids - and even teachers - interact with JiJi is a remarkable experience, and I highly recommend checking it out in person.

Review from Guidestar

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Despite the fact that MIND presents itself as a research institute it is highly ineffective and incompetent in conducting hard research. The institute has devoted its efforts mainly to implementing game-based math curriculum known as ST-math. MIND advertises that their program has been helpful in in gaining better scores in standardized tests. However, ironically and oddly MIND has not produced a solid scientific evidence for effectiveness of ST-math, in particularly, the very element that has made their approach successful is unknown. The question remains whether ST-math is a hack of standardized tests or it is really a useful approach to math education. That said, I think they have integrated some novel elements into their approach which may or may not have profound effect in understanding mathematical concepts. However, ironically, after 17 years they have not put forward a solid evidence. I understand that for an institute which has heavily invested on one idea is too much to scrutinize its own fundamental principles that runs their function. It is as if you ask one of this cognitive training companies such as Lumosity.com run a well-conducted controlled study on effectiveness of their approach!

Having that said, there has been an intention to keep an incompetent research team as decoration for marketing purposes in place. Unfortunately the research wing of the institute is commissioned to folks with background in working memory training- a dead end research field with no solid theoretical background- with no connection to core concept of ST-math.

Review from Guidestar

5

Donor

Rating: 5

The MIND Research Institute is an amazingly impactful education non-profit. I know that every donation I make--and I make them regulary--is going to improve the lives of the students and teachers they support. There is simply nothing out there that has as quantifiable a track record in truly making a difference. Improving education and providing opportunties for kids that never before existed is one of the most meaningful ways that I know of to ensure a better future for all!

3

Donor

Rating: 1

Despite the fact that this organization is full of hard working people with a great math program for kids, it is corrupted by a toxic culture of fear and micromanaging control by the new leadership. Once Ted Smith CEO/Chairman of the Board stepped down there was no longer strong leadership and they lost some of their best people. In 2014 their top development and sales reps were fired without cause and as a result 8 people left the company, leaving a bare bones struggling development department and a short list of unqualified, unseasoned sales people in the West specifically. Nepotism, unfair business practices and retaliation are the norm here unfortunately. You will see this company lose ground in the near future.

Review from Guidestar